Mary Izobo, the guest of Episode 19 of the podcast The Road Less Traveled, wears many hats. She is an international human rights lawyer, governance specialist, and is currently studying for her PhD in International Law and Governance at the University of Pretoria.
In this episode, we ask her more about her gender advocate hat as the Founder and Executive Director of The Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI). It is a non-profit organization that empowers women and girls, fosters inclusivity in leadership roles, and provides mentorship, education, and capacity development to alleviate gender inequality.
She had not realised before the master that the work she was doing was human rights. Since she graduated, her understanding of human rights became clearer, more lucid and applying the knowledge to the practice. She insists as well that: “You don't need a human rights degree to stand against injustice. I believe that injustice transcends the career interests. There are so many individuals who did not have a human rights degree and are renowned activists.”
Mary has 3 pieces of advice for anybody who wants to start their own initiative:
Passion: your passion will take you anywhere you want to go.
Determination: be hard-working and not give up.
Commitment: you should always remember your why: why you started with the organization in the first place.
She also mentioned that what makes her go through bad days is the fact that she created a tribe for herself (family, friends and supportive people). There is one song that stood out for her when she is having a bad day: Marvick City, God will work it out.
For me, what translates everything is my passion for human rights.
Mary Izobo is an international human rights lawyer, gender equality advocate, and governance specialist, and currently studying for her PhD in International Law and Governance at the University of Pretoria.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI). TheALI is a non-profit organization that empowers women and girls, fosters inclusivity in leadership roles, and provides mentorship, education, and capacity development to alleviate gender inequality in line with aspiration 6 of the African Union Agenda 2063 and goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
Prior to that, Mary Izobo was the Legal Advisor of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an organ of the African Union, and has worked for the United Nations, Institute for Strategic Litigation in Africa, and Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.
She is the recipient of several awards notably ‘Africa's Top Legal Millennial - The Amazon of Women's Rights,’ for her work in promoting gender equality in Africa, Certificate of Excellence as ‘Futurist Activist’ by Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions for her advocacy on human rights in Africa, an Award of Recognition as ‘SPE Top Pathfinders’ for her honourable achievements as one of the 60 Pathfinders being celebrated as thriving women in the spirit of Nigeria’s 60th independence and a ‘State Honors Award for Public Service’ for her outstanding contributions to the development of Kaduna State, Nigeria.
Mary Izobo has been featured and given keynote addresses, speeches, and presentations on renowned platforms.