By: Patricia Ngwale
Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in agriculture (RUFORUM) and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) organized a four-day leadership training for female mid-level and senior managers from government departments, public universities and other statutory corporations.
The training which took place in Lilongwe at Ufulu Gardens from 19th to 22nd June 2017 saw 35 participants being equipped with critical factors for women’s professional growth and advancement which include time management, hard work and determination, balancing reproductive and productive roles, personal advancement in education and training, resourcefulness, networking with positive colleagues and deliver with merit and professional touch among others.
Speaking during the opening of the event, Chief Director in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mrs. Chimwemwe Banda hailed RUFORUM and AWARD for the initiative saying the training will strengthen the leadership roles of these mid-career women professionals.
“The course will also strengthen institutions by providing role model leadership based on core values of inclusiveness, performance, transparency, integrity and efficiency,” said Mrs. Banda.
She added that the initiative is in line with the policies of the Malawi government to achieve gender equality and increase the numbers of women in decision making positions at all the levels.
The Chief Director however recognized the challenges that women in leadership and management face citing lack of confidence, cultural beliefs that value men`s leadership and devalue women`s leadership and lack of support from fellow women among others.
In his remarks LUANAR Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda, said the training will provide the participants with the tools necessary to become efficient and effective women leaders and mentors.
“This training programme will be critically important to increasing the proportion of women in leadership roles and positioning them for success,” said Professor Kaunda.
He said it is also important to consider the role of culture and cultural changes needed saying a male dominated society is based on a paternalistic culture.
“Such a culture is not very conducive for the development of women leadership in whatever setting. This is something that the women participating in this training programmes can deliberate on and make recommendations to their respective organizations and future training programmes,” he said.
Professor Kaunda commended RUFORUM and AWARD for providing financial and technical expertise for the workshop saying the training will add practical value to the participating universities, ministries, departments and the other statutory corporations.
According to Pauline Bomett, Senior Manager, Leadership and Training at AWARD the training was designed to specifically address the challenges and opportunities of senior women.
“It aims to reinforce their leadership and managerial effectiveness by building skills for teamwork, conflict management, creating alliances, and leveraging diversity for good research and business results,” said Bomett.
She said the training will also help to build a rich network of women professionals in the country who can benefit from better information exchange and professional support.
Locally the training was hosted by LUANAR and the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.