“Start early, have a very clear plan and course to be followed, get the message out quick reach out to people so that they know what your ideas are and how you intend to change their lives”- Ellen Johnson.

The impact of mentorship actively supports and encourages people to manage their own learning in order to maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.

With the impending Kenyan General Elections, Akili Dada’s Young Changemakers Program chose to cover a topic that is close to the political conversation. We held a mentoring session at Moonlight Secondary School dubbed the African Women Leadership series.

The session focused on African women taking up positions of power within their respective countries. One of the more notable developments in African politics has been the increase in women’s political participation since the mid-1990s. Women are becoming more engaged in a variety of institutions from local government, to legislatures, and even the executive.

Today, Africa is steadily leading in women’s parliamentary representation globally. African countries have some of the world’s highest rates of representation:  Rwanda claimed the world’s highest ratio of women in parliament in 2003 and today Rwandese women hold 64% of the country’s legislative seats. In Senegal, Seychelles and South Africa, more than 40% of parliamentary seats are held by women, while in Mozambique, Angola, Tanzania and Uganda over 35% of seats are occupied by women.

The young students learnt the qualities of a good leader and the effects of voting for a bad leader. Another key lesson the students learnt and identified was the role of girls and women in leadership. Among them included: advocating for the rights and freedoms of women and children, being revolutionary leaders like the late Professor Wangari Maathai, as well as demystifying the roles of women in the society.

The purpose of this mentoring session was to: expose the students to the different political trends that are emerging in regards to women in politics, expose them to the different African women who have held positions of power previously and still do currently, and to gauge the student’s knowledge on what a leader is and the different character traits a leader should have.

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