Twenty-eight Alumni from seven countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) attended a women in leadership training in Nairobi, Kenya from 13-14 March. The short course, which exclusively targets female Alumni, is organised under the auspices of the Africa Women in Leadership Network (WILN) with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
While affirming the Australian government’s commitment to gender equality and inclusion, Caroline Mbugua, Awards Manager at the Australia High Commission – Nairobi, lauded the initiative, noting that “Women face unique challenges in the workplace, but also bring unique value and perspectives. These challenges cannot be over-emphasised. However, we are challenging women to reflect on what they can do as change agents the workplace and the community level”. The training was meant to complement the skills that the women gained while on award and make them into more impactful leaders. Participants were also encouraged to mentor other women and help promote the awards program in their networks.
Speaking on her expectations from this forum, Dr Aida Tesfadet, a Medical Officer from Kenya, hoped that the workshop would help to strengthen her negotiation skills, adding “I would like to know a little more about diplomacy, particularly how to lobby successfully and gain support for our projects.” She is convinced that these skills will be useful as she seeks to deliver on her new role as a sub-county head of health.
Separately, Metsihet Lulu Shibeshi, a civil servant from Ethiopia asserts, “I hope to learn how to stay positive, focused and achieve my goals even when working in an environment dominated by men. The training will also give me so much knowledge and tools on how a leader should be especially when faced by challenges.”
Two other workshops are expected to run in Harare (5-6 April) and Port Louis (10-11 April) the next three weeks. In total, about 90 women leaders will be empowered to use their competitive edge to inspire and lead change in their personal lives, organisations and communities.
These workshops are part of the Australian Government’s commitment to Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, and are informed by the DFAT commissioned report (Building Women’s Leadership: the Contribution of Australia Awards Scholarships 2015). The workshops form part of the continuous professional development available for WILN members which offers access to training and support in gender equality inclusiveness and good governance.