African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI)

Since her inception, AMwA has been committed to women’s leadership development focused on ‘raising the bar’ by equipping African Women with relevant skills and knowledge to effectively participate in leadership and decision making processes. Through her flagship Programme-the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), women achieve personal empowerment, develop critical thinking on feminist theory and practice; begin to question existing structural barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment; individually and/or collectively organise to transform the lives of African women. Today the Institute is renowned for its holistic P: Personal Mastery; O: Organising Skills and T: Taking Action (P.O.T) leadership training framework, which underpins all AWLIs.

The AWLI is a networking; information and training forum established for sustained leadership development for African women to develop a strong cadre of women leaders at personal and collective levels, to influence policy and decision-making. Through the application of feminist principles, the result is to achieve lasting qualitative difference in the lives of women in Africa. The AWLI targets women from the non- governmental organizations, private and public sectors, parliament, intergovernmental bodies, funding organizations, academia etc. We believe that through our AWLI we will ultimately promote a progressive African women’s development agenda

The ultimate aim of this programme is to encourage and train significant numbers of women for informed leadership positions that will ultimately promote a progressive African women’s development agenda. The development of a feminist constituency among the next generation of African women leaders is essential to the future of the African women’s movement.

The AWLI was launched on February 22nd, 1997 by the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe during the 1stAWLI,which took place from February 22nd –March 14th, 1997 in Kampala, Uganda. The 2nd residential institute held from January 31st – February 20th 1998 and the 3rd from February 6th -26th 1999 also in Uganda where the AMwA had an Africa Regional Office.

The objectives of the AWLI are to:

  • Develop the leadership potential of young African women who would like to commit themselves to a progressive women’s movement in Africa.
  • Provide leadership training for young African women who are in leadership positions in women’s NGOs, mixed NGOs, government institutions or corporate bodies and other related sectors that promote women’s economic empowerment
  • Empower African women living in fundamentally patriarchal communities with self-development and life skills training.
  • Initiate a forum for young women to meet and build alliances for individual and professional support.
  • Develop a mentoring and role modelling system in order to benefit from the knowledge, skills and expertise of older women.
  • Strengthen existing national and regional networks through networking and solidarity and to build and sustain links with the international women’s movement.

The African Women’s Leadership Institute is renowned for its holistic P.O.T leadership-training framework, which underpins all AWLIs:

The P.O.T means:

Personal Mastery: This allows participants to locate themselves as activists, but also to reflect on different aspects of their own lives in terms of practices, development and also taking care of themselves as a critical part of feminist leadership development.

Organising skills:This allows for the development of a range of skills related to feminist organising. This includes strategy development, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy, research and documentation, communication as well as recourse mobilisation. These skills are in particular targeted at building capacity of emerging activists and those already in civil society movement to ensure they have the skills to be able to more proactive, strategic in their leadership within these spaces.

Taking Action:This looks in particular at movement building as a strategy for effecting social changeThe module focuses on the theory and provides capacity into each of the different components of movement. Including fostering shared learning, intergenerational Dialogue , Oral Her Story and documentation of good practice as well as contributing to broader development thinking and improved development practice for a sustainable progressive development agenda.

Credit is given to Bisi Adeleye Fayemi – the AMwA Executive Director at the time; Everjoice Win, Sarah Mukasa, Stella Mukasa, SebleDawit and Algresia Akwi who conceptualized the AWLI training around what we called the P.O.T. To date, training workshops are undertaken using various training methodologies, including group work, lectures, practical exercise sessions, site visits/field work and inter-generational dialogue between older and younger African women. The AWLI curriculum is quite flexible; it can be tailored to suit various constituencies and is based on various thematic issues affecting a given constituency.