Disadvantaged street children in EthiopiaWhat would the world look like if all people had access to leadership development?

“That’s the driving question that keeps me going with our work,” says CCL’s Joel Wright. “We are gaining the experience and evidence that suggest things would be very different.”

Wright, as Early Leadership Development director, and a growing group of CCL faculty and staff, partners and volunteers are pursuing the goal to make leadership development more affordable and accessible in the world.

Through our Leadership Beyond Boundaries (LBB) initiatives, CCL is bringing leadership development to groups as diverse as young people living in India’s slums, orphans in Uganda, entrepreneurs in Brazil, public health workers in the Caribbean and high school students in the U.S. An array of LBB programs and tools has been shared with more than 50,000 people in 20 countries across five continents since 2006.

In Africa, much of LBB’s work is done in partnership with NGOs and other large institutions working to solve problems and build capacity in developing areas. As a result, people from rural villages and urban centers alike are seeing each other — and their challenges — in new ways.

  • In isolated Gambella, Ethiopia, women are finding new roles as mentors and managers.
  • After a program for youth in Nairobi, Kenya, students went from believing ‘I come from a slum, nothing good can come from a slum,’ to believing they could do better.
  • A recent two-day training served 48 street children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — 15 more than planned. These “extra” kids heard about what was going on and decided they needed to find a way to go. Even though they had almost no material possessions, they paid their own bus fare to make sure they did not miss a chance to learn. And they took it all in: “This training showed me the right direction for my future,” said one.

LBB teams in Africa have also worked to develop leadership capacity of women in Libya; pastoral elders and parents in remote Afar, Ethiopia; managers and staff with the United Nations Development Program-Ethiopia; and volunteers with Peace Corps-Ethiopia.

“What each of these groups has in common is an ability to absorb enormous amounts of leadership knowledge in a short time and make powerful connections to their everyday work and life,” says Steadman Harrison, director of CCL’s Africa operations based in Addis Ababa.

Learn about more ways CCL is Expanding the Leadership Equation in “5 Big Ideas: What’s Next for Leadership Development” and read stories on the Leadership Beyond Boundaries section of our blog.

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