Tuesday, 28 February 2017 12:05

EASUN strengthens CSO board leadership

In 26 July 2016 EASUN trained 15 (9 women, 6men) board members and directors of 9 civil society organizations from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Participants major learning on transformational and ethical leadership were highlighted. 

Ethical leadership is purposeful

Board members and CSO directors attending EASUN’s board training sensitization workshop expressed their new recognition of the meaning of being purposeful leaders. They shared an insight that captured the real meaning toward being a purposeful CSO board, i.e., “Explicitly define the organization’s agenda for existence and develop organizational capacities to fulfill that purpose and track progress so as to meet specific needs related to managing the stated purpose.”

Understanding the difference between "purpose" and "purposing" proved to carry great implications for board leadership and their role in the identity management of their organizations. The trained board members defined organizational identity as: "Values, ethics and goals working in the same direction, and normally enshrined in an organization’s vision and mission statements"

Identity management, on the other hand, was characterized as: “safeguarding who we are and what we believe in: This was expounded as follows: “Identity management is how you maintain your leading image and sustain it, ensuring its visibility, to influence how others perceive you."

New learning about ethical leadership expressed

The trained board members expressed their new learning that how you use power is a mark of your leadership--which, in the end may be perceived to be either ethical or unethical, transformational or self-serving.” Noted:

EASUN coached 4 programme staff of a CBO (UZIKWASA) based in Pangani District, Tanzania, to train local community leaders in transformational leadership skills (“uongozi wa mguso”). Testimonies documented below were gathered in follow-up coaching sessions for the trained leaders in Mwembeni and Pangani East villages.

Trained leaders speak out

Mwembeni Village: 14th August 2014

“I initiated a camp for class 7 students to stay over in school during exam times, toward their better performance in national examinations.” (Primary school teacher);
“I added the number of people I visit and support by 50% within two months after the training.” (Volunteer health officer and counselor of people living with HIV);
“Through improved listening skills we have minimized divisions based on religious or political party grounds that were rife in the village before the training.” (Village leader);
“Improved listening skills (listening at 3 levels) has enabled me to “let go” of my old argumentative behavior. I now give more room to community members to express their views without judging them. I am committing much of my leadership time now to create awareness and minimize unfounded fears that have tended to undermine community aspirations and productivity”. (Community leader);
“I have developed confidence that now allows me to speak in public, at the levels of family and larger groups of people.” (Woman village committee member).


Listening skills have minimized divisions

based on religion and politics


Pangani East village: 15th August 2014

“We created new awareness and convinced one particular family to allow their young daughter to continue with school instead of getting married at 14 years of age.” (two women school teachers);
“I have developed a new practice of sitting together with my children, listen to their needs and more actively support in their school work.” (male community member);
“I have taken extra steps to help 32 elderly people to access medicare support from government facilities.” (village legal officer);
“I have improved my responsiveness to village members’ expressed needs, which has increased people’s confidence in the village government.” (village leader);
“There is now increased awareness by community members regarding the importance of reconciliation, peace-making and respect for women and men striving together for the development of the community.” (village leader). 



Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:05

Young women developed to become change leaders

EASUN has managed an internship program for young women leaders since 2009. By 2013, four (4) young women (ages 25-30) from Tanzania and Kenya had participated in the internship and emerged to occupy strategic leadership positions in the context of civil society development activities in the East African region.

The overall objective of the internship is to strengthen both the substance and perception of women’s leadership in East Africa, as well as transform overall leadership styles towards more facilitative and transformational qualities. After completion of their internship within EASUN, the young women leaders will have a chance to provide leadership in civil society organizational and project settings; where organizational learning and inclusive, team-based participative processes and structures can easily be piloted, documented and replicated.

The internship is creating possibilities for women to lead and facilitate the development of others from a young age. This is a significant departure from the usual pattern of male dominated leadership situations that are failing to offer leadership orientations to the youth. Training young women is a key strategic intervention by EASUN in a context that is experiencing a general erosion of democratic leadership.

New intern from Uganda

Akampurira Busingye joined EASUN’s internship progtamme in August 2014, for a two-year duration. Her leadership vision is to see the emergence of participatory communities that are consciously managing and sustaining just, peaceful and equitable relations.

Akampurira stated her personal leadership vision and mission during her first formal coaching session at EASUN, on 16th December 2014.

 Akampurira’s personal leadership mission

“Diligently build my capacity to impact on society positively by transforming people’s ability to deal with their structural and emerging development questions and challenges.”


Structural questions
Through further conversations with her listening partner at EASUN, Akampurira clarified what she meant by structural questions as “behaviours and attitudes shaped by lack of awareness, which often lead to exploitation of specific groups of people often endure because they are rationalized as a basis for maintaining harmony or peace—although not necessarily with justice as a pre-condition.

Development questions
Similarly, she explained emerging development questions as issues that remain un-resolved or stuck, over time, and are often glossed over on the pretext of prevailing culture or procedures. Such development questions require transformative learning, i.e, deep level changes in information being provided or ways of thinking and assumptions about specific situations.

Akampurira’s expressed new learning from the first coaching session pointed to the question of values and the courage to scrutinize them as the foundation of transformational leadership; noting that her own vision statement carried a clear set of values: “The coaching enabled me to measure my commitment to personal development as a change leader.” The mental models and feelings that drive me as an individual have been brought to the surface for me to examine with greater openness.”

Vision and mission, being statements of purpose, are the core of any strategy. This was, therefore, a key starting point for planning and implementation of values-based leadership for the “young woman leader” from Uganda.