07/28/2011 03:52 pm ET Updated Sep 27, 2011

Walking Africa

Recently I was asked by an organization in Italy to spearhead

here in the United States an initiative that they were launching.

Having lived in Italy for 30 years and having worked on

television there, I am frequently asked to sustain different

causes. In all my years of social work and contributing to

various causes, never had I felt my heart jump with joy like

when I heard about the "Walking Africa" campaign.

The CIPSI and ChiAma L'Africa propose to launch an

international campaign that results in the presentation of the

Nobel Peace Prize 2011 to African women as a whole -- a

collective Nobel.

The proposal is rooted to the fact that African women have,

over the years, assumed a pivotal role in everyday life in Africa.

These women are leaders in diverse facets of life ranging from

household tasks to social and political activities. The women

of Africa provide for their families by toiling, even during

emergency situations, to guarantee that the cycle of life can

continue unabated. For decades these women have been

contributing to the African micro financial system: ranging

from the historical West African tontines to the microcredit
initiatives throughout Africa which have facilitated the

foundation of thousands of small enterprises. African women

are active in the management of economic activities. There are

thousands of women's cooperatives occupied with

agricultural, trade and educational activities. African women

also play an increasing role in new native types of social and

economic ventures. They are also resolutely engaged in

healthcare, providing assistance as well as

information to increase awareness of the HIV virus and

malaria in their villages. What's more, they struggle against the

brutal tradition of genital mutilation.

They are firmly committed to the establishment of peace --

despite being exposed to incessant discrimination and human

rights violations -- through a clear political commitment not

often recognized. The belief is that the humble woman of

Africa and the pivotal role that she plays can help pave the

reconstruction of a more just humane society.

Last month, I flew back to Europe where I had the opportunity

to meet and interview 10 enterprising African women all

hailing from different countries who were caravanning through

Europe to speak at various press junkets. We all met shortly

before we were to make our presentations at European

Parliament and again at the Department of Foreign Affairs in


Their stories were vast and some tragic it brought me to tears,

but not one of them even in the most passionate of moments

in their recounts of horrible tragedies cried. My sense was

that they had been through so much they didn't have any tears

left... but their dignity was untouchable.

These colorfully dressed, extremely gracious, and

highly educated women came with their message of strength

and hope for their respective countries and Africa as a whole.

They came to ask for collaborative efforts from the European

Union in helping African women entreprenurs. They came

wanting freedom... freedom from oppression, freedom of

choice and of voice.

It's time that African women are heard. It's time that

African women are helped. It's time that African

are heralded. It is my greatest hope is that African

women will indeed be given a Nobel Peace Prize as it

would signify a life changing event to not only African

women but all women... as a collective.