By Lydia Limbe

What does it take to be a leader? A female leader for that matter. Are they born or made? This has been a global debate, and the conclusion is that some are born and others are made.

At Akili Dada, we seek to make that female leader. How do we do this? Through various methods, our target age group being 13-35. For the girls aged between 13-19, we engage them through the Young Change Makers Programme.

Public Speaking practical session during the April Scholars Leadership Academy with Willis of Toast Masters, Nairobi. 

Public Speaking practical session during the April Scholars Leadership Academy with Willis of Toast Masters, Nairobi. 

Much as we target the 1% who are academically gifted and come from underprivileged backgrounds, we acknowledge the fact that to be an effective leader, one has to be sharpened all round.

One of the most important qualities of a leader is to be self aware, and that is why during the just concluded Girls Leadership Academy as well as Scholars Leadership Academy, we took the girls through different aspects of self awareness.

Self awareness on the who I am as a woman in the 21st Century. 34 Akili Dada scholars and 15 future girls leaders attended a Leadership Academy that took them through various aspects of what it is to be a leader.

Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights (SRHR), Girls Rights, Public Speaking as well as 21st Century Feminism were some of the topics covered.  Of course, one key aspect of a leader is the ability to visualize the bigger picture of what’s possible.

Group discussion during the Scholars Leadership Academy in April

Group discussion during the Scholars Leadership Academy in April

What better way than to expose the girls in different aspects of career and life. During the leadership academies, the girls got an opportunity to visit Ocean Soles, The United Nations as well as African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and Osschemi, a pharmaceuticals manufacturing company.

These are places headed by women from different sectors. Hopefully the United Nations will be next, with the Secretary General in the upcoming elections being female.

At Oschemi, the procurement manager shared with the girls that it does not matter one’s background, rather what matters is your vision for life.

Students from the Girls Leadership Academy at a site visit in Osschemi, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Nairobi. On the left is the Quality Control Manager - Maryanne Aketch.

Students from the Girls Leadership Academy at a site visit in Osschemi, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Nairobi. On the left is the Quality Control Manager - Maryanne Aketch.

“Remember, you are mage in God’s image, and you are really, really, really Lovable, Loving and Lovely.” She said.

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