Valerie is currently the Director of WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) at IDE (International Development Enterprises) and is now based in Tamale (Ghana). IDE is a social enterprise dedicated to ending poverty in the developing world by helping families access the tools and knowledge they need to increase their income. Its mission is to create income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. Valerie is the lead implementer of the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Market Development programme in Northern Ghana. The programme will facilitate the delivery of 61,000 toilets and hand hygiene solutions to be utilised by over 300,000 of the 93% of rural Ghanaians without access to improved sanitation in their homes. In addition to this, Valerie is establishing and supporting 180 sanitation businesses, catalysing both demand and supply of private-sector supplied sanitation products across the rural communities in Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana. In the last 12 months not only has she returned back to education, studying for her Masters at Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, UK; in May 2015 Valerie also gave birth to her first child, Mawuko Okudzeto.
Valerie would like to share the following with you:
“This year has been full of life lessons. I have learnt that “Courage Means Asking for Help!” I have often taken pride in myself for being assertive, results orientated, and an independent women. As a result have found it difficult to recognise the power of having a strong support network be it friends, family or mentors. Although asking for help should not become habitual, it is important to understand when it is necessary. To really stay focused and energised each and everyday it is critical to have people in your corner who can help motivate you and share your load, as you push towards new heights. Also it is so easy to get caught up in your own destination never forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of people you meet on the way.”