Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)

Feminist Leadership Development

12 Young women from Malawi, Namibia, Botswana and DRC are gathered at Sandton Lodge, Johannesburg from the 9th-13th June, 2014 undertaking a training in feminist facilitation as part of a project aimed at strengthening the Southern African women's movement.

The workshops which are part of an on-going process of supporting young feminist leaders is a strategy that aims at developing a critical mass of feminists who can train, coach and mentor others on feminist leadership principles and values. The project is based on the need to address the lack of knowledge transfer and mentorship programmes for young feminists that has been identified as one of the causes of the weakening of the women's movement in the region.

Throughout the three days of facilitation so far participants have undertaken various modules that have focused on Feminism and the Self; that demonstrated the courage, struggles, power, and patriarchy well captured through the leadership journeys shared by participants. The notion of understanding power was deeply interrogated with examples of how power continuously manifests itself in our lives with an analogy of the "Master's House" and how it has continued to enslave women in various evolving forms. Feminist Popular education was another exciting and yet powerful module that enhanced participant's appreciation of feminist education in comparison to other forms of learning.

Today marked the 3rd day of the workshop with quite challenging yet exciting modules on Feminism &Organisational Development and Feminist Evaluation all of which have enabled participants develop a feminist lens for effective feminist organising, appreciation for and celebration of our achievement; not forgetting accountability as part of feminist leadership. It was clear that feminist evaluation is critical to feminist organising and development and triggered reflections on how we evaluate our day to day work/projects without taking into account the principles of feminist evaluation.

African women from 15Group Photo of Participants countries across the continent gathered in Nairobi, Kenya from April 23rd to the 24th to deliberate and strategize on women's political leadership in Africa. Convened by FEMNET (African Women's Development and Communication Network) and Urgent Action Fund – Africa (UAF-Africa), the meeting engaged seasoned politicians, aspirants, women's rights activists, leading organizations engaged in enhancing women's political leadership, donors, UN agencies and the media.

Participants discussed the varying socio-political contexts in which women in politics operate, including increasing militarism and fundamentalisms across the region. Personal accounts of political journeys were also shared over the course of the two days. The meeting was a vibrant gathering that enabled dialogue and debate on issues of political leadership, fostered cross continental learning and served as an agenda setting and planning meeting for a larger convening on African Women's Political Leadership that will take place in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire in November 2014 that is expected to bring together over 200 participants.

Leadership Training For Women in Oil And Gas Underway In Ghana

Accra, Ghana – Africa Women Leadership Institute (AWLI) is currently going on in Accra Ghana from 14th to 18thof April. This year, the West Africa AWLI focuses on the theme of Economic Justice for Women in Oil and Gas.

The training has brought together 20 women from West African countries including Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria to take a feminist approach to engage in the oil and gas sector and how it can contribute in empowering women. The participants are from government agencies, universities, media, oil companies, funding agencies, international NGOs and national civil society organizations.

In an opening remark, Mrs. Leah Chatta Chipepa, the Executive Director of AMwA, said Africa, especially the sub-Sahara region, is increasingly attracting world’s attention for its fast development and huge potential. Fresh discoveries of oil and gas are a source of optimism in the continent and generally are considered to represent unique economic opportunities for reducing poverty and promoting socio-economic development. However, the incidence of oil and gas boom has not automatically resulted in economic opportunities for our continent neither in sustainable development.

When the industry is booming and the economy is rising? We have to ask: it is rising for who? Whose agenda is it addressing? How will women, men and children of the continent benefit? It is sad indeed that while most women depend on land as a resource to produce food and energy and for income, there is a deficit of women’s rights and control over resources and their rights of access are not secured. The continent’s rising should take into consideration the women demographic dividend as important contributors and players in Africa’s development, for example the creation of new career opportunities for women in the sector,

This five days training is reflecting on what is happening in the Oil and Gas industry and women's interrelationships with the sector. The AWLI also focuses on the legal framework and policy framework that governs the sector in the three countries. The training emphasizes the need for women to have a collective voice to engage and participate in the sector at different levels, as decision makers, entrepreneurs and as advocates. Guest speakers from private and public sectors will engage participants in an open discussion on: Oil and Gas, A Development Agenda.

As stated in the keynote from Mrs. Owusu Koranteng, Executive Director, WASSA, Association of Communities Affected by Mining, Africa should do things differently by moving away from increasing reliance on irresponsible mining, oil and gas which diminish our capability to engage in sustainable development. This is important because the survival of most women hinges on land because the majority of Africa’s population is in the rural areas and land provides the source of livelihood and food security.

The African Women Leadership Institute is Akina Mama’s flagship program. It is a networking and a training forum, established by African women for Africa women, to develop strong and sustainable leadership that is inclusive, participatory, transparent and accountable to promote social transformation. Since the first AWLI in 1997, over 4,000 young Africa women have attended the training.

The 2014 West Africa Leadership Institute organized by AMwA with funding support from the HIVOS.