Sesame Mogotsi is a driven and
ambitious lady from Botswana, a country which has been mistaken as a town in
South Africa plenty of times (giggles). She is a Political Science and Public
Administration graduate currently serving as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
for the Poverty Eradication Programme and is also the Partnerships Manager for
the African Youth Employment Initiative (AYEI). She is passionate about Social
Action, particularly on issues relating to public policy, education and
development. She considers herself a ‘rookie’ in policy advocacy and youth activism;
she avidly call herself a ‘civil society servant’ as she has found her place in
numerous CSOs geared towards different areas. Sesame is the co-founder of The
New Girl Breed Organization, an organization that seeks to help young girls
achieve dreams that have been labeled as ‘unrealistic’. She has keen interest on
women and girls’ empowerment as she believes women together with the youth
should be placed as major facilitators of change in communities. Sesame is an
Ashoka Changemakers Scholar of 2016 and is certified in Sustainable Development
and Insurance.

Humility- Being humble and acknowledging
that there are people who may know more than me or who may be familiar with the
best way to carry out certain activities is one trait I love most. When you
accept this fact you automatically create in yourself a willingness to learn
and share ideas with like-minded people and eventually grow.
Original- There were times when
certain routes or tasks would seem easier or shorter than the one I was
pursuing, I’d tell people what I was pursuing and I’d get an ‘oh?’, no
excitement at all (giggles). I thought of adopting new ideas, dreaming a new
dream or developing a new passion but they never materialized because it wasn’t
me, the innate dreams and passions I tried to ignore began manifesting in my
reality in the strangest of ways.
Perseverance- Some years ago I came
across what they call “the law of persistence’, which basically means the
longer you keep chipping away the higher your odds of achieving your desire
outcome. There was a time when I faced a lot of rejection, people didn’t know
who I was or what I was trying to achieve. I kept this law in mind and pushed
forward knowing that at some point something has to give, I went from an
inactive email account filled with promo emails to one that was filled with
invitation letters one can only dream of, I was spoiled for choice!
Sometime last year, I was so close to not achieving a lifelong
goal. I had prioritized temporary pleasures and events and simply sidelined
that dream. It hit me hard because the majority of my life was based on seeing
this dream to fruition and failing at something that was so important to me was
disappointing. Since then, I give my goals and work my outmost best; failing
knowing that you gave it your all isn’t quite the same as failing at something
you never even gave a chance.
I consider Fadumo Dayib and Oprah
Winfrey great role models, for what they have gone through and what she sought
to achieve! It does go to show that indeed women don’t break they bend.
Hilary Clinton is also a person I
consider as an inspiration. She is the true epitome of perseverance; it just
goes to show that one can’t have one too many tries at attaining something they
really want.
In the next five years I wish to have
attained a Master’s degree in Public Policy and/or International Relations, I’d
also like to have acquired a leadership position relating to policy research, formulation
and program development, simultaneously also running a sustainable NGO geared
towards driving the narrative on policy issues and the building of a democratic
and inclusive society.
I am lucky enough to have friends that
ask “what’s going on in your life?” every now and then and you can’t sell them
the same stuff every time they ask (giggles). I complain about the last time I
had a nine hour sleep and they respond with pictures of themselves by the White
House or UN Headquarters or both (giggles).

I believe the greatest challenge
African women face is self-doubt. Most African women doubt (and limit)
themselves, they question if what they possess is of any use and if what they
seek to achieve is unrealistic. Yes, our governments disappoint us, mentors
will abandon us and our loved ones will think we are way in over our heads but
I believe if you fuel the fire that is an idea or dream, anything is possible.
I believe we have to start with believing in ourselves and working tirelessly
in ensuring that our dreams manifest in our reality.
I mean, you have women asking themselves “Who am I to think I
can win Olympic medal?”
“Who am I to present my paper in the presence of Ban Ki Moon?”
“Who am I?”
So, I together with a few like-minded ladies have come together
to form a mentorship program, The New Girl Breed. We need to instill what we
call “success mentality” in young girls. We are now trying to ‘breed’ (if I may
be allowed to use that word) a generation of girls who are allowed and
encouraged to dream big but not only that but match them with women who can
guide them on the road to achieving those dreams. The fact is if some of our
African girls grew up with mentors (and investors) they wouldn’t be where they
are today; the fact is some have settled for what seemed safe. We hope this
network can grow to a point where we have more mentors than girls, and
hopefully have a ratio of 3:1, 3 successful and driven women committing their
time, skills and resources to one girl and this is possible!
I listen to ‘good’ music; some good
old RnB and soul classics always do the job.
MY   –  
If we can inspire, celebrate and
empower the African woman, we are well on our way of achieving the change we
want. This will drive the narrative of placing women as major facilitators of
change in our communities.
I would seek to occupy a position in
programme development. I believe I would best serve my gender, community and
nation better in a designation that seeks to formulate inclusive and innovative
initiatives that empower and elevate women.
To the African woman I can say, seek
the company of ambitious and knowledgeable people. People, who can act as an
oversight body in your life, keep you on track with your goals and aspirations.
If you have a circle of people who make you responsible and accountable for
your actions and decisions the chances of you failing are at a minimal.