Premise / Introduction
There are so many programs and projects focused on supporting the poor and underprivileged in Africa but very few programs support and empower young African women to be able to impacts the lives of others. African women and children have been described as one of the most susceptible demographic to the challenges of climate change. This has also been the case for other issues that has bedeviled the African continent including HIV, famine and starvation and even wars.
The African woman has been bombarded with so many challenges that the importance of gender mainstreaming has become a fundamental criterion in developmental grants, initiatives and schemes in the African continent. With all these awareness and strides to support the African woman, development experts reckon that the surface has barely been scratched when it comes to the type of support that the African women requires whether it be economically, socially, culturally, environmentally or otherwise.
We believe therefore that there is a potential for greater impact if a program provided ample training, capacity building, partnership liaisons, and mentorship to young, smart and entrepreneurial African women to develop programmes, projects and enterprises that would positively impact the lives of other African women. This is the thrust of the Young African Women Initiative (YAWI).
Under this initiative, we hope to garner support from investors, funders, African Governmental agencies, Corporate bodies etc to design and deliver the following:
- YAWI Fellowship Program – a 2 to 3 weeks enterprise development programme hosted in our overseas University partners for a selected number of young African women from different African countries. This will take place once a year and would involve engagement with different African government and partner organizations to manage the selection process and sponsorship of candidates.
- YAWI Scholarship Program – for young African women to study in our international University partners on distance learning programmes under a scholarship scheme.
- YAWI Capacity Building Program – A series of distance learning academic programs and schemes to be domiciled in different African Universities specifically to promote women right, empowerment and capacity building for women. Currently, these programmes are not readily available in African universities.
Young African Women Initiative (YAWI)
An enterprise development, strategic leadership and sustainable development summer school in Zambia August 21st to August 26th.
As part of the Young Africa Women Initiatives (YAWI), Flexylearn organized a one week Enterprise Development, Strategic Leadership and Sustainable Development Summer School for thirty women in Zambia.
The ladies were taken from a broad section of departments making up middle and senior management female executives of the biggest extractive company in Zambia, the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
Flexylearn believes there is a potential for greater impact if a program provided ample training, capacity building, partnership liaisons, and mentorship to young, smart and entrepreneurial African women to develop programmes, projects and enterprises that would positively impact the lives of other African women. This is the thrust of the YAWI Enterprise Development Summer School.
Overview of Summer School
This Summer School was designed, specifically, with a view to addressing the knowledge needs of the public and raise awareness regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It focused on a management guide and framework for Zambian professionals to understand how to effectively develop, manage and lead sustainable projects and programmes; how to align corporate social responsibility spends and expenditure with the sustainable development goals and how to effectively grow their businesses, reduce cost and reduce impact on the environment.
It covered topics on:
- Sustainability and Corporate Governance
- Business Finance
Objectives of the Summer School
- To promote entrepreneurship and develop enterprising skills that can be geared towards career, cooperate and national development.
- To expose participants to the fundamentals of strategic leadership and enterprise development and management.
- To explore the global agenda around Sustainable Development, Local Content and Globalization/Internationalization.
- To promote networking amongst female enterprisers that can be consolidated for future partnerships in business ventures or social projects.
- To promote team-working skills, presentation skills, critical thinking and analytical skills, all vital for personal professional development.
- To create a platform for the development of entrepreneurial and social enterprise ideas that would benefit more women upon implementation
Programme Schedule of the Summer School
The Programme Outline of the Summer School was as follows:
- Training on entrepreneurship and enterprise development for all participants and especially how to develop a business plan and present it to a team of experts and potential investors.
- Aggregating participants into Business teams that was asked to develop a business or social enterprise idea that can impact the lives of several women or young girls if implemented or executed.
- The participants in each team assumed specific roles like you would have in a real business environment – i.e. CEO, Director of Operations, Marketing Director, Financial Director etc – and strove to work together as a team with a vision.
- Each team spent some time developing their ideas into a mini-business plan showcasing how the idea would be implemented, how it would impact the lives of many other women. This was effectively guided by a team of support personnel.
- The teams would then present their ideas to a panel of judges and would be questioned and critiqued effectively, and supported to make the ideas better. The best teams would be announced.
- The programme was conducted with expertise and professionalism that at the end of the Summer School, all participants had honed their skills and knowledge of how to take a business idea from conceptualization to the point of implementation or investment.