Meet Eleni, a young university student who is beginning to find her voice through a long-term mentoring, leadership, and debate club facilitated by CCL. She’s an amazing young woman, representative of the several hundred similar students who are currently in the project.
As a civil engineering student, Eleni participated in one of 6 all-female Leadership & Debate Clubs we launched at universities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in late 2013 with the support of the British Embassy.
The goal? To create a safe, nurturing, dynamic and self-sustaining space in which young women could develop confidence in themselves as individuals and active members of society.
“What I really appreciate about this program is that it is educational, and it’s also entertaining,” Eleni said. “It makes you think about yourself and understand yourself a little better, know your weaknesses and strengths, and work on your limitations. It helps you to understand the ways you can improve yourself.”
The program made Eleni more confident, sociable, and willing to take risks, she said, adding that now she works on her self-improvement daily.
With time and further development, these clubs can ultimately create a culture of leadership and debate among young university women, strengthening the voice and democratic values of an important and yet often overlooked demographic of society.
“When we invest in young women, we are investing in a generation,” Eleni said.
The Leadership & Debate Clubs are just one example of work we do to bring leadership development to underserved populations around the globe, including various efforts specifically designed to empower women and girls. In that sense, Eleni’s story is hardly unique.