First ever ‘National Transformative Feminist Leadership Winter School’ for Aspiring Women Leaders Launched.

Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) together with Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) with support from the Netherlands Embassy held the first ever National Transformative Feminist Leadership Winter School for aspiring women leaders in Zimbabwe.

The winter leadership retreat which ran from the 19th to the 23rd of July 2020 was attended by 40 aspiring women leaders who aspire to run for public office in the 2023 national elections as councillors, Members of Parliament and Presidents. The women leaders representing the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe were drawn from MDC Alliance, ZANU PF, MDC, NCA, YARD, independent candidates, trade unions, student unions, ZINASU, civil society and tertiary institutions (Student Representative Councils).

The aspiring women leaders went through a robust and intensive capacity building, mentorship and coaching process in: Political career development, Introduction to feminism, Building and managing a campaign, Introduction to public service and volunteerism, Negotiation and consensus building skills, Nonviolent campaign strategies, Constituency outreach and voter mobilization strategies, Introduction to climate change, Resilience building and social accountability, Public speaking and Mastering the art of convincing audiences, Etiquette and confidence building.

The retreat was facilitated by a seasoned feminist and development specialist Ms. Grace Chirenje who did a sterling job in preparing the women for political work through enhancing their political skills necessary for high level public office.

The following guest speakers took turns to nurture and mentor the women leaders, mostly through their lived experiences:

  • Margaret Dongo – former member of Parliament, war veteran, seasoned politician and women’s rights expert – Reflections on women in politics: lessons and experiences
  • Hon Temba Mliswa – member of Parliament for Norton – Analyzing the systematic root of male privilege: historic, structural, religious and cultural privileges,
  • Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi – author, life coach, pastor and motivational speaker – Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship,
  • Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu – Head of political participation and representation expertise – International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) – An overview on gender equality, women’s empowerment and advocacy in Zimbabwe.

The aspiring women leaders were grateful for the skills strengthening process and are confident that they will definitely excel in the 2023 elections.

WALPE and WLSA shall continue working with the women, harnessing their skills, offering them long term mentorship and coaching exercises until the 2023 elections. The two organizations envisage to increase the number and quality of women who successfully run for public office.

After successfully completing the Feminist Transformative Leadership programme, the aspiring women leaders received certificates of achievement. The women leaders were also assigned mentors who will walk the leadership journey with them till the 2023 elections and beyond.

Source: Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)

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