Graceful but affectionate, eminent but humble, noble but enchanting, Samira Bawumia has conducted herself with decency and finesse as a modern-day political spouse. Having burst onto the scene, through her husband’s role as running mate and subsequently VP, she has been a crucible of support, magnetism, and progress.
Beloved by many for her elegance, sagacity, and poise, she has come to exemplify the very idea of a 21st century political spouse. She has carried herself with so much honor, bringing dignity, respect and admiration to the office of the second lady. The nation has largely benefited from her forays, initiatives and causes as she’s used the office to draw attention to issues while developing programs to better the lives of Ghanaians, especially young people. Her adventures have mostly been in areas such as literacy, women empowerment, health and the environment.
Samira Bawumia remains steadfastly committed to creating a nation of readers.
In line with this, she launched the library-in-a-box project that seeks to distribute books and other learning materials to schools, particularly in impoverished areas. “I really know that growing up, it is the books that helped me to become who I am currently. Books will help you to learn about the world you have not travelled to…It’s your passport into the world,” she once stated.
She launched the Samira Bawumia literature prize, which has been hailed as a game changer in whipping up the interests and talents of young Ghanaians when it comes to literary renaissance. If Ghana is to reclaim her position within the literacy space and produce the next Ayi Kwei Armahs and Ama Atah Aidoo’s to compete with the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies of today, such competitions will be pivotal in unearthing and sharpening upcoming talent.
Women empowerment has emerged as one of the issues of concern for the second lady. As women continue to face many insurmountable challenges globally, programs and initiatives that seek to break many more glass ceilings should be encouraged. Within the empowerment rubric, several young women have been provided with fashion design, hairdressing and make-up artistry training programs to provide them with employable skills. The plight of women and the vulnerable should remain a core issue of attention as we seek to build an equitable, egalitarian and efficacious society. In Mrs. Bawumia, Ghanaians can find a willing, able and enthusiastic cheerleader in this regard.
Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote that, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane”. It is unimaginable, and frankly, unacceptable that some avoidable health predicaments such as maternal mortality should continue to be an albatross around the neck of the Ghanaian health sector. Mrs. Bawumia and others, such as the first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, have made safe delivery and neonatal care a major part of their agenda. Samira has worked through her Safe Delivery Project to contribute to the national and global agenda regarding maternal and neonatal mortality. As a nation we should be able to work collectively and assiduously to break the cycle of preventable health conditions while trying our utmost best to remove the strain, heartaches and sometimes losses that many women, infants and families have to face through no fault of their own. Her overture in achieving this dream is, without doubt, a noble one.
Madam Samira is an environmentalist in many ways. The environment is unquestionably at the center of our survival as humans and the quality of life we live. Madam Bawumia has emerged as a steadfast devotee to environmental causes as second lady. She has partnered with global icons (example: Julia Roberts) and organizations (WHO) to address household air pollution and the harmful effects of fossil fuels. As part of her underlying devotion to the natural and built environment, she has prioritized climate change as a top issue of concern. Through her participation and underlying passion, she has helped to draw attention to myriad issues related to clean energy usage. As a social scientist and former television host with an MBA and ounces of eloquence and substance, Mrs. Bawumia has always been concerned about social causes and advocacy. Her recent attainment of a Law degree despite the incredibly tumultuous schedule as second lady is a testament to her tenacity, grit, laser-focus and endearing multi-tasking skills.
Through her larger Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP) she continues to remain a force for change and development nationally and internationally. Recently she commissioned a Learning and Literacy Center at the Kanda cluster of schools at the Ayawaso East Municipality as part of her commitment to education. Through the SEHP initiative over 200,000 books have been donated to about sixty-four basic schools across the country with about 400, 000 students expected to benefit from such initiatives.
A former student of Akosombo International School and Mfantsiman Secondary School, she is globally initiated but culturally well-grounded making her the quintessential 21st century presidential spouse. She has played her role with tact and courtesy over the years hardly attracting controversy or drama nor becoming a political liability to her husband. In fact, to the contrary, she is a political asset as her image and persona has humanized the second family through her soft skills, refined style and gentle demeanor. In her, Ghanaians will continue to have a unique figure of poise, charm, dignity and inspiration.
WRITER: Etse Sikanku