The sixth of our 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa: include those with differing abilities, because all deserve the chance to reach their full potential. Life is difficult enough for girls in a place like Ethiopia. However, for young women with functional limitations, life is exponentially more challenging, as they face huge social stigmas and discrimination. Through our work as the youth leadership provider for a large US government-funded grant, we will reach at least 20,000 youth in Ethiopia. If intentional inclusion of typically excluded communities can help remove barriers to personal development and mentoring, then we’re one step closer to empowering leadership that can change a society.
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Reducing Barriers for Personal Development
Life is pretty difficult for girls and young women in a place like Ethiopia. However, if you are a young woman or girl with functional limitations, life is exponentially more challenging. The stats are quite depressing, really.
Youth, and especially girls with differing abilities, are often excluded from their rightful access to health care services, education, and social services. They face huge social stigmas and discrimination.
When providing leadership development solutions like mentoring, training, and curriculum development, we need to intentionally figure out how to include youth with differing abilities. It’s both a design challenge and an opportunity to lead.
Through our work as the youth leadership provider for a large U.S. government-funded grant, we will reach at least 20,000 youth in Ethiopia. We have to be intentional in our inclusion of girls with differing abilities—all youth deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.
To reach this goal, we’ve modified our approach to promote the inclusion of girls with differing abilities in all aspects of life, rather than one that focuses on their impairments.
Disability comes from the interaction between people with a health condition and their environment (people, beliefs, social structures, physical, etc.). If intentional inclusion of girls in personal development and mentoring can help remove environmental barriers, then we’re one step closer to empowering leadership that can change a society.
Questions for Further Reflection:
- Was there ever a time where you did not feel included?
- Why is it important for all youth to receive the opportunity to achieve their full potential?
- Why is it important to include excluded individuals and communities?
Tell us your big ideas in the comments.
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This 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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