The first female Deputy Chief Judge, Institute for Management Technology; first female president of Computer Science Department, Institute for Management Technology; first female president of the Student Union Government, Enugu State College of Education; Commissioner of Girls Guide, Enugu State; 16 women in 2 Igwe cabinets with 1 Igwe Umu Nwanyi (Female Igwe); all in Enugu state!
All these women have something in common; they all graduated from the Women Leadership Academy!
Established on the 20th of November 2021, the Women Leadership Academy (WLA) has groomed 130 women and girls with leadership and political aspirations to strategically position them for opportunities. Realizing the crucial need to address the leadership skills gap in young girls and women, Women Empowerment Education and Peace Building Initiative (WEPBI) set-up this initiative by targeting young women with a view to equipping them with vital skills for leadership.
In its four months of existence, the academy has graduated 3 batches and currently on its way to graduating the fourth batch. These were taken through 8 weeks of intensive training on leadership, personal development, team building, etiquette, community mobilization, strategic campaigns among others.
“Since the introduction of WEPBI in my town, there has been a lot of changes in lives of the women and girls in the community. I as a woman changed status. I could not speak in public and now, I can speak not just for my right, but also for the women and girls in the community regarding the challenges affecting us. I also contested for the position of a State Commissioner and won the position. So I am sending a shout out to the WEPBI coordinator and her team for their efforts.”
Ifeoma Vera Aneke, WLA Graduand
The Women Leadership Academy (WLA) is indeed a huge success as all the achievements highlighted in the first paragraph attest to this. Worthy of note is the fact that the success has trickled down to the community level as 2 traditional leaders have appointed women, graduates of the academy, into their cabinets. For the first time, Igwe Ambrose in Igogolo Community, Igbo Eze North included 4 women in his cabinet one of which contested and emerged as the Public Relations Officer of the cabinet. Igwe Benedict Eze also included 14 women in his cabinet making it gender balanced.
The achievements of the WLA typically depicts how much progress can be made if women and girls are prepared early for leadership. No doubt, more girls will be adequately equipped to compete in decision making spaces.
This project is fully supported by ActionAid Nigeria with funding from Global Affairs Canada.