The EJS Center’s mission to champion women’s ascension to the highest levels of leadership across Africa continues with renewed vigor in 2023 with the inauguration of the 2023 Amujae Leaders.
A distinguished group of African women, the Amujae Leaders have been pushing boundaries in their pursuit of leadership in all spheres of life on the continent. With 12 new women leaders joining this year, the Amujae Initiative is expanding its network of accomplished women who are inspired and prepared to excel as top public leaders in Africa.
Taking part in their first Amujae Leadership Forum, the 2023 Amujae Leaders joined Amujae coaches including former Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, and Catherine Samba-Panza, in a series of workshops and discussions in Nairobi, Kenya. Fellow Amujae Leaders from the first two cohorts Anne Waiguru, Fadzayi Mahere, Yawa Hansen-Quao, and Umra Omar also joined in welcoming the 2023 Amujae Leaders to the sisterhood.
The forum’s activities centered on the crucial contribution that women’s leadership brings to advancing equity in their communities, nations, and the continent as a whole. It also provided an opportunity to reflect on the Amujae Leaders’ individual journeys as public leaders, and to benefit from the guidance and experience of the Amujae coaches in tackling the challenges of leadership.
In a session entitled ‘Intentionality: Purposing to go all the way,’ the Amujae coaches opened up about their own vulnerabilities and the obstacles they faced throughout their leadership journeys. This frank discussion encouraged the new cohort to reflect on the difficulties they encounter as public leaders and to meaningfully engage with one another.
Addressing the 2023 Amujae Leaders, Madam Sirleaf encouraged them to move forward with confidence and strive to become role models who are “respected and admired for their integrity, for their passion, for their support.”
She also emphasized the importance of building on the support provided by the Amujae Initiative, including the experiences of the growing network of Amujae Leaders and the unique mentorship provided by the Amujae coaches:
“We come today to join each other in sharing those experiences so that when we leave from here our [leadership] capacity has expanded.”
Assessing the discussions and workshops that took place at the forum, 2023 Amjuae Leader Fatou Jagne Senghore noted the transformative impact they had on her own perception of leadership:
“I think this is an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to sit with these great leaders for two consecutive days. The sessions were ground-breaking in the sense that they pushed us to really think of our plans seriously and start looking at how to forge a way ahead in terms of what we want to do.”
Following the conclusion of the Amujae Leadership Forum, the 2023 Amujae Leaders took part in a special side event during the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Ibrahim Governance Weekend. Madam Sirleaf introduced the 2023 Amujae Leaders and highlighted the importance of the network of support and mentorship that the Amujae Initiative offers them. In turn, the 2023 Amujae Leaders shared their first impressions of this new, uplifting experience. Joining the Amujae sisterhood of ambitious and visionary leaders, they said, will undoubtedly propel them to new and higher levels of leadership.
The side event also included interventions by EJS Center Executive Director, Board Secretary, and 2020 Amujae Leader Oley Dibba-Wadda, as well as African leaders who play a crucial role in supporting women’s participation in public leadership.
Watch highlights from the 2023 Amujae Leadership Forum in Nairobi here.