THE FOUNDERS FEATURE; ANNE WANJIKU WAICHIGO
Tell us a little about yourself and the PCOS Foundation Kenya.
My name is Anne Wanjiku Waichigo. I am a Mother of two–Eliana Kamau (5years) and Ethan Kamau (3 years). I am a marketer by profession, the Founder of PCOS Foundation of Kenya and a content creator.
PCOS Foundation of Kenya is a support organization advancing the cause for individuals with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The Foundation intends to create an avenue for people to learn accurate information, get support and to empower themselves as advocates for the cause.
Prior to PCOS Foundation Kenya you worked at Johnson and Johnson yet you resigned, why did you resign?
I resigned from my job because I felt it took me away from my family–that was the number one reason. I wanted to have so much flexibility and be very present for my children and husband. They grow so fast and I did not want to wake up and feel like I missed some years of their lives.
Secondly, my journey with PCOS gave me clarity on what I value –when I stared talking about infertility in its scary face, the possibility of never having my own biological children, and then God blessed me with two…I decided I want to be a bit more intentional about raising them.
How has the entrepreneurship journey been so far and what are some of the challenges you have faced running the Foundation?
It is more like running a non-profit organization. The biggest challenge is finances. There are many women suffering from this condition and my wish is to reach as many as possible with support, education and empowerment.
What are the statistics of women with PCOS globally and locally, what would you be aiming to achieve through your Foundation?
Currently, it is 1 in 5 women in the U.S and 1 in 10 in the UK. Unfortunately, in Kenya we do not have the numbers and that would be the first thing as a Foundation we would aim to establish so that we can have a clear picture of how many women suffer from the condition.
What do you think your beneficiaries would say is the best thing about your organization?
Most of them say they are happy to know they are not alone and they can share with others who are just like them.
Some say they have learnt and understood both PCOS and their bodies much better.
Husbands who’ve attended our events together with their wives have attested to being more aware of their wives’ needs and therefore, learning how best to support, and love them. The wives too also get to understand that reproductive health issues affect both partners emotionally and psychologically, hence the need to learn how to manage everything as a team.
What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?
Most of my time nowadays is spent educating people on PCOS on social media especially. Most people will inbox me to ask me which doctors to see, symptoms, tests to be carried out, etc. I try to respond to most of them.
Did you undergo any physical or mental changes with PCOS? How did you overcome this?
At the time of my diagnosis I had cystic acne, I was/still am obese, irregular periods, and I am currently experiencing hair loss.
In the Foundation we have a nutritionist called Nthenya; I engaged her last year and so far I have lost 8kgs. I am trusting God to help me lose 10 more. I also did further blood tests with the help of an endocrinologist to understand my exact type of PCOS and with that I have managed to also know what supplements work for me. Since PCOS has no known cure, it calls for a lot of lifestyle changes to be able to cope or manage the symptoms.
Do you think there is relation between dressing well, loving yourself and being self-confident?
Definitely! They say – Dress how you want to be addressed. So dressing does impact a lot on the mood you exude. When you know you look good you tend to be more confident.
How would you describe your style?
I am a smart casual kind of person. I avoid jackets and I do not like wearing heels or let’s just say they will not bring out my confidence as I will be second guessing my next step. Never mind that I am 5” flat. I guess you can say I love being near the ground or I’m down to earth, if you may.
Challenge accepted! Part of the make-over and what we do at Sarai Afrique Fashion House is to encourage ladies to try pieces they ordinarily would not wear (which obviously we did). We loved how she looked but we’d also love to hear from you, what do you think?
The team at Sarai definitely took me out of my comfort zone. You should have seen me walking with the heels. It was amazing to see myself in different looks and thinking hmmmm!! I should try that more often. The boss like look with pants and a jacket, I definitely will try that more. As for the heels let's say I need a lot of training on how to walk in them.
I love how Sarai not only sell the dresses but they also know how to make them stand out more and they offered me dressing tips. It was an amazing experience.
Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0753054882
Dressed by; Sarai Afrique Fashion House
Styled by; Sarai Afrique Fashion House