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Amujae Leaders: EJS Center increases women’s productivities

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By Winston W. Parley

Women leaders from across the African continent have hailed the experiences they get through the Amujae Leadership Forum initiated by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center), saying, being deliberate about their choices and the access to the training they get have helped raise their ambitions and productivities.

Climaxing the Amujae Leadership Forum on Sunday, 31 October 2021 in Monrovia with a press conference, Madam Yawa Hansen -Quao, a 2020 Amujae Leader from Ghana, expressed appreciation to the EJS Center for bringing together very distinguished women leaders who have signed up to be part of the leadership journey.

On the professional front, Madam Hansen – Quao said being able to be deliberate about their choices and to access training that has helped women leaders to raise the bar for their ambitions and to increase their productivity has been a great benefit to the program.

Madam Hansen – Quao noted that “they say you cannot be what you cannot see,” adding that she believes that “we can’t be our best all by ourselves,” so networking with the other Amujae leaders has really become quite a sisterhood of other leaders who are on similar journeys.

She said she was part of the first cohort following their nominations and intensive interview processes that led to her selection, explaining that being a part of the Amujae program is an emerging experience for her personally and professionally.

Ghanaian national stated that she has been able to learn from all of the distinguished women leaders through all the interactions they held virtually during COVID-19 and beyond.

She expressed appreciation to former Liberian President Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf and the entire team of the Center for initiating this great experience and bringing together all of the distinguished leaders which she said has designed a holistic intervention that is focused on what they will do and who they will be.

Madam Fatoumatta Njai, 2021 Amujae Leader from The Gambia, recounted the rigorous process she faced to get selected like other Amujae Leaders, thanking the EJS Presidential Center for giving her the opportunity through the Amujae Leadership to share experiences with other leaders and learn from each other.

She said the interviews were rigorous, but she enjoyed them. Madam Njai said she was in the process of running for an elected office for her party in The Gambia when she also had the opportunity to apply for the Amujae Leadership Forum.

She noted that she had a strong confidence that she would be accepted into the Amujae Leadership Forum following the interviews, and she did.

She said in parliament where she works as a lone voice, there are things you want to get done, but then you need a lot of votes.

Giving an example, she said parliamentarians could be debating female mortality, mortality, death rate, and men wouldn’t understand exactly what it feels like when women give birth.

She said for men, it’s just an imagination, therefore, women need a space to speak for themselves while also seeking men’s support to enable females to have more seats at the table.

Madam Njai said this should not only be in the parliament, but journalists should also have more females playing leadership roles.

Madam Umra Omar, a 2021 Amujae Leader from Kenya, said Amujae as Africans, it is known on the continent that it takes a village to raise a child, and Amujae is that village that is raising the next leaders of Africa, and it is “up to us” to raise the next women leaders.

Madam Omar explained that a huge number of women in her country have considered vying for governor positions after she encouraged a lot of them to take the challenge.

She added that the coming election in her country will have the highest number of women vying for governor positions, adding that the concept of the Amujae Forum is about what a woman leader will do to bring other women along.

She said it was a very humble appreciation to sit with Mrs. Sirleaf, the first elected female leader of Africa and other distinguished leaders.

Madam Ghada Labib, 2021 Amujae Leader from Egypt, said the Center has helped them to unleash their potential and gives them the awareness that they are stronger than they think they are.

She expressed thanks and appreciation for being selected to be part of the Amujae Initiative, adding that she was happy to be in Liberia for her first time.

She applauded former President Sirleaf for doing exceptionally good work, saying she has a heart not only for the African continent but for the whole world.

The Amujae Initiative is the EJS Center’s flagship program which prepares women to excel in the highest echelons of public leadership and bring other women along.

Drawn from a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds, the Amujae Leaders include members of parliament, a governor, a mayor, and several government ministers from 16 countries across Africa. 

They were selected through a rigorous application process from hundreds of applicants and they each have a track record of demonstrable achievements in public life and a drive to uplift African women and girls.

This year’s forum was the first gathering of Amujae Leaders since the official launch on March 8, 2020, on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Focused on the theme “Building Resilience,” the forum aimed to equip the Amujae Leaders with the tools to continue their leadership journeys through uncertain times and support their respective countries in rebuilding following COVID-19. 

It also harnessed the power of these accomplished women leaders in advancing women’s leadership in Liberia and across the African continent.

During the forum which climaxed Sunday, Amujae Leaders shared their strategies for building resilience and encouraged each other to persevere in pursuing their goals.

In the press conference that followed the climax of the forum on Sunday, Liberia’s former President Mrs. Johnson – Sirleaf addressed the media alongside former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia and now EJS Presidential Foundation Board Chair Amb. Deborah Malac; and EJS Presidential Center Executive Director Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks.

Sharing the platform with Mrs. Sirleaf also were Madam Yawa Hansen -Quao, a 2020 Amujae Leader from Ghana; Madam Fatoumatta Njai, 2021 Amujae Leader from The Gambia; Umra Omar, 2021 Amujae Leader from Kenya and Ghada Labib, 2021 Amujae Leader from Egypt.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/amujae-leaders-vow-change-for-women-in-public-leadership/

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