Development, Society, Uncategorized, Women Rights

How Can Women Lead Better?

On leadership

As a women’s rights activist, my heart warms up when I meet, read and hear about women leaders that are transforming people’s lives and society. I get delighted to learn more about their leadership journey, triumphant stories and struggles. In addition, I most importantly want to learn the lessons to avoid the pit falls they have encountered.

Often, what we see and hear is the success story. We hardly get to hear the story behind the story. The behind story includes overcoming marginalization, stereotyping, rejections, betrayals, the days she felt like giving up, the burn out, depression and the traumatic experiences amongst others.

A research conducted by Akina Mama wa Afrika with support from Hivos East Africa revealed that one of the reasons women shy away from taking up positions of leadership is that it confers added responsibilities. Yet, it is in these arenas that women can influence the reversal of their prevailing predicaments.

Women need to know that taking on added responsibilities as a leader obviously comes at a cost. These include: time away from family and friends, long hours at work, limited time for self-care and personal development, etc.

It is a fact that success does not come easy.Thus, as women we need to find ways of mitigating the negative costs if we are to sustain the gains of getting more women in power and decision-making positions.

What support mechanisms are we putting in place to enable women leaders perform optimally? How are we transforming our systems and structures to address the structural barriers? Are we creating spaces for reflection and learning for women in leadership to share experiences or peer-to-peer reviews? How are we creating spaces for mentorship and coaching to groom new leaders? Are we addressing the right attitudes needed by women in taking up critical leadership positions?

The support system need to include women role models for others to emulate. These role models need to write their stories to inspire the others into leadership. It should not only stop at this but to have empowerment drives for every woman from the lowest to the highest strata of authority. The intentionalityit is, the better the women will lead.

This year 2017, Akina Mama wa Afrika is celebrating 20 years of feminist and transformational leadership development through its African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) that has thus far graduated over 4,000 African women. Our alumni have since taken up various positions of leadership and are effectively influencing the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights on the African continent.

As we push towards gender parity in leadership, we need a renewed conversation on how we can support women to lead better, effect change in their own lives and communities and effectively participate in leadership and decision-making.

-Eunice Musiime

Society

Restoring the leadership position of the first born child.

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If you are a firstborn child in your family, undoubtedly your upbringing profoundly deferred from the rest of your siblings. The privileges and responsibilities were drawn from religious, cultural, and social norms. For instance, in most of our cultural and legal frameworks, the firstborn were the ones who received a double inheritance and would inherit the father’s role as the head of the family.

Continue reading “Restoring the leadership position of the first born child.”

Development

My struggle with conquering procrastination and lost opportunities.

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At the beginning of this year 2017, I was exposed to the process of self-assessment to identify areas for growth. One of the areas, I clearly needed to address sooner than later was regarding the issue of procrastination. Wikipedia defines procrastination as the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

The effects of this grave sin have manifested in different forms in my life. Countless times I have lost opportunities due to missed or forgotten deadlines, poor time keeping and disrupting other people’s schedules, a few missed flights, poor or delayed communication regarding an important project, poor resource management, loss of income, poor health, among others.

Aware of the negative effects of procrastination, I set out to deal with this issue once and for all. I began with an honest self-examination of the root causes. A review of my weekly to –do list clearly revealed that my goals can sometimes be very unrealistic. The superwoman syndrome of wanting to do all and end up doing nothing. Not only was I setting ambitious goals, but they were equally too big and intimidating. I could add that they were equally not well thought out and planned. It is not enough to just merely write out what one was going to accomplish without thinking through the how.

For instance, one of my goals at the beginning of the quarter was to raise substantial funds for the organization that I work for. Unfortunately, I did not break it down into details. Actually, it was not clear at all how I would go about fulfilling this goal. What exactly would it take? Would that require writing 10, 5, or 2 proposals? Schmoozing with 10, 5, 3 potential funders, or enhancing the brand and visibility of the organization.

John Maxwell in his 15 invaluable laws of growth illuminates on the law of design as one of the ways to maximize growth. He asserts that more accomplishments in life come more easily if we approach them strategically. Rarely does a haphazard approach to anything succeed. What has been lacking in my case is a failure to develop a system that supports me to address my key tasks in time.

For those who could be struggling with beating procrastination, the first step is to become self-aware of the root causes. Further, we need to develop systems that will help one to become more organized in scheduling and setting priorities. Equally important is to learn from the past failures and design strategies to deal with barriers to personal effectiveness.

At a personal level, I have made a pact with myself that the issue of procrastination must be dealt with decisively. For starters, I am adopting simple systems like setting weekly goals on the first day of the week to offer a minimum agenda. Of course, procrastination will definitely not change in a few days, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with but one.

Development, Society

Leadership: You can’t give what you don’t have

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Uganda is engulfed with growing public outcry and heightened conversations about the deteriorating state of leadership at all levels –family, community and national. It is a known fact that the prized values cherished over the years like integrity, authenticity, service, courage, and nationalism are grossly lacking in many of our current leaders.

At the national level; the President, cabinet, parliament and the judiciary have been severally condemned for having lost it. So to speak in today’s lingo. For instance the 10th parliament in comparison to previous sessions has fallen to record lows. The political parties seem to be walking on a very steep slippery slope to disintegration. The civil society is grappling with questions of legitimacy and transparency. The religious leaders have not fared any better, in that they are re-defining holiness.

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Development, Society

Dreaming Big: Surround Yourself with Big Dreamers.

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I can vividly remember that as a child, I had a lot of big dreams, from becoming an air hostess, to the best ballerina in the world, to becoming a space engineer, an author, singer etc, I dreamed that anything and everything was possible. A lot of our dreams as children were not only limitless, boundless, imaginative but also very big dreams. Along the way, our dreams were re-sized, re-shaped and shelved due to by multiple experiences.

 This year as I celebrate my 40th year of existence- I am inspired to dig deep and find me. I have many why questions in my mind and scattered thoughts on my purpose on this mother earth. What is my purpose on earth? Of course I have a rough idea that I regularly clarify. But am I exploiting my full potential? What is limiting me from fulfilling my God given destiny? Am I making a living or designing a life?

Continue reading “Dreaming Big: Surround Yourself with Big Dreamers.”

Society

Who are your ride or die friends?: Keys to cultivating lasting friendships!

At a recent gathering of leaders, we were challenged to consider whether in our life journey, we have intentionally cultivated relationships with at least four people who we would consider our do or die friends. Ride or die friends are the kind who will be present by your side at the most critical of moments. The kind who will defend you in your absence like their life depended on it. The kind who will not fear to tell the truth as it is when necessary.

They’re the ones who are there through thick and thin, over months and years and decades, across miles and surrounded by memories. That kind of deep, lasting friendship is one of the most beautiful gifts in life.

Continue reading “Who are your ride or die friends?: Keys to cultivating lasting friendships!”