“Afrikan youth have cried, stumbled, and fallen…but we NEVER give up, WE RISE!”
Strong, resolute, and ambitious Sarah-Leigh Nangombe Elago was born in Swakopmund, Namibia as the last born of 8 children. Born to a midwife and an electrical engineer, she grew up in a neighborhood called Mondesa where there were few opportunities, but she quickly learnt to make the best out of it. Sarah-Leigh had her first educational experience at Festus Gonteb Primary School and Atlantic Primary School, subsequently proceeding to Swakopmund Secondary School for her secondary education. She later obtained a Diploma in Business and Office Administration at City and Guilds and bagged a Bachelors Degree in Project Management and Business Administration.
Our Super Girl identifies her life struggles as mainly involving fighting for her rights as a young lady in leadership. She had to deal with men undermining her authority and disregarding her views. In her words, being a female leader requires resilience, perseverance and a thick skin. Being an avid debater, she learnt to work ten times harder to become a force to reckon with amongst her peers. Through hard work and competence, Sarah soon gained the immense respect of her peers. Today, she is widely known as “Madam Chair” – a nickname she earned for her ability to empower others, chair meetings and implement ideas in outstanding ways. Her struggles as a young female leader have taught her the importance of self-belief and she has learnt never to apologize for the strong and visionary woman that she is.
Sarah-Leigh is highly passionate about the development of women and youth across Africa. She is a firm advocate for transformational leadership, girl child rights, and gender equality. After discovering the shocking statistics of teenage pregnancies in her region (the Erongo Region), Sarah launched the “Education FIRST – Motherhood Later” Campaign. The campaign is geared towards reducing teenage pregnancies among adolescent school girls in the region. Being an active young leader in the community, she approached the matron at the local clinic, shared data and facts about teenage pregnancies, and asked for assistance in facilitating the education of young girls within the Swakopmund District on sexual & reproductive health. Through this campaign, there has been a 10% decrease in teenage pregnancies across the Erongo region. In addition, Sarah-Leigh convenes an annual international women leadership seminar aimed at pulling women up and strengthening the relevance of women in leadership. The seminar attracts women from all walks of life and provides a platform for them to share strategies on how to effect change in their respective spaces. The women are also presented with an opportunity to move dialogues on pressing issues affecting women and push for implementable but sustainable solutions.
In 2012, Sarah identified the cross-generational gap between the elders and the youth in Namibia. Due to this gap, youth were not being mentored and groomed for future leadership and this was threatening to the future of the country. This need birthed the Student Leadership Symposium (SLS). Through SLS, Ms Elago grooms transformational young leaders by teaching them about the importance of independent thinking, transparency in governance and servant leadership. Further fueled by her passion for young people’s action and development across Africa, Sarah-Leigh serves as the Vice-President of the African Youth Union in the SADC Region. She has been to over 40 African countries, reviewing youth policies, presenting papers and delivering public lectures/speeches centered on Entrepreneurship, Agribusiness, Women in Leadership and Civic Education. Currently, Sarah is also the Executive Director of a growing consultancy firm – Giant Thoughts Consultants. She recently represented Namibia at UNCTAD14 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Our inspiring Super Girl is an epitome of service and excellence. She has served as the Chairperson of the Swakopmund Constituency Youth Forum. In 2014, Sarah was named a Great Achiever Laureate. She also served as the 2015 Ambassador for Namibia in the World Bank Group – IMF Young African Society. Driven by a strong desire to develop and transform the town of Swakopmund for the overall benefit of the community, Sarah-Leigh aspires to run for local office in 2020. To her, leadership is ACTION, which goes beyond words, influence and followers.
Girl Pride Circle is very proud of Sarah. Her passion for youth and women development is contagious. We cannot wait to see her soar even higher!