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.