Effective Leadership: Cultivating Effective Leaders in Development


25 – 26 February, Southern Sun Ridgeway, Lusaka


One of the overarching goals of the Australia Awards program in Africa is to develop the leadership capacity of Award recipients so that they can contribute to development in their home countries. Through their Work Plan on Return, Awardees have either shown their ability or potential to take up leaderships roles. Going on Award therefore provides the skills and knowledge that will give them the credibility, authority and capability to mobilise people and resources and to forge relevant partnerships to pursue development goals effectively.


With the goal of  enhancing  Alumni leadership, Australia Awards organised a two day capacity building workshop titled Effective Leadership: Cultivating Effective Leaders in Development, on the 25th and 26th February 2016 at the Southern Sun Ridgeway in Lusaka, Zambia.  The workshop brought together 31 Alumni from 15 African countries in leadership positions to brainstorm and discuss ways in which they could successfully fulfil their roles as leaders and consequently drive sustainable change in their organisations and countries. The workshop also provided opportunities for valuable skilling, networking and relationship-building for a key group of Alumni from 15 different countries across Africa.


The sessions began with consensus around the definition of leadership (“a special case of interpersonal influence that gets an individual or group to do what the leader wants done”) and a discussion on the difference between management and leadership, exemplary leadership, and approaches to leadership. Alumni were engaged in an interactive process of individual experience sharing and group discussions where they were challenged to extend their role as leaders in their own sphere of influence in spite of the many challenges for leaders on the African continent.


At the end of the workshop alumni left the workshop with a draft action plan which specified actions designed to achieve one key result to enhance their capability as leaders and to achieve a direct and specific actionable commitment. The participants agreed that Alumni should play a leadership role in influencing outcomes in their current roles.


Eric Filor Nagbe a Liberian alumnus said the workshop context which brought together a group of dynamic leaders in diverse professions provided applicable lessons and solutions. “I learnt that the leadership issues we have in our country is not only common to our country but all African countries.”


Zambia Alumni Association Chair, Royd Katongo also weighed in on the importance of Alumni professional development activities during his opening remarks. “We find such capacity building programmes and networking very enriching. We live in a dynamic environment with opportunities and challenges. As such capacity building becomes inevitable if we are to remain relevant and be of influence.”


On the second day of the workshop new awardees for the Master’s Degree Awards program who were attending a pre-departure workshop at the same venue, were matched with Alumni to share experiences of living and studying in Australia.  Some new awardees had the opportunity to talk to alumni who attended the same universities that they will experience soon.


To mark the end of the workshop, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Harare organised a networking cocktail which was attended by workshop alumni, members of the Zambia Australia Alumni Association, Zambia official delegates, and the 2016 Malawi and Zambia awardees. Addressing alumni and the awardees at the cocktail, Australian High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi, Suzanne McCourt emphasised the importance of effective leadership to the success of the Awards program, “Australia Awards recipients are selected because they are identified as leaders of change in spheres of influence and I hope that you will continue to contribute to the development of your respective countries”.


Workshop resources:


Effective Leadership Workshop - 25 February - 26 February 2016 

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Workshop Program


Workshop slide presentation