Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)

Feminist Leadership Development

Yes! Another exciting, reflective and engaging second convening for African Centers of Excellence (ACE) Program Partners took place in the capital of Ethiopia from October the 1st to the 6th 2012 under the theme ‘Women's Leadership and Economic Empowerment'. 
The ACE for women's Leadership is coordinated by the International Institute of Education's office in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program is implemented by partners from Ethiopia- represented by Organization for Women in Self Employment (WISE) ),Kenya -represented by Young Women's Leadership Institute(YWLI), Rwanda, represented by Rwanda Women's Network and Uganda, represented by Akina Mama wa Afrika.


The program aims at supporting the four partners to expand and improve the delivery of new skills and tools for women's effective leadership and provide space for sharing experiences and for networking to mobilize women for change. 
Having convened the first meeting in Kigali- Rwanda from the 6th -12th May, 2012 where partners got to meet for the first time, the second meeting centered on the post Kigali activities where partners shared what they had been up to since and strategized on activities that will make them centers of excellence.

The meeting highlighted and reflected on activities that the different partner institutions are
engaging in as they work to upscale and enhance their programs. During this meeting AMwA shared how we had relearned, unlearned and learnt... "We are thinking clearly on how enhance our programs through; better documentation, and paying attention to social media as a critical tool in program enhancement". Among the activities AMwA shared with partners was her recent revised curriculum based on her holistic P.O.T framework-which initially was Personal empowerment,

We held an African Women Leadership Development Reflection Meeting from the 7th- the 9th of November 2012 which was premised on the curriculum validation meeting that was held from 9th-11th July 2012. One of the key recommendations of the meeting was the need for AMwA to create partnerships and collaborations with organistions and institutions having similar interventions to share best practices/experiences and form strategic partnerships.

Participants pay attention to a presentation on ACBF's experience 
We created a platform that would allow the different institutions engaged in women's leadership development to re-think and strategize innovative mechanisms of enhancing African women's leadership development with a focus on 2015 and beyond. 
The conference brought together a diverse group of women leaders from likeminded organisations, institutes of higher learning, intergovernmental organisations, donors, individuals and feminist activists.
In the company of such vibrant women there was no alternative to interactive and participatory sessions that comprised of presentations, working group discussions, debates, plenary and exciting energizers that provided an enabling space for participants to reflect analyse and theorise on alternative mechanisms of strengthen the African women's leadership development programs.
The sessions were deliberately designed to trigger conversations on how we can best position ourselves to strengthen African women's leadership development beyond 2015 and were based on the following themes;

  • Contextualising African women leadership development
  • Women's leadership Development-Engaging with emerging challenges and possibilities
  • Peer to peer learning and Tacit Knowledge sharing; learning from our own experiences what works and where are the gaps
  • Innovative and cost effective methods of women's leadership development
  • Way Forward: Women's leadership Development strategies towards 2015 and beyond

 

Participants cheer-up during one of the energizer activities

Besides the shared jokes, laughter, new friendships and networks that were created during the three day meeting, it was evident that participants were perturbed by the existing gaps in the African Women's Movement. They highlighted issues like the paradigm rift between the "baby boomers" and the X Y generation, limited conceptualisation and appreciation for feminist theories, Inadequate documentation and research to validate our work and tell our stories, weak alumni networks that are not well placed to further the women's movement agenda, difficulties in measuring results, out puts and outcomes as demanded by donors.
At the end of the 3 day meeting it was clear that demographics and the environment in which we are working have changed and that patriarchy is continuously manifesting itself in new forms which mean that we can no longer do business as usual and that we need to embrace diversities and realities. We also need to create strategic partnerships that will enable the African women's Movement become stronger. As a result participants either consciously or unconsciously continued to Participants engaged in a group discussion highlight recommendations that would enable us strengthen the women's movement through the following ways;

  • Ensuring inclusive and collective empowerment of African women
  • Bridging the paradigm shift through mentoring programs and intergenerational dialogues
  • Conceptualising and theorising African feminism through research and documentation to validate our work
  • Embracing new technologies that will enable continuous activism and movement building and utilisation of minimal resources
  • Creating strategic partnerships that enable capacity building forum for African women as a core for effective empowerment
  • Measuring results, outputs and outcomes
  • Tackling Patriarchy from the roots through conscious creation of safe space for women and building our values as feminists.

At the end of the meeting it was evident that we need to establish strategic partnerships moving forward  that will support us in meeting the community of practice which was one of the key outcomes of the meeting.

Following the Kampala Declaration on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) by 11 Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in December 2011, Ministers of Justice and Gender gathered in Kinshasa last week to discuss implementation of specific articles of the Declaration.

Experts from the 11 Member States[1] deliberated for three days on key issues including urgent domestication of three ICGLR Protocols,[2] establishment and strengthening of special courts and procedures in order to fast track response to cases of SGBV, and launching of Zero Tolerance Campaigns on SGBV crimes and impunity simultaneously in all member states.