From Addis Ababa to Aarhus

A few weeks ago we received an e-mail from Cynara Vetch – a british-kenyan journalist who is currently studying on Journalisthøjskolen in Aarhus. She is also the co-founder of #SheShapesTheCity and today a new chapter of the campaign is starting; #SheShapesAarhus.

We absolutely love the idea of celebrating women, and we hope you will all help us do exactly that! You can start by reading a short interview we did with Cynara Vetch, and nominate the women who shapes Aarhus!

Short presentation of #SheShapesTheCity?
She Shapes The City is a platform celebrating women who are shaping the cities they live in. Using a multimedia approach we tell the stories of inspiring women. These change-makers are working in sectors as varied as health, aviation, publishing and human rights. For the Aarhus chapter we are 5 female journalists from the UK, Brazil, Iceland, Denmark and Germany. With different skill sets and experiences we have come together to tell these stories and learn from one another.

There is always room for people to be inspired.

What is the story behind #SheShapesTheCity ? Why are you doing this?
Nairobi is a bustling and rapidly changing metropolis. Covered in both grit and greenery it is an African city set to fast forward and much of this change taking place is being led by women.

She Shapes The City was co-founded in 2014 by Mia Collis and I to celebrate these change makers. We were joined by a team of phenomenal women from the city. Over 4 fantastic chapters we presented real Nairobi women; intellectuals, creatives, entrepreneurs, volunteers, wage earners.

What they share in common is that each is making a difference to the city.

You started out in Kenya, so why is Aarhus next?
We believe women in all cities have compelling stories to tell from Addis Ababa to Aarhus! All eyes are on Aarhus as the capital of culture for 2017. Whilst the majority of projects are celebrating the city’s art scene, its food, arts and architecture we are focusing on the women that make it the what city it is today. We’re intrigued to find out if the tales women have to tell are so far removed from those in Africa.

Do these women share some of the same challenges? What are the differences between their experiences and those of their counterparts on another continent?

If you should highlight only one of the women you met so far, who made the greatest impression on you?
Wow. So many and in so many different ways.

  • Teresa Njoroge was falsely accused of bank fraud and imprisoned with her 3 month old baby. She has turned this trial around into a triumph and is now the champion for female convicts and their families across Kenya.
  • Yasmin Abdulkadir is the inspirational local government leader for the Northern county of Marsabit she’s bringing jobs and renewable energy to her people. Annabel Onyango is a trend setting stylist full of energy and flair.
  • Dr Paula Kahumbu is a tireless conservationist fighting to save elephants from poachers.

And there are SO MANY more…

Why is this cause so important?
See above! I believe change makers are putting their energies into solving the challenges they see around them. They don’t have time to promote themselves and shout about it, that’s our job. At the same time I feel there is always room for people to be inspired.

If we do our job right you will get lost in great content; Beautiful creative portraits which are art more than reportage and stories in audio which is such an intimate and authentic medium.

What do you dream to achieve with the campaign in Aarhus?
We want to find some fantastic women which change our ideas of what Aarhus is and what it means to be from here or call Aarhus your home. We want others to be changed too, to learn about women they didn’t know were cycling in the same streets as them, every day getting on with their lives and shaping the reality of the city.

So if any of our members want to join or support the campaign – how can they do that?

Please, please nominate!

Nominate the women that inspire you, are leading in your sector or impacting your community in some way. We want to hear about women of all ages, in all walks of life, the bold, the gentle, the ambitious, the self sacrificing.

It doesn’t matter, if they are shaping Aarhus we want to hear about them.


You nominate by email:

  • Facebook page (She Shapes They City)
  • Twitter: @sheshapescities
  • Instagram: @sheshapes


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