This week, three WISER students and three teachers are in Nairobi for the East African Girls Leadership Summit (EAGLS) along with dozens of other women and girls invited from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
EAGLS is part of a long-term initiative by AMPLIFY and the Creative Action Institute to cultivate a multi-generational network of young women leaders across East Africa through innovative leadership and empowerment. WISER girls attending the summit learn new skills and meet girls with new perspectives before coming back to WISER, inspired to lead change in their own community.
WISER’s faculty attending the summit have been overjoyed with their experience so far. Following a mentor training, WISER teacher Nipher summed it up best by saying, “I went as a teacher. I came back as a facilitator.” Her colleague, Mouryne, agreed: “I came back transformed.”
After an initial training in August, Nipher and Mouryne were quick to share what they’d learned with the WISER girls — not just by directly sharing their knowledge with our 150 students, but by training WISER peer counselors to lead empowerment sessions for all students in a more hands-on peer-mentoring setting.
As Teacher Mouryne said, “If you accept yourself and people around you tell you positive things, you’ll go out there and do the best you can do.” EAGLS, she says, “is making girls realize that they have the potential of being the best they can be as leaders and as individuals.”
During the EAGLS activities in Nairobi this week, girls learn about the ways uniqueness can be strength and a value – that we can all lead in our own unique ways. And WISER’s three student attendees – Hillary (incoming Form 2), Leila (incoming Form 3), and Linah (incoming Form 4) – are learning to do just that. Over the past few days, they’ve been exploring girls’ human rights through dance, theater, music, painting, and other forms of creative expression. They’re developing leadership skills, bonding with fellow future African women leaders, and learning from women leaders working in business and social change.
Hillary, Leila, and Linah will return to WISER’s campus in January inspired to share their new knowledge with others and to lead change at school and in their communities. They’re looking forward to empowering girls and boys in surrounding schools and churches by leading empowerment workshops using the skills and knowledge they’re learning at EAGLS. Teachers Nipher, Mouryne, and Pauline will return to campus with a renewed inspiration for mentorship and creative ideas for supporting emerging leaders. With ongoing mentor support and tools from EAGLS, WISER girls and teachers will continue to grow into active community leaders. We can’t wait to follow along with their creative leadership this year!