Article written by Eyitemi Popo, for the EVE webmagazine
I launched my first social venture in Ghana this year and it was incredible. Girls Trip Tours exemplifies the magic that happens when women from different cultures, generations, and socio-economic backgrounds come together in a space filled with positivity, self-love, and joy.
In my effort to contribute meaningfully to the African continent, I have designed a transformative travel experience focused on female empowerment. I host trips to various African destinations with the goal of empowering future leaders through mentorship, while taking in the sights and dining around town with high-profile business women and local industry leaders. I like to think of it as “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” with less soul-searching and more self-actualisation.
This venture is a manifestation of my magazine’s mission, which I have spent the past five years nurturing. Now, I’m bringing its editorial content to life by curating unforgettable experiences on location in my favourite African cities for high ambition women looking to explore Africa on their own terms.
Caption: Girls Trip Ghana 2018 travellers
The mentoring programme is an essential part of the travel experience. Our first mentoring class was made up of 22 Ghanaian girls aged 14 – 20 enrolled at the Soronko Academy: West Africa’s first coding and human-centered design school. During the trip, the travellers and I had various sessions with the girls selected for the programme. We gave educational and career guidance, as well as helped them build new skills in game design and strategic foresight. Most importantly, we spent quality time with them to help build their confidence. The goal is to lead this mentoring programme in each city Girls Trip curates travel experiences and ultimately create a network for these next generation leaders and well established women to share ideas across borders.
You always hear “your network is net worth.” As a millennial still figuring out my financial life, I certainly took that literally when deciding on how I could make a social impact. I crowdfunded with the support of my online following to raise enough money to cover the summer workshops. I then reached out to some of the inspirational people I’ve connected with on social media over the years to have them engage with the girls and support my overall vision.
The face of philanthropy on the African continent does not always reflect the faces of the many it serves. However friendly, the face is usually foreign. If it’s true that you can only aspire to what you see, I want the girls we mentor to be surrounded by women who reflect their very essence. I want our mentees to see varying examples of high-achieving professional Black women and know that it is a possibility for them. I want to show them that they can be their own saviours and give them the tools to make that happen.
Caption: Launching the Girls Trip mentoring program in Accra, Ghana
Eyitemi Popo works as an Innovation Strategist and is also the founder of Ayiba Magazine, an award-winning online platform that chronicles Africa’s Renaissance. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and holds a Master’s in Digital Experience Innovation from the University of Waterloo.
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