The second of our 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa: thoughtfully used in context, technology can change lives. And because leadership development happens best in the context of relationships, our mobile video trainings leverage the convenient digital platform yet still allow for deep insight through conversation and reflection.

View our previous big idea >>



Contextualized Mobile Video: An Undiluted Solution

Smartphones are everywhere when you walk through the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

So we thought, why not use this momentum to develop the next generation of young women leaders?

But here’s the thing, we’ve got some constraints:

  • Data is slow. We may have a significant number of smartphones here in East Africa, but data transfer is slow and prohibitively expensive for many people. This means most people share videos, music, and media via Bluetooth transfers instead of YouTube.
  • Language and culture can be barriers. While there’s plenty of good leadership content out there, it’s often Western-centric and out of touch for someone like a young Ethiopian woman.
  • Training is inaccessible. Not everyone can make it to a 5-day workshop in a nice hotel. Even with training-of-trainer models, there’s a significant dilution of the content and reduction of effectiveness.

We wanted to offer training that took advantage of the digital platform, yet still allowed for deep insight through conversation and reflection, because leadership development happens best in the context of relationships.

Smartphone being used to deliver leadership development video training to young women in Ethiopia

Photo by Aaron White

So, we recently piloted a series of 10 modular, contextualized videos that resonate deeply with young university women in Ethiopia. The “Design Your Life” series is an online video course built on an updated version of our Leadership Essentials content, but includes important new modules specific to young women, such as relationships and confidence-building.

Most importantly, it’s not a lecture. Three young Ethiopian women talk through the content together, offering different perspectives, stories, and the application of these modules to their lives.

Young women can share these files digitally by Bluetooth or via micro-SD cards. Created for small groups, 3-4 young women watch each module, fill out a portion of the workbook PDF, and talk through the questions together.

Our curriculum is designed to help young women make lasting changes. When they start to experience a deep sense of meaning, it affects their family, friends, and hopefully their community.

Because there is nothing more powerful than a young woman in Africa who is living a meaningful life.

Questions for Further Reflection:

  • What role does technology play in leadership development and minority empowerment?
  • How has technology contributed to your development of purpose and meaning?

Tell us your big ideas in the comments.

<< Our previous big idea | More to come!

Leadership Beyond Boundaries - Center for Creative Leadership logoThis series, 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa, was brought to you by CCL’s Ethiopia office and Leadership Beyond Boundaries, an initiative by the Center for Creative Leadership to democratize leadership development and unlock the power of human potential around the globe.

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