Moremi Initiative: investing in women and girls’ leadership in Africa
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Young women have long been identified as agents of change. As articulated by the World YWCA in their training manual ‘Empowering Young Women to Lead Change’:
- “… young women around the globe possess the collective power to change their lives, their communities and the world we live in. Just as they face daily challenges, young women are continually developing innovative, effective ways to improve their lives. By bringing together their wisdom and creativity, young women are leading change.”World YWCA, 2006 Preface, page 2 (accessed 25 August 2012)
World YMCA is an organisation that is actively tapping into and advancing young women’s leadership in Africa to effect lasting change through the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa.
Moremi Initiative: Training Young Women to Lead Change
Moremi Initiative was founded in 2004 as the Women’s Initiative for Empowerment and Leadership Development (WIELD), a leadership development programme based in Ghana ; it is a pan-African non-profit organisation with a vision for society “where African women and girls thrive and participate fully in the transformation of the continent”.Moremi Initiative Website (accessed 24 August 2012)
While acknowledging some positive changes in the status of African women, Moremi Initiative recognises that there are still institutionalised forms of discrimination that marginalise women within the private and public spheres. Therefore, Moremi Initiative seeks to elevate African women and girls by supporting them to assume and grow in leadership roles in their communities and beyond. Developing women and girls as leaders affords them the opportunity to take up and champion their rights and interests across the continent of Africa.
Moremi Initiative is rooted in four key principles:
- Enduring change is contingent on “good and inclusive” leaders who take advantage of the latent talent and skills of all their members of staff.
- Women’s full and active involvement in leadership is a condition for positive change and development in Africa.
- Women leaders need support and skills to overcome traditional, structural and systemic barriers to their success.
- Effective leadership is a function of acquisition of skills, principles and qualities that are learnt.
The Moremi Initiative’s Leadership and Empowerment Development (MILEAD) Fellowship
Moremi Initiative’s Leadership and Empowerment Development (MILEAD) embodies the principles set out in the preceding section. Since 2009, Moremi Initiative has selected young African women leaders, ages 19-25, living on the continent and in the Diaspora, and from a diversity of socio-economic, academic, and professional backgrounds as MILEAD Fellows. The Fellows are chosen in a competitive process and are representative of young women who have shown potential and/or currently lead efforts at the international, national, and grassroots levels to further the advancement of African women. These young women are at the forefront of issues including HIV/AIDS and AIDS, economic empowerment, environmental and social justice, etc. The Fellowship, which lasts one year, provides training and intergenerational mentorship opportunities for participants, with the ultimate goal of transforming the participants’ own lives and the lives of their community members and other women and girls across Africa.
- Women and Women and African Economic Developmentn Economic Development