UN Women offers mentorship for aspiring young women leaders

UN Women under the Young Women and Leadership Project (YWLP) implemented in partnership with FOWODE. From the training, she got to understand issues of gender equality and the equal roles men and women have to play towards achieving peace and development.

Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017

Having grown up in a patriarchal society, Emanuella Kokoi 27, never expected that one day she could take a lead to promote peace as well as campaign against gender injustices in her community. According to the Karamajong culture, it is a taboo to challenge such injustices. Kokoi’s journey to gender equality activism started after undergoing a mentorship training by UN Women under the Young Women and Leadership Project (YWLP) implemented in partnership with FOWODE. From the training, she got to understand issues of gender equality and the equal roles men and women have to play towards achieving peace and development.

Section of some of the girls during the training conducted in Soroti. Photo: UN Women
Section of some of the girls during the training conducted in Soroti. Photo: UN Women/Uganda

“Because of the training, I feel it’s my responsibility to contribute to peace building in my community.” On several occasions, Kokoi has engaged fellow youth in peace building. The area is known for cattle rustling. “Most of the raids are carried out by youth. Whenever I see a problem/hear something that is likely to affect our peace, I engage 2-3 people and preach to them peace. They also preach to others. I want to be part of the team that promotes peace and democracy in the country,” says Kokoi.

Kokoi mentors others into leadership. She was one of the facilitators during a one week regional mentorship training camp for young women organized by UN Women in partnership with FOWODE in August, 2017. The training aimed at building visionary young leaders who are commitment to gender equality, social justice and social transformation.

According to Agripinner Nandhego, UN Women’s Programme Specialist, the project targets to have a cadre of 30 young women leadership mentors from 10 districts as well as enhance the capacity of 200 young women to participate in decision making in 10 districts by December 2017.

Over 50 young women who participated came from 10 districts which include Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Kamuli, Agago, Lamwo, Kaberamaido, Kaabong, Kotido, and Moroto.

The training covered areas such as understanding gender and development, gender and governance, unity in diversity, transformational leadership, human rights, citizens participation in governance, good governance & service delivery, leadership skills, communication and public speaking skills, personal relations, building social networks, emotional intelligence, advocacy skills and building leadership mentors.

Nandhego said the Leadership camp provided an opportunity for upcoming women leaders to acquire the necessary analytical skills and practical leadership skills to reframe their thinking to the articulation of priorities and generation of collective actions to take charge of their destinies and at the same time improve their communities.

One of the participants, Olympia Akerongom from Agago District in northern Uganda said the training inspired her to improve her leadership skills. For Mercy Rhoda Akello from Kotido District, the training was one of its kind and intends to use the skills to create positive change in her community.

“I am not leaving this training the way I came. I feel inspired, encouraged and equipped with knowledge and skills that I have never received before. I want to change my community. I pledge to hold sensitisation meetings with girl child to address issues of teenage pregnancy and girl child drop out of school”.

Article by Aidah Nanyonjo, Communications, UN Women Uganda