Africa’s Feminist Transformative Leadership Academy

At the dawn of the Maputo Protocol’s 20th anniversary, the Aga Khan Foundation in partnership with the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) hosted the novel Feminist Transformative Leadership Academy in Africa. 

The event was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and hosted over forty feminists and gender rights activists from eight nationalities: Canada, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The event was graced by representatives from Community Empowerment for Rural Development (CEFORD) Uganda, Conselho Cristao de Mocambique, Dream Achievers Kenya, Faidika Wote Pamoja (FAWOPA-TANZANIA), Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Public health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU), Sauti ya Wanawake, Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) and Slum Child Foundation.

Speaking during the opening ceremony Dr. Rose Reuben, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) said, “The African feminist transformational academy was a timely event because it equipped feminists from Africa to challenge the oppressive structures through the media.

Dr. Reuben noted that women have always been shortchanged in leadership positions yet their potential and power is critical for sustainable leadership.

Additionally, Memory Kachambwa the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) said that African women deserve to be at the forefront of leadership.

“As a feminist institution, we are dedicated to share in the responsibility of sisterhood and we are dedicated to genuinely create inclusive and responsive approaches for transformational leadership,” said Kachambwa

Kachambwa  insisted that, “African women have the right to be in powerful positions because they have what it takes to lead,”

Speaking with the same tone, Kennedy Chande, Aga Khan Foundation’s East Africa’s Regional Manager said, “Sustainable development in Africa can only be achieved if gender equality and women’s rights are secured. We have a long way to go, and this academy prepares us to understand what lies ahead.”

Furthermore, Susan Lankisa from Dream Achievers in Kenya noted that there is a need for collaboration to achieve gender equality. Lankisa insisted that gender equality is not just a human right but a women’s fight!

“There is a war against women, and we need to fight against it,” added Nandumiso Nsimbane , a Pan African Feminists from South Africa.

“Women have been somehow written out of history,” decried Nsimbane, “We must make room for all women in all their diversities so that we realize theism of pan Africanism”.

In concert to the same view, Dorothy Otieno, FEMNET’s the transformative leadership coordinator said,” The realities of women in Africa reflect patriarchal socio-cultural inequalities along gender lines,”

While we may not be able to change all the socio-cultural inequalities, we believe that transformational leadership is a timely discourse that will captain African women into positions of influence,” said Dorothy Otieno.

Perhaps the African feminist transformational leadership academy is the long-awaited panacea that will effectively challenge the patriarchal structures of oppression that have derailed women’s ascension to power. Conversations from the academy can be retrieved via this link here

This article was written and compiled by Imali Ngusale, , and the photography by Muhammad Shah Khan, . For more information on the aforementioned and on FEMNET’s work on transformational leadership contact Dorothy Otieno via

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