Fati Ali had a strong belief in her abilities to carve an alternative path despite the uncertainties involved in doing so since she was breaking free from the ingrained familial traditions, particularly those that were harmful to women.
After graduating from senior high school and becoming the first female president of the Students Representative Council (SRC) at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Fati Ali reflected on her journey, which at first matched that of her older sisters’ trajectory towards marriage. But her brother’s unexpected involvement caused her to choose a different turn.
She accomplished the incredible achievement of becoming the first member of her family to graduate from senior high school and attend college. However, this success was only the beginning, launching her into a situation where she felt obligated to take more action and unintentionally igniting her intense interest in student politics.
Fati Ali recalled her guarded nature throughout her early GIJ years. She did, however, always have an inherent sense of observation. She said, “When I came to GIJ, in the first two semesters, I was very quiet and not really involved in student politics, but I was observing and realized the students were losing faith in the SRC and that there were many things that needed to be corrected… I realized things were not the way they were supposed to be.”
She started her covert campaign to aid her classmates and juniors because she was determined to make a difference. Fati Ali was a proponent of collaborative development, emphasizing that inaction is not a strategy for progress. According to her, “So, I started championing, in my own corner, however I could help my colleagues – however I could help my colleagues and juniors, because I believe development is collective, so, if you sit in your corner and expect it to happen, it won’t.”
Her unselfish actions were motivated by her own motivating journey. She said, “My story inspires me that I’ve found a way to connect it to the GIJ story. That, regardless of my background, I persevered and I got here.”
She first resisted being invited to be a running mate during her first year, but with time, she became more immersed in the world of student politics. She became more knowledgeable and became aware of the gap that needed to be filled. “In a democracy, every faction should have a voice, and in our case, the SRC, and if the students are losing interest, who is going to have the voice; who are you going to advocate for?”
Fati Ali started aiding in numerous capacities without aiming for a leadership position since she truly believes that leadership isn’t related to titles. In her words, “I believe that you don’t need a portfolio to serve; you don’t need to have a title to lead or serve people.”
Her resolve simply strengthened as the difficulties got more severe. But as things became difficult, she said, “But as the going got tough, I realized that sometimes, when you have the portfolio, it makes it easier to make certain conversations and negotiations. So, I made up my mind that let me contest for the presidency.”