Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)

Feminist Leadership Development

Since the establishment of the African Women Leadership Institute (AWLI) in 1997, many African women living on the continent and in the diaspora have gone through the AWLI experience. Such that at the mention of the name Akina Mama wa Afrika, many African women are quick to relate their interaction with AMwA to the African Women Leadership Institute many of whom have referred to as a life changing experience.

The Institute has lived up to its promise of developing a strong cadre of African women leaders at personal and collective levels to influence policy and decision-making and speak out on issues that affect them. Over 4000 women from Africa and UK/Europe have passed through the AWLI since its inception and many are making significant contributions to the development of their communities and /or countries. Majority of these women are strong agents of Women’s Empowerment in various sectors. In support of the Institute, leaders such as Bisi Adeleye- Fayemi sought to establish African Women Development Fund that was hosted by AMwA. The fund has continued to support many women’s organizations across the continent. Some of the alumni were inspired to start up organizations based on the AWLI principles and many others are leading in various spheres of political, economic and civil society organizations.

The AWLI itself has had numerous achievements and has gone through a number of changes such as hosting the first Francophone AWLI, the first AWLI in Central Africa, broadening the constituency to special interest groups, demand-driven organizational AWLIs, review of the AWLI POT framework from Personal Empowerment, Organisational Development and Transfer of Skills to Personal Mastery, Organising Skills and Taking Action, e.t.c.

Members of the first AWLI, 1997

Over the years, many alumni have in one way or another continued to attribute their personal growth and career achievements to the AWLI experience. Below are excerpts of what some of the Alumni have had to say about their AWLI experience

Consistent and continuous application of what I learned at AWLI is what has helped me to get to where I am today. I always remember trainings we took at AWLI that emphasized how leadership starts from within and to really bring about change, one needs to transform their personal life first. Elsabet Samuel Tadesse Consultant

The AWLI enabled me make critical personal decisions such as the choice to have a partner and children. I now have my first baby, a daughter who was only a few weeks old at the time of the tracer study. The principles and values I gained at AWLI guided my choice of partner and I have no regrets about him. We share a lot, plan for our family and yet at the same time respect each other’s space. Elizabeth Makimaro, Grant’s Administrator - Urgent Action Fund

AWLI has yielded several fruits for me. The AWLI changed my understanding of women issues, and I feel there is a positive change in both my professional and personal life. Coming from a conservative society which treats women as subordinate, I was initially contented to be led but after the AWLI training I am able to make some critical decisions on my own and own it up. I am no longer afraid of speaking my mind and articulating what I want in life. My confidence and self esteem have improved. I have taken advantage of these changes to contribute to my community through advocacy and sensitizing young women. As a Programme Officer, I developed minimum standards for gender and integrating gender as a theme in all sectors. ZamZam Abdi Billow Programme Officer – OXFAM

AWLI has impacted my character; from the quiet reserved person, I now speak out in public and in gatherings. It also taught me to set priorities and objectives and to monitor them, which has enhanced my delivery on programmes, a possible explanation for my promotion. As a Programme Coordinator, I have led fundraising initiatives, identified staff capacity building needs and organized training for my team members. I attribute the success of my community based programmes to my collaboration with the Civil Society, traditional leaders, armed forces, teachers, religious groups, health workers, profes sional workers, and farmers. Halimah Mohamud Ahmed

I was concerned about the peace in my country and desired to get relevant information and how as a woman I could help to bring about peace in my country. I learnt a lot about leadership, team building and gained confidence. Today as a leader in the SPLM, I use these skills on a day to day basis. I was also motivated to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. Mary Apai Ayiga, Central Equatoria State Minister of Social Development and Child Welfare

Many of the alumni specifically mentioned working to transfer their skills to younger women. They are supporting young women to know and champion their rights and for them to become active in political parties. One alumni had introduced intergenerational dialogue with young and older women in Senegal, in a project to support development of political parties. Tracer Study of AMwA AWLI West Africa Alumni 1997-2010

Alumni who have founded various organizations

  • Young Women’s Leadership Institute(YWLI) in Kenya founded by Nellie Kamau,Saida Ali and Kathambi Kinoti
  • Angela DwamenaAboagye started the Ark Foundation in Ghana
  • The Regional Associates for Community Initiatives (RACI) founded by Lina Zedriga
  • Founder/CEO – The NIMBUS Foundation, Joyce OpokuBoateng
  • Women Rights Initiative (WORI) founded by Rose Kigere
  • Lingalireni Ndekha Mihowa who co-founded the Young Women Leader’s Network in Malawi in 2000
  • Effah Josephine, Founder and Executive Director of Project Alert on Violence against Women
  • Daphne Olu Williams Vice Chairperson –Commissioner Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and Founder of the African Kind Hearts Organization (AKHO), a Community-based organisation (CBO).

Other Alumni leading in Various Institutions and Organisations

  • Funmi Balogun –Alexander, ‎Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Addis Ababa - Board Member of Akina Mama wa Afrika
  • Amanda Khozi Mukwashi - former Board Chair, Akina Mama wa Afrika
  • Bose Ironsi - Executive Director of Women’s Rights and Health Project in Nigeria
  • Rita Aciro - Executive Director of Uganda Women’s Network(UWONET)
  • Regina Bafaki - Executive Director of ACFODE- Action for Development
  • Dinah Musindarwezo - Executive Director Femnet International
  • Patricia Munabi - Executive Director Forum for Women In Democracy(FOWODE)
  • Jean Kemitare- Uganda Program Manager, GBV Network
  • Nabilah Sempala - Member of Parliament for Kampala in Uganda
  • Beatrice Anywar - Member of Parliament, Woman Representative Kitigum District Uganda
  • Mama Faida Mwangilwa - former Minister of Gender DRC
  • Lydia Wanyoto - Member of Parliament East African Legislative Assembly
  • Aynie Habtamu - Senior Gender and Nutrition Advisor, CARE Addis Ababa
  • Solome Kimbugwe - Former Executive Director AMwA and currently Executive Director, Nabagereka Development Foundation, Uganda
  • Nyambura Gathumbi - Rights and Citizenship Program Hivos Regional Office for East Africa
  • Sophie Ngugi - Women Protection and Empowerment Coordinator, International Rescue Committee
  • Dabula Zola - Director Planning and Policy at Department of Housing South Africa
  • Ann Mwangi - Executive Director HIAS( Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) East Africa