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This is how Mawusi Awity is giving a chance to women to become economically empowered

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Mawusi Awity

On this week’s episode of MTN Heroes of Change 2019, the MTN Foundation highlights the works of Mawusi Awity, the Executive Director of the National Vocational Institute. Through her Network of Women In Growth (NEWIG GHANA), a self-funded project based in Dansoman, she offers vocational skills training and acquisition of entrepreneurial skills to women who lack such skills.

From the beginning of time, women have always been at a disadvantage in society. But times are changing. With more and more women becoming politically, socially and economically empowered, society is getting more equal with every passing day.

That is why the work of Mawusi Awity, must be acknowledged and thanks to MTN Heroes of Change, she is being highlighted this week. For a decade and a half, Mawusi has been working to economically empower women to be not just be independent but support their families.

As the Executive Director of the National Vocational Institute, through her Network of Women In Growth (NEWIG GHANA), a self-funded project based in Dansoman, she offers vocational skills training and acquisition of entrepreneurial skills to women who lack such skills.

School children benefiting from the school feeding programme 2

School children benefiting from the school feeding programme

“We build the capacity of women to become producers and not just consumers and to bringing value to the raw materials we have in Ghana,” she said, adding that innovation is what the Ghanaian woman should take up.

“My project reaches out to our mothers and even the youth to train them to have something of their own, work towards it and not depend on anybody. When I see the struggles of women, I get motivated to empower them and also make them know there is more to gain in life through vocation and entrepreneurship.

I see men go on with their day to day activities and I realize all women should have the same zeal in waking up every morning to a job they have created for themselves and feeding their families off it. So I get motivated to continue with passion, what can build women and the nation as a whole,” she said.

With 80percent of funding coming from her salary and that of her husband, she goes around the county to impact and empower women, train them and make them acquire skills they can benefit from. After the training, she buys them tools, materials and equipment’s to start something on their own.

Craft making and electrical class

Craft making and electrical class

Achievements

She has trained over 7,000 women across the country over the past 15 years but to Mawusi, her biggest achievement is the training of over 100 women at the Gambaga Witch camp. “For me, I think that is my major achievement because these women were seen as outcasts and now they feel important and also give back to the community. Anytime I see them, I get so happy and motivated.”

Also, a lot of her trainees have mastered their craft and also training a lot of the youth in their various rural communities. Through her project she has been able to create jobs for a lot of women. “Women who have undergone our training are skilled in various disciplines and are entrepreneurs who also employ people in their field.

Also, many have taken me as their role models so they work and learn to impact women and people in general. Some of my trainees have established their own NGOs, schools and even bigger projects of which they acknowledge me for.”

A centre for empowering 4

A centre for empowering

Challenges

Her biggest challenge is the lack of support from the state, because when requests come and so many people want to have the training but she does not have the capital to respond to these requests, she gets dejected.

“I feel like I don’t have money of my own, because, when you get it, you have to give it back to people who need it the most. Like these women. They need me, and I can’t pretend or turn my back on them, but there is not enough capital. It is always from me, my husband or my friends. Also a lot of people wants to be trained but the dormitories I have now cannot take more people.”

Impact and future plans

Despite her feelings of disappointment from the lack of support from the state, when most of the beneficiaries call her to appreciate her works, she looks forward to a new day.

Mawusi plans to establish a Vocational Institute that will train women in male dominated vocations like Plumbing, Electricals, Carpentry, etc. She also wants to establish a driving school that will only train female drivers and later help them to gain jobs.

A centre for empowering

A centre for empowering

Nominator

Mawusi was nominated by Selasie Awity, her son. According to Selasie, shegrew up seeing her mother taking other people’s problems at heart even more than hers. “She is restless when she sees people who need help and she can’t provide. I still have not seen anybody as selfless as her so I decided to nominate her so MTN can recognise her impact and hard work.

“Madam Mawusi finances almost everything by herself. Sometimes I see how her project is draining her, but she still does not give up. I think if she gets the help she needs, she can empower more women to be entrepreneurs and also execute her future plans well.”

More on Heroes of Change

Commenting on Mawusi’s project, the Corporate Services Executive of MTN Ghana Samuel Koranteng said “we initiated the MTN Heroes of Change to identify and reward individuals and projects such as Mawusi Awity and her passion.”

The other nine nominees are Diana Adjei, David Hagan, Louisa Enyonam Ansah, Rev Fr. Akologo Dominic Alale Azumah, Justin Yelevielbayire, Charles Ofori Antipem, Daniel Owusu Asiamah, Frank Abeku Adams and Benjamin Akinkang. Their projects which range from health, education and economic empowerment have benefited members of their communities over the years.

MTN Heroes of Change Season 5 was launched in November 2018 and submission of entries ended on 25thJanuary 2019.  Since the inception of MTN Heroes of Change in July 2013, a total of 40 people have been identified and recognized on MTN Heroes of Change platform for committing their personal resources to improve their communities and brightening lives.

Four out of the total number emerged ultimate winners. They are Dr. Abrokwa-Yenkyera, a plastic surgeon and founder of Grafts Foundation; Madam Paulina Opei, founder of Save our Lives Orphanage; Genevieve Basigha founder of Research Utilization School for the Deaf; and Naomi Esi Amoah of Blessed Home Orphanage.

Heroes of Change Season 5 is airing on:

TV3

Friday:                        6:00 pm

Saturday:       5:50 pm

Sunday:          5:50 pm

 

GH ONE

Friday:                        9:20pm

Saturday:       8:20pm

Sunday:          8:20pm

 

UTV

Thursday:       7:40pm

Saturday:       4:50 pm

Sunday:          3:45pm

 

ADOM TV

Friday:                        8:50pm

Saturday:       5:50pm

Sunday:          6:20pm

 

ANGEL TV

Friday:                        7:20pm

Saturday:       7:20pm

Sunday:          7:20pm

 

GTV

Wednesday:  8:00pm

Thursday:       8:00pm

Saturday:       6:00pm

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Today, Meta announced that it has built and open sourced ‘No Language Left Behind’ NLLB-200, a single AI model that is the first to translate across 200 different languages, including 55 African languages with state-of-the-art results. Meta is using the modelling techniques and learnings from the project to improve and extend translations on Facebook, Instagram, and Wikipedia.

 

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We worked with professional translators for each of these languages to develop a reliable benchmark which can automatically assess translation quality for many low-resource languages. We also work with professional translators to do human evaluation too, meaning people who speak the languages natively evaluate what the AI produced. The reality is that a handful of languages dominate the web, so only a fraction of the world can access content and contribute to the web in their own language. We want to change this by creating more inclusive machine translations systems – ones that unlock access to the web for the more than 4B people around the world that are currently excluded because they do not speak one of the few languages content is available in.

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“It’s impressive how much AI is improving all of our services. We just open-sourced an AI model we built that can translate across 200 different languages — many of which aren’t supported by current translation systems. We call this project No Language Left Behind, and the AI modelling techniques we used are helping make high quality translations for languages spoken by billions of people around the world. To give a sense of the scale, the 200-language model has over 50 billion parameters, and we trained it using our new Research SuperCluster, which is one of the world’s fastest AI supercomputers. The advances here will enable more than 25 billion translations every day across our apps. Communicating across languages is one superpower that AI provides, but as we keep advancing our AI work it’s improving everything we do — from showing the most interesting content on Facebook and Instagram, to recommending more relevant ads, to keeping our services safe for everyone,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on his Facebook profile.

 

Language is our culture, identity, and lifeline to the world. However, as high-quality translation tools don’t exist for hundreds of languages, billions of people today can’t access digital content or participate fully in conversations and communities online in their preferred or native languages. This is especially true for hundreds of millions of people who speak the many languages of Africa.

 

“Africa is a continent with very high linguistic diversity, and language barriers exist day to day. We are pleased to announce that 55 African languages will be included in this machine translation research, making it a major breakthrough for our continent,” Balkissa Ide Siddo, Public Policy Director for Africa said while speaking about the launch of the AI model. “In the future, imagine visiting your favourite Facebook group, coming across a post in Igbo or Luganda, and being able to understand it in your own language with just a click of a button – that’s where we hope research like this leads us. Highly accurate translations in more languages could also help to spot harmful content and misinformation, protect election integrity, and curb instances of online sexual exploitation and human trafficking.”

 

While commenting on accessibility and inclusion in the pursuit of building an equitable metaverse, Ide Siddo added “At Meta, we are working today to ensure that as many people as possible will be able to access the new educational, social and economic opportunities that the next evolution of the internet will bring to future technology and an everyday living experience tomorrow.”

 

To confirm that the translations are high quality, Meta also created a new evaluation dataset, FLORES-200, and measured NLLB-200’s performance in each language. Results revealed that NLLB-200 exceeds the previous state of the art by an average of 44 percent.

 

Meta is also open-sourcing the NLLB-200 model and publishing a slew of research tools to enable other researchers to extend this work to more languages and build more inclusive technologies. Meta AI is also providing up to $200,000 of grants to non-profit organizations for real world applications for NLLB-200.

 

There are versions of Wikipedia in more than 300 languages, but most have far fewer articles than the 6+ million available in English. Following Meta’s partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects, modelling  techniques and learnings from the NLLB research are now also being applied to translation systems used by Wikipedia editors. Using the Wikimedia Foundation’s Content Translation Tool, articles can now be easily translated in more than 20 low-resource languages (those that don’t have extensive datasets to train AI systems), including 10 that previously were not supported by any machine translation tools on the platform.

 

To explore a demo of NLLB-200 showing how the model can translate stories from around the world, visit here. You can also read the research paper here.

 

 

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