The ninth of our 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa: goats (and mentoring) can build livelihoods; while livelihoods (and leadership training) build self-reliance. In combination, the outcomes of leadership development and the outcomes of improved livelihoods have a multiplying effect that can transform people’s lives.

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Goats & Stuff to Build Livelihoods

Idea #9: Mentoring (and goats) builds livelihoods

Photo by Aaron White

Goats = Tails up. Sheep = Tails down.

In case you didn’t know, that’s an easy way to tell the difference between a goat and a sheep. Goats are great assets and add income to rural households in East Africa. But what could this possibly have to do with leadership?

Well, it’s all about livelihoods.

In East Africa, better livelihoods mean an improved standard of living. If people (and especially women and youth here in Africa) are able to improve their household economy, it not only makes them more likely to gain access to education and healthcare, it also strengthens their ability to set their own direction and have a voice.

In practical terms, we combine livelihoods with leadership development and mentoring by working through partners in government, NGOs, and the U.N. We take what we know about leadership and combine this with their work in poverty reduction.

The outcomes of leadership development—greater self-awareness, agency, ability to deal with change—and the outcomes of improved livelihoods—better farming practices, adoption of new behaviors—have a multiplying effect in combination.

Think about it. If a young woman farmer has more confidence and self-awareness from ongoing mentoring, she’s going to be more open to using a new farming practice such as irrigation. If the risk pays off, she’s going to have more confidence. And if the risk doesn’t work out, she’s still able to learn from the failure and bounce back, with the support of her mentor.

Questions for Further Reflection:

  • What kind of mentors have helped supported you to where you are today?
  • What kind of assets and resources do you have that others may not?

Tell us your big ideas in the comments.

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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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