Empowering the next generation of women leaders in Kenya and Rwanda in partnership with the Global Give Back Circle.
"People say that very few people are born leaders, but in my gut, I believe I am destined to be a great leader."
Elsy, Form 4 Student, Starehe Girls' Centre and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentee
Evidence shows that women leaders have a positive impact on governance, economic growth, gender equality and inclusive sustainable development. When governments include women as legislators, they are often more sensitive to community needs, prioritizing issues such as education, health, and childcare.
Yet despite representing 49.7% of the global population, women hold only 23.5% of parliamentary seats as of 2017 and have never been the formal head of state in a majority of nations around the world.
"My vision for my country is to see an election where people will vote based on qualities and potential that a leader has to steer the country to greater heights, and not on the basis of their ethnic community, gender or political affiliations."
Riziki, Form 4 Student, Starehe Girls' Centre and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentee
In order for governments to comprehensively represent their electorates, women need an equal voice at the table. The mission of the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) is to ensure that by 2050, 50% of government leadership positions are held by women. By acting as an information hub, working with institutions to achieve gender equality, and inspiring the next generation of women leaders, we are constantly working to make 50x50 a reality.
Guiding the Next Generation of Women Leaders
WPSP has partnered with the Global Give Back Circle (GGBC) – a US based non-profit organization – to empower and mentor at-risk high school girls in Rwanda and Kenya.
"The Global Give Back Circle has created a platform for empowerment, excellence, and diversity. It is our duty, as women, to empower each other and I am grateful to be a part of this movement."
Johanna Papa, PSC Contract Specialist, Macfadden & Associates, USAID – Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor
The project adopts a multifaceted approach through a structured long-distance, one-on-one mentoring model, monthly workshops aimed at inspiring and equipping adolescent girls to become effective and strong leaders, local community support, and an innovative employee engagement program which mobilizes scholarship funding from US corporate partners. In this way the Girls Guiding Government project empowers and equips girls with the skills to become successful public leaders while strengthening the leadership behaviors of the women who mentor them.
"I will always be there to build up [my mentee] and not put her down ... I didn't want her to go through what I experienced for lack of mentoring when I was her age."
Gbemi Kehinde, Project Management Assistant, Peace and Democratic Governance Office, INGO (Abuja) and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor
Together we have matched and nurtured one hundred mentor-mentee relationships where mentors help at-risk adolescent girls in Kenya and Rwanda stay in school, recognize their rights, realize their skills and talents, and equip them with lifelong leadership skills. Mentors, in turn, are able to help train and reinforce their leadership skills.
"When I applied to the Girls Guiding Government Program, I knew that I was going to gain a lot, as I had always been interested in public service."
Esther, Form 4 Student, Starehe Girls' Centre and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentee
Such a program is particularly important in developing countries where only 39 percent of girls finish junior high school, despite enrolling in primary school at rates as high as 87 percent. Through workshops focusing on resilience, influencing others, listening, collaboration, and network building, girls are not just given a role model but are taught to learn and apply leadership skills to their everyday lives.
A Cycle of Leadership
The Girls Guiding Government mentorship model impacts two groups of beneficiaries: the girls (mentees) and their mentors who also grow through the journey of mentoring.
"I wish I could inspire my mentee as much as she inspires me."
Kateryna Busol, Legal Associate, Global Rights Compliance and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor
Mentors help guide and equip the next generation of changemakers with the confidence, ability, and resources to pursue and succeed in political leadership and become the mentors of the next generation. The girls are then encouraged to practice and positively implement their newfound skills through weekly community give back activities in the areas of WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), Health, Education, the Environment, and Women & Girls.
"I look forward to my bi-weekly letters from my mentee with as much anticipation as I do letters from close friends or pen pals of childhood"
Donna Stauffer, USAID Contractor - Senior Advisor, Foreign Service Center (FSC), USAID and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor
Through the practice of mentoring, the mentors are able to reinforce five core signifiers of leadership behavior; role modeling, people development, providing intellectual stimulation, facilitating efficient communication and being inspirational.
Many mentors are also able to engage in a new age of corporate social responsibility, if they work for companies that have corporate giving programs that matches employee volunteer hours with dollars. This gives mentors the freedom to turn ‘mentoring time’ into scholarship funding to offset the cost of their mentee’s education. Such a program is not only extremely rewarding for mentors, but valuable for companies who benefit from a more engaged group of employees, committed to social responsibility while strengthening their leadership skills.
"I was glad to be able to offer [my mentee] encouragement. I feel as if I got to know her family as well, and I share their pride in her graduation."
Philippa Strum, Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Professor Emerita, City University of New York and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor
Research indicates that companies with engaged employees have the ability to outperform those who do not have such a program by up to 202%. Thus, such a program has the unique ability to produce and sustain a mutually beneficial ecosystem where mentors, mentees, and companies benefit while coming together and helping us reach 50x50 ahead of schedule.
Through mentorship, girls like Faith, who fled her village to escape female genital mutilation and forced marriage, are enrolled in GGBC, matched with a mentor and empowered to complete high school and access resources to become economically empowered.After being matched with Laura, a mentor from Microsoft, Faith has been able to attend college and has since gained the recognition of former First Lady Michelle Obama in her 2016 World Bank Summit speech. She is now on a path to graduate from Eldoret Technical Training Institute with a Diploma in Community Health and Development.
One Step Closer to Global Parity
"My experience as a mentor has been extremely positive and I strongly encourage any woman who is interested in making a positive difference in an adolescent young lady's life to become a mentor."
Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, Finance, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor
Through the Girls Guiding Government project, WPSP and GGBC nurture a cross-generational network that will mentor, inspire, and lead for years to come. The cyclical leadership model accelerates progress toward gender parity by empowering both existing and emerging leaders to engage in the global effort toward gender parity and make the 50x50 vision a reality.
"Bravo to the Wilson Center [Women in Public Service Project] and Global Give Back Circle, I am sure with guidance to the girls at an early age through their educational path, we shall achieve 50x50 women in public service by 2050."
Hon. Violet Akurut Adome, Member of Parliament, Uganda and Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Mentor