von Wolfgang Zechner
Welcome to our team: Maureen Obbayi
Maureen is HORIZONT3000’s new International Gender Expert, specializing in gender and project management. She possesses a profound comprehension of gender perspectives within development, conflict, and humanitarian scenarios. Over the last 12+ years, she has dedicated herself to advising, mentoring, training, and executing projects related to gender equality and combating gender-based violence throughout Africa. Maureen has been a passionate advocate for gender equality, offering technical support to shape policies at the state level, all while orchestrating collaborative efforts between states and civil society to advance gender equality. Beyond her work, Maureen finds joy in engaging conversations, exploring new places, appreciating music, and indulging in creative writing.
Maureen, what does Gender Equality mean for you?
Gender Equality is a state of recognizing that all human beings are inherently valuable…that no one is above or beneath the other, simply because they were born male or female. A Gender Equality mindset means being intentional about creating a world where every child and every adult is equally valued and can fully enjoy their human rights. Where every boy or girl, man or woman can access every possible opportunity that propels them to their full potential, without fear of discrimination, suppression, or victimization. I see gender equality as the means to quality living, peaceful co-existence, thriving economies, etc., for all. It is definitely not a ‘battle of the sexes,’ as many would see it.
How do you see this topic in relation to decolonization?
Just as decolonization seeks independence, gender equality pursues freedom from society’s restrictive and rigid social gender norms. Gender equality is the good fight for individual agency and self-determination. Every individual has God-given abilities and strengths, which often do not bear a gender label. While I recognize that collectivism has its gains, I aspire to help create a world where everyone can be free, safe, and enabled to take charge of their individual lives, and to equally participate in public and private life, without fear or favor.
What do you think the HORIZONT3000 policy will make possible in projects and for partners?
The Horizont3000 Gender Equality Policy places gender at the center of all our operations and programs. We recognize that gender is not a stand-alone issue. Rather, it is part and parcel of our everyday life, and is a conversation that must be had alongside every other ongoing conversation. The Gender policy articulates commitments, suggests practical actions, and puts every staff and every partner to task- because we all have a role to play in creating a more gender equal and equitable world. Our partners especially stand to reap the fruits of integrating gender into all facets of their work, as doing this guarantees sustainable development.
Why do you work in the NGO sector?
NGOs are uniquely positioned to engage with the grassroots, where the real problems lie. As such, they can be a powerful voice that amplifies these realities- facilitating communities and connecting them to the supports that they need to achieve their aspirations. Where there is goodwill, the NGO space becomes a truly transformational space. I am honored to be working for an organization that recognizes this power, and is intentional to be the change that we all want to see.
After 2 months with us (H3) how do you feel?
I still marvel at how quickly I felt at home at Horizont3000. Even before meeting my colleagues in person, their warmth and strong work ethic already radiated in the online space. I am part of an amazing team, and I have been allowed a space to create, contribute, and influence. I am definitely in a good place.
Maureen, thank you for the interview!