Councillor Daniella Pritchard has made history in her local borough by being the first African woman to be elected as councillor for Harlow. Growing up in Ghana, Cllr Pritchard has a close tie with her roots, running a Ghanaian women’s organisation known as Independent Women. She also utilises the skills she has developed from dealing with NHS employment issues into her role, by encouraging the members of her community to aim higher and partake in business ventures. She will be running for the Essex County election in May 2013. Councillor Pritchard talks us through her support for the Ghana UK Based Achievements (GUBA) awards and life as a woman in politics.
What prompted your decision to go into politics? The idea of running for Councillor was brought up during one of our Labour Party meetings but I started to take the idea seriously after one of the Councillors stepped down. Following the departure of the Councillor they enquired if anyone was interested in standing for the May elections, I decided to give it a try because I felt that the skills I’ve developed as a part time nurse and a Trade Union Representative can be transferred into politics. I then run for the May elections and got voted in.
What has been your experience as a black woman in politics so far? I did not realise I was the first African woman to be a Councillor in Harlow till I was informed by family and friends. This is a personal achievement that has assured me that anything is possible. I believe that if you want something bad enough nothing should stop you from trying to achieve it. Some might say that being a woman and being black can sometimes be a barrier however, I don’t see my colour or gender being a problem because I do my best and I never let these barriers stop me. As long as I know that I’ve got something positive and substantial to bring to the table, I will stand my ground. It has been an interesting and rewarding experience so far.
Are you involved in any other projects? If so please talk us through themI run an organisation known as Independent Women which has around 25 women from various backgrounds, with the majority being from Ghana. We discuss issues and business ideas and try to find ways to improve and help ourselves because I think it’s important for African women to support each other. I also own an African food shop in Harlow which is the first African food shop in the town. I try and use my business experience along with the politics to help the people in my community.
What do you think of the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards?GUBA is doing an amazing job in the Ghanaian community and I’m really impressed by their work. It’s in the third year at the moment and based on the feedback I’ve received from the previous years, I can’t wait to see what the third year will be like. Also, I really like the GUBA website because it gives an insight of what to expect; the nominees are clearly displayed, it’s very well presented and straight to the point. The only way we can go forward is to support one another so I’m encouraging people to attend the GUBA awards.
How did you get to know about GUBA? I received an email from a colleague of mine giving me details about the GUBA awards ceremony, so I went on the website to find out some more information. I was very touched by what GUBA are doing to help the Ghanaian community and I will be attending with some of the ladies from my organisation to support the cause.
What are your expectations for the GUBA awards 2012? I expect the GUBA awards 2012 to be fantastic. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, securing contacts and networking.
What advice will you give to young people who want to enter your field? I always encourage young people to start working towards their dreams at an early age. I feel that had I started earlier, I would have gotten further. I also advise young people about the importance of education. I will also like to say to young people that if you have a dream, persevere and set yourself a goal, then go with belief and achieve it.
GUBA are really honoured that Councillor Daniella Pritchard has shown her support and love for our organisation. We wish her all the best in her role as councillor and know that she will make a great difference in her community. We look forward to seeing her at the GUBA awards which takes place on the 10th of November at the Park Plaza hotel. Tickets are still available at www.gubaawards.co.uk There are a few corporate tables left so please get in touch email@example.com and do your bookings.
By Claudia Andrews