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Sunday, December 29, 2013

South-to South Exchange Program Uganda- Memoir’s of a Fellow.

By Kate Kiama VV Lead Fellow-Kenya 2013

I have been a somewhat active fellow of the prestigious Vital Voices -VV Lead Fellowship program since earlier this year. The program aims to support a global network of emerging and established women leaders to participate fully in addressing pertinent issues in their society whilst also encouraging them to participate fully in the economy. The three year program offers participants mentorship, vital trainings and a source of information sharing. When the window of opportunity opened for a possible peer-to-peer exchange visit to be held in Nairobi, I immediately jumped at it. The unfortunate Westgate mall attack on the ill-fated Saturday  morning of the 21st September 2013 that saw the death of about 72 innocent people who were in the Nairobi mall that day raised security issues on the venue of the VV Lead South-to-South Exchange Program.

In light of the same, the venue was changed and fresh dates were set for December 9th -13th in Kampala, Uganda. Uganda is generally a very beautiful warm and ever shining country. Kampala is humid and much of our stay then was very wet in the early mornings. This did not deter Riham Helmy a fellow from Egypt nor I from enjoying the occasional morning swim in the Olympic size pool at the Speke resort Munyonyo, the hotel we were staying at during our stay in Kampala. The program managed to convene 51 fellows from over 26 different countries representing four different continents. Being in a room with all these amazing different personalities not only felt like being in a mini-UN resolution meeting but it also felt powerful and humbling at the same time…
VV Lead Fellows 2013

The VV Lead program is based on three pillars; Connect, Share and Collaborate. Each day built into either one of the pillars and programming for the each day further buttressed the same. On the first day we were each tasked with the beautiful task of dreaming and structuring our organizational goal, VV Lead Program goal as well as our week goal to be in tune with our overall dream channel. This was a very important reminder and lesson to continue dreaming….

Day two was all about sharing. Concurrent sessions were held for a better part of the day and I was excited to have attended sessions on effective pitching of an idea as well as facilitation for team empowerment. A good number of sessions were moderated by the VV lead staff or consultants but it was equally refreshing to have some fellows take up the moderation and facilitation of others. Day three and four focused on developing an effective personal strategic plan as well as enhancing the art of an effective negotiation respectively. The same was followed up by site visits to three different locations which fellows had to sign up for and which took place concurrently. The site visits were conducted in organizations within Kampala namely TERREWODEwww.terrewode.org , CEDA International (Bombo Road-Kawempe Division) and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) www.uweal.co.ug. The site visits were definitely part of the collaborating pillar of the VV lead programming.

Other sessions that really struck me and which I fondly remember include the speaking up and speaking out elevator pitch training which was conducted by Allison Shapira, president Global Public Speaking. I am now constantly aware of my pitch, tone and tempo and most importantly if I am talking in up talk…up talk it was made know to us is where your sentences end in a question mark when in essence they should end in  a full-stop. It leaves listeners with the opinion that you are either unsure or not confident in the message you are delivering. The knowledge café and the crafts fair were also less conventional methods that made learning, sharing and networking much more enjoyable.

A week is really a short time to digest and discern the amount of content received. It is an even shorter time to get to know each of all participants but I am comforted that I have two more years ahead to make the effort to connect with each of these great ladies whose similarity is that they are different!!!





Friday, December 20, 2013

WeTech Seed Fund for Women and Girls in Computer Science

Applications are been accepted for the  WeTech Seed Fund for Women and Girls in Computer Science! The WeTech Seed Fund will provide small grants to support individuals working independently or civil society organizations in Africa to play a role in increasing the access to computer science-related training, jobs and leadership roles for women and girls . Seed Fund grant amounts will range from $2,000 - $20,000.

The round 1 application will be open until January 22nd 2014.

To apply for the WeTech Seed Fund, applicants MUST meet the following eligibility criteria:

·         Applicant must be a current resident of an African country (including North and Sub-Saharan Africa)

·         Applicant must be an individual working independently (at least 18 years of age), or a representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO), social enterprise or educational institution based in Africa

·         Applicant must be able to demonstrate previous experience supporting women and girls in computer science or STEM fields

·         Applicant must be committed to developing and contributing to a virtual community for WeTech Seed Fund grantees

·         Applicant must be able to demonstrate leadership potential (reference letter will be required)

·         Application must be submitted in English (Please note: planned activities may be conducted in ANY language)

Projects eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, trainings, mentoring programs, hackathons, entrepreneur incubation, awareness campaigns, and conferences and events.


Please direct any general questions and queries to wetech@iie.org


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Application 2014 Girls 20 Summit

 Represent your country at the next G(irls)20 Summit. Before you complete your application please do review the Frequently Asked Questions and read the background below.

In order to ensure your application is considered, it must be received no later than January 10th, 2014 at midnight EST.

You can apply by completing the application form, &submitting a reference letter.  While not required, we recommend you submit a video & picture (instructions are on the application form).



While in Australia, delegates will attend skills building training sessions, hear from a global panel of experts and discuss and promote tangible, scalable solutions toward economic prosperity. The Summit will culminate in a delegate-led press conference and communiqué that provides a blueprint to G20 leaders on how to utilize and engage one of the best resources in the world – girls and women.

  • Workshops / skills building investments in Summit delegates
  • An annual global Summit that takes place in the G20 host country
  • Global mentorships for G(irls)20 Summit Ambassadors (former delegates)
  • Panel of advisors for former applicants (not chosen as delegates but exhibited strong leadership potential)
  • Delegate led initiatives that take place in home communities
  • Access to ROI (Ring of Influence)

Four Summits have taken place : Toronto, 2010; Paris, 2011; Mexico City, 2012; Moscow, 2013.  Each Summit produces a communiqué which is presented to the G20 Leaders, Ministers of Industry, Health, Innovation, Economic Development and Foreign Affairs and Ambassadors. Each Summit also results in the development of community based initiatives led by the delegates.

PLEASE NOTE: Delegates will be required to return home to their countries and put their ideas into action or support an organization that is already working to empower girls and women.

The following will be provided to all G(irls)20 Summit Delegates:

  • Summit learning materials and supplies;
  • Return economy air travel arrangements, from the closest international airport to the delegate’s home to Australia;
  • Accommodations while in Australia (in transit accommodations to be covered by the delegate);
  • Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments each day;
  • All ground transportation while in Australia.

Please note that it will be the responsibility of the delegate to arrange her own ground transportation to and from her home and the airport as well as passport and visas (some countries will require a visa).

If you are a passionate, forward thinking, solution oriented young woman from a G20 country or can represent the European or African Union, Afghanistan, Pakistan or the MENA region and will be 18-20 years at the Summit (August 2014), you are invited to apply.

Please remember that All applicants must:

  • Be between the ages of 18-20 years at the time of the Summit (August 2014)
  • Hold citizenship of the country they are applying to represent
  • Have parental or guardian permission to travel to Australia and to fully participate in the summit for the duration;
  • Consent to appear in any and all media;
  • Have a valid passport and any other required travel documents for the delegate to travel from her home country to Australia 

Please note; that it is the sole responsibility of the delegate to obtain all required travel documents. Proof of all travel documentation no later than March 30th, 2014. The purchase of Health insurance and all necessary travel documents are the responsibility of the delegates and will not be reimbursed.

Language: As the G(irls)20 Summit will be conducted in English, English language proficiency, both verbal and written, is required.  All final delegates will have a phone interview in which their language skills will be evaluated.




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Community Dialogue- Kenya

The AIDS LAW PROJECT herein referred to as ALP is a non-governmental organization which works exclusively to promote equal rights and justice for people living with HIV & AIDS. ALP focuses on using legal strategies to advance health rights for people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS.  It was founded in 2007 by Kenyan lawyers whose desire was to give back to society, through applying their legal expertise in assisting people living with HIV & AIDS to acquire equal rights and treatment. The vision at the AIDS LAW PROJECT remains to create a supportive environment that enhances and upholds human rights to health, enhanced living, protection and participation of People Living with HIV& AIDS.

The Millennium Development Goals which are the eight global development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000 are set to run out by 2015.  In 2010, the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs requested the Secretary-General to initiate thinking on a post-2015 development agenda. Beyond 2015, this new framework will replace the MDGs and set the agenda and policy-making processes in UN member states around major development issues such as poverty reduction, health, education and more.

ACT 2015 an initiative of the CrowdOutAIDS has one goal which is to get as many voices in a movement building initiative that aims to secure a post-2015 development framework that advances the sexual reproductive health rights and HIV response for young people. In light of the same, the Aids Law Project Kenya in partnership with the ACT 2015 held a community dialogue with young persons drawn from diverse backgrounds to discuss among many things the reality of sexual reproductive health rights available to their communities. The community dialogue took place at the Aids Law Projects offices located off Ngong Road along Menelik Road in Nairobi from 11:00-1:00 Pm on the Friday 29th November 2013.This date was uniquely chosen to commemorate the World Aids Day which fell on Sunday 1st December 2013.http://www.crowdoutaids.org/wordpress/

The purpose of the dialogue was to share stories around sexual reproductive health rights and especially the level of awareness of participants and their communities around the subject matter. Participants were also encourages to brainstorm on potential solutions and inspire change for action. It was noteworthy to mention that a majority of Kenyan youth are aware of some basics on sexual reproductive health. This has been majorly commended by the government initiative to have HIV & AIDS as a compulsory unit in all fields of study in institutions of higher learning. The same has also been supplemented by incorporating Sex Education in lower levels of education notably within secondary and primary schools nationally. Despite having structures in place it is counterproductive in the sense that most university students will not attend any of the ‘extra’ classes and many lectures would opt out from even giving these lectures. The same is seen in some secondary and primary schools too. Implementation of sex education and HIV & AIDS classes remains largely problematic.

Despite several gaps that were identified from the community dialogue it is prudent to point out that the Aids Law project in collaboration with ACT 2015 feels very encouraged that more and more groups are having and hosting such similar dialogues and are discussing, sharing and continue to endeavor to have sexual reproductive health rights as part of the post 2015 framework.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fellowship Opportunit​y - Young African Leaders Initiative


The Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of US President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Washington Fellowship, which begins in 2014, will bring 500 young leaders to the United States each year for academic coursework and leadership training and will create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

The online application for the Washington Fellowship is currently available. Completed applications, including all supporting documents, are due by 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, January 27, 2014. All applications must be submitted via the online application system. The application instructions provide detailed information regarding the financial provisions of the fellowship, eligibility and selection criteria for the program, and details on applying. Please read the application instructions carefully prior to beginning the application. We recommend printing these instructions and referring to them while completing the application.

If you have questions about the application, please email washingtonfellowship@irex.org

Participating countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sisterhood in Mathare.

Saturday 23rd November 2013 was a bright warm morning in Nairobi. Akili Dada, a local NGO in Kenya that aims to address the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in Africa had organized through one of their fellows a career day at Mathare’s informal settlement in Nairobi. As part of Sisterhood, I was humbled to be part of this great initiative and to learn from not only the members of Akili dada but also from the community who we were visiting early that morning.

Career Day Sessions
As with most informal settlements, the area is densely populated and amenities are scarce. Life can be very brutal and each day bears its own challenges and battles that must be fought. For young people growing up there, especially for young girls, wrong choices and the wrong crowd can have far outreaching consequences. An Akili dada fellow-Ann Nyambura http://www.akilidada.org/what-we-do/innovation-in-leadership-program/akili-dada-fellows/ is the brain behind the career day. This vibrant young lass who grew up in the area is living testimony that where we are born, live or even where we grow up need not define us, our ambitions, hopes and dreams. Speaking on the opening of the career day, she recalls growing up in Mathare and being force to seek mentors from far and wide who mostly resided outside of Mathare’s slum. She knew that life had more to it than dropping out of school or been forced out due to teenage pregnancies and other wrong choices and even harsher realities. She acknowledges that having exposure to other people’s world views makes her a better person and hence her solid commitment to taking the same knowledge back to her own home through mentorship and economic initiatives.

The career day was for teenagers of both genders aged between 13-19 who reside within Mathare. The aim of the career day was to firstly, encourage the young impressionable teens that they can be anything they set their minds up to be and that secondly that each student is aware of what subjects to select especially for the high school students for a given profession and that thirdly and finally a firsthand experience and Q & A session with various career women from diverse professions including medics, lawyers, teachers, IT consultants, media personalities and renowned bankers.

Some of Akili dada beneficiaries
Despite the circumstances most of these young teens live in, I honestly felt as though they laugh harder, louder and longer than most other people. Is it because they know there is more to life that material things? It doesn’t cost much to sacrifice a few hours and to make an impact however small in others lives. There is nothing more heartwarming that making a small child smile and it is even more amazing that a young lady like Ann is demonstrating to her community and herself what real leadership really is!!! Ann was recently awarded with a grant from the Pollination Project to enable her to conduct essential training and to purchase materials and an electrical briquette to begin her economic empowerment project in Mathare. http://thepollinationproject.org/2013/11/29/ann-nyambura-women-empowerment-through-briquette-making/?utm_content=buffer70417&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

Miss Nyambura