The Beauty Pageant With a Purpose
Historically, young mothers were not allowed to participate in beauty pageants. They were stigmatized by society, leading to discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion. To change this, Mercy Adongo founded the Miss Global Mother Beauty Pageant. It allows young mothers to participate, advocate, and serve through pageantry. Vice Versa Global, Miss Uganda Foundation, and AfriCoffee were some of the organizations that supported and graced the Grand Final at Motiv in Kampala.
1. Who is Mercy Adongo?
I am a social entrepreneur, activist, community advocate and founder of the Miss Global Mother Beauty Pageant. I also founded One Girl Africa, a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the lives and well-being of children and youth. This is through providing support, resources, and opportunities for growth and development.
2. Were you always into beauty pageantry growing up?
After understanding in depth that pageantry would give me a platform to serve large groups, I became interested in it at 14 years of age.
3. What inspired the Miss Global Mother Beauty Pageant?
During a virtual meeting with my pageant consultant from the Philippines, we discussed this initiative. We developed several brand names but ‘Miss Global Mother’ stood out because it defined our purpose. By creating a platform like this that uplifts young mothers, we are challenging stigmas and working towards fostering a more inclusive and accepting society. We want to raise awareness, advocate for their rights, and promote positive narratives surrounding early motherhood. By shifting societal attitudes and perceptions, we create a more supportive environment that encourages young mothers to thrive and be active participants in their communities.
4. How many mothers have you reached out to so far and how are you empowering them?
We have reached out to several from within Kampala and outside. However, for our most recent pageant, eight mothers made it to the grand finale. Empowering mothers requires a multifaceted approach that addresses their unique needs, challenges, and aspirations. Through my exposure, networks and social media platforms, I’m providing opportunities and support, as well as mentorship and community engagement. I believe I can help mothers thrive, fulfil their potential, and make significant contributions to their families and society as a whole.
5. What was the entry criteria?
The entry was open to teenage and adult mothers between 13 and 35. They were supposed to be Ugandan citizens committed to community service. We also considered discipline, friendliness and collaboration with young women.
6. What kind of skills and training did they acquire during the preparations?
They had programs on communication skills, diction and speech, social etiquette, posture, body language, catwalks, on-stage Q&A, interview sessions and community outreach.
7. What are some of the challenges in this field?
There were many challenges I faced preparing for this event but the greatest was the lack of funds to facilitate the process. We didn’t have many potential partners and sponsors to support the initiative. We also lacked access to media houses to support our marketing and coverage.
8. What were your achievements during this pageant?
I must say, to be a voice and beacon of hope is an achievement for me as an individual and a brand. This is because that’s exactly what we stand for. As a platform of advocacy, experience and personal growth and ambassadors representing young mothers in Uganda.
9. Do you feel this pageant will change people’s perception of mothers, especially young single mothers?
Yes! It will allow these mothers to become role models and influencers for others by sharing their personal stories, challenges, and triumphs. Providing a platform for their voices to be heard will challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about young motherhood. Sharing diverse narratives humanizes young mothers’ experiences and promotes empathy and understanding.
10. What’s the future like for this pageant?
Moving forward, we will work closely with our reigning ambassador, Prisca Ojjaba, 1st Runner Up Shamym Arengo and 2nd Runner Up Atayo Annet Otim. We will also work closely with our title holders and finalists. To work hand in hand with organizations that align with our values and purpose and impact communities and nations.
11. What advice do you have for young mothers?
Your physical, emotional and mental health is paramount. Take care of yourselves. Remember that your well-being is crucial to caring for your child effectively. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and support when the need arises. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and seek advice.