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AWLO – African Women In Leadership iLead Project Unveiled

AWLO Akwa Ibom state Chapter recently launched is it’s iLEAD project towards raising the next generation of leaders.

The inaugural event was tagged “Raising The Next Generation Of Female Leaders” brought together 336 School prefects from the 6 senatorial districts including the paramilitary, cadet and private schools. Also in attendance were key decision-makers ranging from leadership to media and people at the forefront of education, economy and technology to discuss education and leadership, with a particular focus on Africa, its generation of female leaders and the youth.


Dignitaries included:

Hon Elisha Attai, Founder AWLO, Dr (Mrs.) Violet Arene of Support Bridges Initiative, Yvonne Ebbi Social Intelligence Expert & Senior Consultant of The Etiquette Place, Louisa Akaiso CEO at Image Awareness Center, Inc. Compere Joyce Daniels, CEO Talkademy, Dr Eme Joseph, Amb. Mrs Unyime-Ivy King UN eminent Ambassador of Peace & CEO Heritage Treasure Trove Communications, Mmanti Umoh representative to Commonwealth, Image Consultant, Director Communications & Int’l Negotiations RHA Africa, Lead Consult at The PurplePatch Consults Mrs Nsikak Benson, CEO Netima Republic, Mrs Emem-Uwem Akpan Etiquette Consultant CEO, eFinishers Academy & Finishing School and the host Mrs. Mariastella Victor Mkpong; Executive Officer Reading House Africa and Akwa Ibom State Coordinator AWLO.

The speakers reminded the prefects; The mission of iLEAD is to “Equip Africa’s Next Generation of leaders with knowledge and skills in education and leadership, making them more competent and confident while at the same time increasing their opportunities for leading healthy and productive lifestyles in harmony with nature and with concern for social values, gender equity and cultural diversity potential to drive transformative change on the Continent.

The panel session moderated by Mmanti Umoh Representative to Nigeria Youth at Commonwealth, CEO The PurplePatch Consults delivered the following agenda and action points; We, the leading class of iLEAD fellows, convened in Akwa Ibom from 6 – 7 May 2016 for the 1st iLEAD leadership forum, recommit to the values and principles enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and African charter.

African Women in Leadership is focused around the areas that will improve the status of women in the continent and the world. As school prefects, we pledge our continued support as partners and stakeholders for the economic, environmental, social and political development of our country Nigeria as defined in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development that define our generation. We therefore call on governments, civil society organisations, NGOs, International donor partners and other stakeholders to partner with African Women in Leadership Organisation to support the following policy recommendations: We, the school prefects, request the Nigerian government to influence standards of dress shown on television through its licensing powers by introducing clothing laws in Nigeria.

The female school prefects defined leggings as not modest enough to wear in public, The request also goes to Performing Musicians Employers’ Association Of Nigeria to regulate obscenity, which includes certain depictions of people in various stages of undress in videos. As social media users, not just students the iLEAD fellows advised young people to be careful of content shared on public space and start using social media responsibly.

Calling on parents to talk to their teens about how to use social media safely and responsibility. Stakeholders called for an urgent reinventing of Parents Teachers Associations in schools in order to attend to the high rise of juvenile delinquency. They called for the standard of discipline to be improved in schools classroom and the community children to learn to take responsibility for their actions.

We, the school prefects, recognize that youth unemployment is one of the extreme challenges facing youth. We call for opportunities to be given to entrepreneurial young people who are making an enormous contribution to economic growth across and value to be placed on expanding access to entrepreneurial training, technical training, vocational training and technology, in order to improve labour market outcomes for youth, promote youth entrepreneurship and promote decent employment as stated in the commonwealth youth declaration. Adopt the commonwealth policy which identify that there are challenges in regards to access and quality of education by all groups of young people.

While young people are key stakeholders in education, they are not always consulted when policies that directly affect them are being formulated, implemented or evaluated. Additionally, many young people are not acquiring the relevant skills they need for the changing labour market of the future, and transitions from education to full-time work are becoming more challenging. Furthermore, national youth policies need to respond to the challenges facing young people, including access to support services and information relating to Sexual and Reproductive Health, mental health and noncommunicable diseases.

This declaration and supporting action plan express current policy recommendations of 336 iLEAD young leaders from the 6 senatorial districts including the paramilitary, cadet and private schools. These recommendations have been gathered through regional, state and individual prefect’s contributions, and were finalised at the 1st iLEAD Youth Leaders Connect. They represent a common framework to inform and inspire iLEAD led-development at national, regional and African levels. “Young people can and must play a vital role at the centre of sustainable and inclusive development.

Investing in young people today is the foundation for a prosperous and equitable tomorrow. Therefore, it is critical to harness the creativity, leadership and social capital of young people” -CHOGM, November 2013 .

awlo2Below is the speech presented by the President of AWLO – Hon Elisha Attai at the Youth Summit organized by the Akwa Ibom Chapter of AWLO


I heartily welcome all forward minded youths to this summit.

It gladdens me immensely that The African Women In Leadership Organization (AWLO) has decided to travel this path, knowing that our youths are the “future leaders of tomorrow”. Though that phrase has become a cliche in our country, the leadership of this organization has no choice but to lend its voice decisively to sowing viable seeds for the tomorrow that lies ahead of today. It is based on this premise that I congratulate the Akwa Ibom Chapter of AWLO in its foresight and preemptive decision to host this gathering.

Therefore, in careful response to the obvious needs of the future; and in recognition of myriad barriers facing women: a mix of cultural factors, ingrained mind-sets, demographic profiling – race, sex, religious dogma, favoritism, gender ambivalence, stubborn forms of behavior etc; AWLO focuses on convening, creating and broadening networks that will offer sustained initiative for leadership roles in the society.

So, if you are seeking for an organization that offers a world of opportunities for individuals of unquenchable thirst for knowledge, passion for success, excellent spirit, innovative mind and impeccable integrity; we will require three capabilities from you. Resilience, Grit and Confidence. Recently, Nigerian legislatures in the National Assembly found it convenient and easy to throw out the Gender Equality Bill. How many of you seated here has wondered and consciously reflected on how that singular decision will continue to influence your lives? Have you considered the cascading effect on your own children’s future? I ask these questions because history is not always kind in concealing our deficiencies and failures. It is more than apparent that the society itself is against the woman, so also deep seated tradition and norms characterized by a male dominated society. Let the woman not be against herself for “The bird that would soar above the plains of tradition, and prejudice must have strong wings.” WHAT SKILLS ARE WE HELPING WOMEN BUILD? Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties – a form of toughness. Grit is resolve, courage and strength of character.

Confidence is a level of self assurance arising from an appreciation of your own abilities or qualities and in the words of Hemingway, “Courage is grace under pressure.” As our thinking changes, we also change physically. This is the 2nd Law of the Tunnel: As we think so we are. In order words, you have the ability to feed yourself positive information to alter your future. In business, resilience allows us to get up after making a mistake or encountering a challenge. Grit allows us to push through walls and rise above challenges. Confidence helps transform challenging experiences into greater self assurance, not self doubt. Perseverance through challenging circumstances can shape a woman’s ability to lead – at a moment of crises or failure.

The quality of talents is improved by its trainability, engagement (reasons to believe, grow, and stretch) and willingness to aspire to exceptional performance. Leadership, as we all know goes beyond mere leading. It requires sacrifice and is inundated with great responsibilities, chief of which is being transformational.

You require the core values of honesty, integrity, character, humility, loyalty ( Ethical); competence, excellence and professionalism (Qualitative); teamwork, meritocracy, efficiency, enthusiasm, promptness and timeliness (Automation ) to:

▪️Embrace and drive change

▪️Build open and honest relationships

▪️Handle effective Communications

▪️Pursue growth and learning

My understanding of today is that AWLO is presenting to you a platform of a forward and upward journey; in readiness for the dramatic changes that will birth from changing values and perception. We are leveraging on the success achieved at the women’s level as a foundation for raising the next generation of female leaders amongst the teeming youthful population. WHAT TRIGGERS LEARNING? Intuitively, we know that seeing female role models makes a huge impact on the younger generation.

So, I ask the older ones in leadership positions, the accomplished in careers, business, churches, cultural settings, organizations: “What are you doing to share your stories?” Are you being visible role models? Whom are you mentoring? I plead that you will not be selfish in your success: consider sponsorship and creation of opportunities for learning and growth. For “If you want to lead the orchestra, you must turn your back on the crowd”.

There are rich deposits of wealth and gifts on the inside of every youth, waiting to grow and be cultivated. I challenge the men in our society to see it as a basic commitment to help increase the number of talented women, after all we all desire the best form of intellectual fulfillment for our daughters, sisters and mothers. How else would we empower and support them if we withhold encouragement?

Research has proven that students are more successful when they are praised and recognized for their contributions, hardwork, practice and effort – for a mindset of growth. Such a mind is valuable in all aspects of career, corporate environment, and entrepreneurship because women can shape and reshape their advancement and success.

The good news is that we live in a social age where resources for educational innovation – online, audio, video – abound and these capabilities are teachable. Leaders should encourage academic highlights of seeking knowledge and the importance of determination.

To attain, you need intellectual capacity, tenacity, inner conviction and strength of character. What fear can, and will do, if you give it the chance is to stop you from exercising your authority and hinder positive growth.

To our beloved youths, I dare to say that as long as you are in this world, there will be setbacks, drawbacks, and every back “you can imagine” trying to limit you. You must root out unconscious bias that holds your mind captive in grave intimidation and fear.

I advise that you take adequate advantage of our mentoring program and make progress towards achieving many of your dreams and ambitions. I hasten to add in conclusion that, ”If you pay the PRICE of Labour, you will get the PRIZE of Honour.

Thank you for listening.



Hon. Elisha Attai | President/Founder
African Women in Leadership Organisation |

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