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UNESCO: Gender and leadership

The workshop began with a brief opening ceremony where the team of workshop facilitators, Dr Adelaide Sosseh from the Gambia, Dr Hajo Sani of the…

The workshop began with a brief opening ceremony where the team of workshop facilitators, Dr Adelaide Sosseh from the Gambia, Dr Hajo Sani of the Society for Family Health and Professor Funmi Soetan of Obafemi Awolowo University highlighted the key assignments of the reviewers. A welcome address from the UNESCO Country Representative, Professor Hassana Alidou was read. Participants introduced themselves and stated their objectives for the workshop. They were divided into five groups and allotted one of the modules to work on. The manual is rich and loaded with interesting sessions and a compendium of handouts. It was developed by an international team of experts from Ghana, United States and other West African Countries. Each of the groups reviewed and made adjustments to the manual, adding the Nigerian context to the session plans, facilitators’ notes, methodology, handouts, and case studies.  
At the end of each day, group leaders met with the facilitators to assess progress made on the manual review and challenges being faced by each group.
Group one worked on the Module 1 of the manual which has the theme: Global Cross Cultural Conceptualization of Leadership. It has four sessions. The first one has segments with the following titles: the Conceptual Framework for Leadership and Types of Leadership. Session two explored Leadership skills and underscored the fact that Leadership is not Management. Other sessions were on Gender and Transformative Leadership, Challenges to Gender and Transformative Leadership, Women and Political Participation, Women in Political Participation-Shakers and Movers of the 21st Century. The second module is on Good Governance, Accountability, Transparency and Ethical Leadership. It has sessions on Clarifying the Concepts-Governance, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics, Transparency and Governance, Gender and Frameworks, Norms and Standards. Session three focuses on   Ethical Leadership and it has the following components: Conflicts of Interest and Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships, Ethics and Competition, A New Type of Leadership for Africa, Can African Women Make a Difference?  The third module is titled Understanding the Policy Process and has four sessions: the Policy Making Process, identifying Policy Problems, Formulating Policy Proposal and Evaluation of the sessions to measure the learning curve.
Module four focuses on Transforming Lives-Enhancing Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender Based Violence. It begins with a session on Understanding Concepts and Definitions and dovetails into Building Leadership and Influence for Sexual Reproductive health and Rights and Preventing Gender Based Violence GBV. Others are: Building Leadership and involving Men in Reproductive Health and GBV and Strategies for Building Leadership in advocacy and Community Mobilization for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights. The last module is about Mindset, Coaching, Mentoring, Peer and Inter-Generational Support and has components on: Self Awareness “Ideal Images”, Understanding Gender through Our Mindset, Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring Coaching and Mentoring Techniques and     Peer and Inter-Generational Support At group level, we reviewed and added to the methodologies for session facilitation which included in the manual. Among these are brainstorming, which is used when the facilitator wants to get a lot of information or ideas about a topic in a short time. Another method is using case studies which encourage sharing a learning experience, because they get the participants involved, and encourage immediate use of newly acquired skills. They provide learners with an opportunity to solve a problem by applying what they know while working in groups enhances participation and inclusion for people who feel reluctant to participate in a larger group due to shyness or other reasons. Visualisation in Participatory Programme (VIPP) is also a popular participatory process we use in our trainings. It uses cards of different sizes, colours and shapes to show linkages between ideas and areas of consensus and divergence generated by participants.
Presentations, particularly those made in plenary are meant to educate, inform, inspire and persuade participants. The manual which is focused on transformation underscores the fact that presentations change and influence the opinions, beliefs, or behaviours of the participants. It therefore encourages facilitators to provide inspirational quotes, case studies and other stories that inspire the participants and motivate them to change.
Role-plays are also identified as a good method to illustrate a point or concept because when participants act out a role they imbibe the lessons being reflected in the role play. Story telling which is oral, and using the video, which is visual, are powerful ways of passing on messages. Both are effective for advocacy and awareness creation.
An overview of the manual’s training methodologies shows that ‘the participants themselves are the most important ‘resource’ used in training.  As the participants share their own life stories, experiences of both subjugation and empowerment, their challenges and the achievements in dealing with social and power structures this is built into the into the training material making them both intensely personal and simultaneously building bonds with others in the group.’ The manual is one of the most comprehensive I have seen in recent times.
The groups were asked to critically reviewing the module to determine the compliance with the agreed course outline and course curriculum outline and also assess the adequacy of the proposed sessions to address the theme of each module. The manual’s methodology was participatory but participants were asked to assess the methodology adopted and suggest any additional methodologies that could be used to enhance learning. Other tasks performed by the participants were suitability of the materials listed for facilitation of each session and suggesting other innovative materials where necessary, rewriting of session objectives to make them SMART, reviewing the notes for facilitators to ensure that they were clear, comprehensive and concise to allow easy comprehension and application.
 The strength of a participatory curriculum or manual lies in the type of activities designed to generate ideas from participants and how effective are they for enhancing learning. The activities listed in the document and the handouts were all assessed for their relevance to the session topic.

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