On 14 March 2020 the inaugural participants in the WA African Women’s Leadership, Empowerment & Development (A-LEAD) Program graduated at the International Women’s Day 2020 Gala convened by the Organisation of African Communities in WA (OACWA). The gala evening, held at the Vasto Club, Balcatta, WA, saw several hundred WA African-Australian women gather to celebrate the international occasion under the theme Together We Influence and Empower One Another.
The A-LEAD program, a joint initiative of UWA AfREC and OACWA as part of their community-university partnerships, was launched by the WA Minister for Women’s Interests Hon. Simone McGurk MLA on International Women’s Day 2019. The program, which ran fortnightly for six months at UWA from October 2019 to March 2020 and featured both classroom sessions and two open forums, is co-funded by the UWA Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education, the WA Government Department of Communities, AfREC and OACWA.
Minister McGurk returned to deliver the keynote address for International Women’s Day 2020 and to present the graduating A-LEAD class with their certificates. From the OACWA Executive Committee came addresses by Dr Casty Nyaga, Vice-President (Administration) and A-LEAD Program Convenor, Ms Elizabeth Lang, Vice-President (Organisation), Ms Marie-Claire Evenor, Director Women’s Department, and Ms Salome Mbenjele, Secretary, Women’s Department.
The Graduation Address was given by A-LEAD participant Maseni Ilunga, Treasurer of the Congolese community in WA, while A-LEAD participant Lisbeth Commissao, President of the Mozambican community in WA, gave the vote of thanks.
The University of Western Australia’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Jane den Hollander, who was born in Africa and was unable to attend the gala, was represented by AfREC Director Dr David Mickler who spoke on her behalf, while AfREC Associate Directors Dr Dominic Dagbanja (Community Engagement) and Dr Barbara Nattabi (Student Engagement), also attended.
The inaugural graduates continue on with an A-LEAD mentoring program, which includes several UWA academic staff as mentors. The initial mentoring project is the collective production and publication of an edited book featuring co-authored chapter contributions from the A-LEAD participants. The chapters will cover the respective session themes of the A-LEAD program: Communication; The Principles of Ethical Leadership; Understanding Community Leadership & Capacity Building; Conflict Resolution (open forum); Networking; Project Management; Event Management; Emotional Intelligence (open forum); and Financial Planning & Management. Recruitment for the second A-LEAD program (2020-21) has also been undertaken and the next iteration will commence at UWA in October 2020.
A big congratulations from UWA AfREC to the inaugural 22 graduates of the A-LEAD Program (2019-20):
Rev Martha Adau Kongor
Rose Violet Arrey
Askale Abebe Shiferaw
Adeng Reec Ajang