At Zawadisha, we don't believe in teaching leadership. We believe in living it and practicing it. Many of the women we work with have already been recognized for their leadership abilities by being appointed the chairladies of their savings groups, for example. What they lack are additional opportunities to practice their skills, and we aim to change that.
One way we do this is by supporting our leaders to develop different guidelines around how loans are repaid (as a group or individually), account for payments, structure their monthly meetings (a common practice with savings groups and a requirement for participation in Zawadisha), and manage those who are struggling to repay. We also involve the leaders of our groups as decision-makers in our organization. Through facilitated mentorship and exploring shared experiences, our leaders work together to develop our organizational policies and advise us on the most pressing needs of the women they work with.
Finally, women who have been selected for their achievement in their communities are invited to participate in annual retreats, exploring topics such as appreciate inquiry, resilience thinking, and organizational leadership. These workshops build on existing leadership skills and create meaningful engagement in Zawadisha.
We believe that Africa is rich with leaders. It's not our job to create them, but rather it is our duty to involve them in every aspect of our work, and we have found tremendous success in doing so.