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International development

Strengthening women's leadership: Training programs with an impact!

September 3, 2020

The economic empowerment of women depends in large part on their ability to exercise their leadership. This is why Développement international Desjardins (DID) works with its partners to design and deploy training programs specifically on the key theme of women's leadership.

In Benin, the ADAPAMI project team has partnered with the Alafia Consortium (the professional association of microfinance institutions of Benin) to develop and disseminate a training program for the female employees and elected leaders of the 10 microfinance institutions that are partners in the project. To date, 433 women participated in the program, including 371 staff and 62 elected leaders. Together with other women leaders, they explored the qualities that make good leaders, the obstacles to overcome in order to fully exercise their leadership and the ways to achieve it, as well as the steps to take in order to develop a concrete action plan.

Yvette Nina Ahouansou, a cashier at UNACREP (Union Nationale des Caisses Rurales d'Épargne et de Prêt), is one of these women. "This training allowed me to discover the potential that lies within me. The knowledge I acquired will help me better organize myself in my working life, broaden my skills, overcome my shyness and communicate more effectively. It has given me a lot more confidence than I had before. I plan to raise awareness among my peers on the importance of exercising our leadership and integrating ourselves into decision-making bodies, despite the challenges that this may entail!"

In Tunisia, the training on women's leadership, launched last June by the Entrepreneur Financial Center (EFC) of Tunisia among its clients, has also been a great success. Made up of 3 modules focused on the innovative capacity of women entrepreneurs and their resilience in the context of the health crisis, this training took place over a period of 3 weeks and was completed by 169 women. Much of the training was offered in face-to-face mode, which greatly facilitated the sharing of experiences among participants. However, due to a lockdown in one southern region, the organizers held the final session online, via WhatsApp.

The overall satisfaction rate for this training was 93%. The WhatsApp session had a satisfaction rate of 87%, and 72% of participants requested that further training sessions be offered through this channel.

The women's leadership training offered by the EFC of Tunisia was the subject of an impact evaluation conducted in collaboration with HEC Montréal. The results will inspire DID and the EFC to scale up this training in the coming months.