Women Mentoring Initiative

Women Mentoring Initiative
Donor: UAF – Africa
Duration: 2012 – 2015


In August 2012, Urgent Action Fund – Africa appointed AMWIK as Kenyan host for it’s African Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Initiative. The initiative seeks to nurture and develop a new cadre of African leaders, well rounded in community, national and global issues through training, coaching, mentoring, networking and research.

The Initiative responds to the recognized fact that Africa’s slow progress in development stems in part from a limited quality of visionary, well rounded and business oriented leadership, a false dichotomy between development work and human rights advocacy, as well as the lack of a critical number of women in leadership and decision making.

The Mentees

Five Kenyan women including four AMWIK members namely Marceline Nyambala, Yvonne Mwende, Mercy Njoroge and Lilian Juma were selected to participate in the mentorship programme. Also participating in the programme is Ms. Wambui Kariuki of the Strathmore Governance Centre.

Other mentees are from the following countries:

  • Cameroon
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • South Sudan

Women Steering Innovative Leadership in Africa Conference (WSILA). In September 2013, the mentees attended the Women Steering Innovative Leadership in Africa Conference (WSILA) held in Lilongwe, Malawi between 9th and 11th September 2013.

The groundbreaking International Conference organized by UAF-Africa and her partners convened 300 women and men from over 30 African countries working in diverse fields and thematic areas to discuss the role of women in shaping the discourse of ‘African leadership’ on the continent.

The conference whose tagline was “Powering the African Dream,” aimed to address the obstacles to women’s integration into leadership, contribute to the process of bringing gender equality issues to the centre of national priorities, and build the expertise of African women leaders to impact on significant socio-political, economic and environmental issues.

The leadership conference also provided participants the opportunity to strategize, debate, network and craft solutions with global and regional feminists and thought leadership advocates while appreciating the trends and critical analysis in the global leadership arena. For more information on discussions held during this Conference, please click here: www.womenleadingafrica.net

In-house training

In addition to being mentored by leaders in different sectors in their countries, the mentees have an opportunity to attend in-house courses held twice a year whose objective is to impart the much-needed skills. UAF-Africa will hold these in-house training (residency) and mentorship courses twice a year in partnership with the Strathmore Governance Centre (Kenya) and the Coady Institute (Canada).

The two-week biannual courses are intensive in-house training camps providing an opportunity for mentees to learn new skills, network with established regional and global leaders and share their experiences in implementing their various projects. The first in-house training was held in Nairobi between February 17th-28th February 2014, at the Strathmore Governance Centre (Strathmore University) in Nairobi.

The programme is packaged in order to serve as a model for grooming leadership, whose graduates will establish a movement of Leaders for Change in Africa and is geared to addressing key gaps that continue to cause obstacles to women’s integration and to Africa’s development. The course delivered by the Coady International Institute of St. Francis Xavier University of Canada in partnership with Strathmore Governance Center also served as an induction to all mentees in the program.

The nextin-house training session will be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 27th October 2014 followed by a Pan-African Women in Politics Convening, from 10th to 12th November 2014.More courses will be held in Cote d’Ivoire and South Sudan.

The initiative seeks to contribute towards the following:

  • Positioning Gender Equality at the core of national dialogue and priorities;
  • Changing views on women’s capacity to impact on community, national and global issues;
  • Mentoring of leaders well rounded, able to engage on issues in several sectors, apply a business approach to  development and place emphasis on women’s economic empowerment;
  • Creation of a pan-African movement of Leaders of Change.