The VVLead Fellowship: A Programmatic Approach to Women's Leadership

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THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP A PROGRAMMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP THERE IS WIDE EVIDENCE THAT INVESTING IN WOMEN IS GOOD FOR COUNTRIES’ ECONOMIC GROWTH AND REPRESENTS EXCELLENT RETURN ON INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL, EDUCATIONAL AND ECONOMIC TERMS. Numerous studies are beginning to explore the unique benefit of investing specifically in women leaders, as they are more likely to inspire and mentor others, improve their own lives and the lives of others in their communities and serve as role models for younger women.

In 2013, Vital Voices Global Partnership, with funding from the UK government’s Department of International Development established the VVLead Fellowship Program to support a global network of emerging and established women leaders who are addressing challenges and providing innovative and sustainable solutions to ensure full participation in society and the economy. The VVLead Fellowship Program has offered a tailored fellowship experience designed to fit the needs, goals and objectives of women leaders around the world.

A VARIETY OF PROGRAM ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED THE PROGRAM PILLARS:

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THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM OFFERINGS WERE DESIGNED IN DIRECT RESPONSE TO FELLOWS’ SELF-IDENTIFIED CAPACITY-BUILDING NEEDS. Each program offering aimed to provide fellows the most relevant, innovative and accessible tools and information available. Using a blended learning model, VVLead has offered online opportunities on the Desire2Learn (D2L) platform, in-person opportunities in the various countries where fellows are represented and matching grants to support fellows’ work in their respective communities.

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM OFFERINGS ONLINE COURSES

PEER-TO-PEER EXCHANGES

SOUTH-SOUTH EXCHANGES

VVLead online courses were hosted on the Desire2Learn (D2L) platform. Throughout the three-year fellowship, subject matter experts led online training on over a dozen course subjects on the D2L platform. The interactive nature of the D2L provided fellows with a toolbox of resources, ideas, connections and support that could be tapped into instantly from anywhere in the world.

Peer-to-Peer Exchanges (P2P) brought together a carefully curated group of 8-12 VVLead fellows for fellowled technical training, knowledge sharing and resource sharing. Each four-day program included a site visit to a participating fellow’s place of work. These site visits evoked deeper discussions in which fellows could openly share best practices, challenges and potential solutions in their leadership journeys.

The annual South-South Exchange brought together a large group of 50 to 80 of the most active VVLead fellows for trainer-led and fellow-led resource sharing, knowledge sharing and technical training. The program allowed fellows across countries and regions to meet in person and build upon connections formed online.

Challenge Grants were short-term, one-time matching grants designed to support the launch and kick-start of new and innovative initiatives for which fellows may not have previously had the resources to support.

CHALLENGE GRANTS

Throughout the three-year fellowship, VVLead offered four Challenge Grant opportunities: Two opportunities to receive matching funds to organize a mentoring walk (up to $1,000 per grant), one opportunity to receive matching funds for a social and behavior change communications initiative (up to $5,000 per grant), and one opportunity to receive matching funds for a technology-based solution (up to $9,000 per grant). All fellows who applied and received Challenge Grants were required to match a percentage of the funds they received from the Challenge Grant.

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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VVLEAD FELLOWS

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LEADERS ENGAGED IN CREATING LASTING CHANGE

VITAL VOICES INVESTS IN WOMEN LEADERS WHO IMPROVE THE WORLD. WE INVEST IN LEADERS BECAUSE THEY TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO IMPROVE SOCIETIES. The VVLead Fellowship Program has supported a global network of emerging and established women leaders from developing and emerging economies all over the world.

330 75

Fellows differed in language, age and professional background, including nonprofit, corporate, social enterprise, public office, media outlets and others.

Throughout the three-year fellowship,

This heterogeneity has been one of the distinctive, unique features of the program.

Vital Voices has trained 330 fellows from

Fellows reported having highly benefited from the diversity of the program, as it enables

75 countries and five continents.

out of the box thinking, meaningful collaboration and holistic leadership mentoring.

“The mosaic of participants

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complemented each other beautifully to draw deep, long-lasting connections and impact [together].” – XIOMARA DIAZ

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FELLOWS FROM LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

NICARAGUA

3

FELLOWS FROM THE PACIFIC ISLANDS

FELLOWS FROM EASTERN EUROPE

199

FELLOWS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

FELLOWS FROM AFRICA

56

FELLOWS FROM ASIA

What fellows share is the ability to guide and inspire others, the desire to enhance their leadership skills and a demonstrated commitment to tackling issues related to three main areas: economic empowerment for women and girls, violence against women and harmful cultural practices.

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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VVLEAD FELLOWS AT A GLANCE

SOPHIE OTIENDE – KENYA Sophie works with poor and marginalized grassroots groups in the slums of Nairobi. As a child, she survived human trafficking, an experience that drove her to support young girls and women in the effort to end modern slavery in Kenya. She works for Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART), where, among other things, she coordinated the biggest rescue operation in the history of the organization, managing the return of 31 trafficked women from Libya.

“After working on the strategic plan [VVLead Strategic Planning course], we have managed to almost triple our funding from last year. Just last week, we managed to get a huge grant that will allow us to work on a manual for child trafficking. Our arts project was a huge success and we are planning for next year and we already have partners for that. I have learned so much and the knowledge has transformed the way we operate the organization.”

MARÍA GONZALEZ – MEXICO María has always been interested in creative arts. During her university studies, María realized that media work should be an act of social responsibility. In 2009, after having successful and instructive collaborations in different varieties of media, María co-founded Math2me.com, a website that provides math videos and explanations to students of all grades in Mexico. In 2012, she founded Math2meTV, a TV show that broadcasts the videos from math2me.com for audiences with no internet access.

“I have been involved with financial trainings about business. It has a methodology that is very rigid and strict. Basically, all of these [other] organizations are the same. The difference with VVLead, they are taking into consideration the personal side...If you know about your business and your technical information [but] you are not really solid or focused or in balance, there is going to be something missing. There will be a flaw or failure because you are not prepared.”

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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VVLEAD FELLOWS AT A GLANCE

PATRALEKHA CHATTERJEE – INDIA A journalist with two decades of experience, Patralekha has reported from dozens of countries for Indian and international media on social and development issues. Her columns are among the very few in India which consistently focus on issues impacting women’s rights and empowerment. Recently, Patralekha has drawn public attention to female feticide, rape and marginalization of women.

“Being part of this international network of women leaders working in diverse disciplines is extremely empowering […] Belonging to the VVLead network is encouraging and it has influenced my leadership style by helping me stay focused on my driving mission all the time. […] As a VVLead Fellow, I feel encouraged and inspired by interactions with my colleagues during webinars and on social media platforms.”

SHAREEFA FADHEL – QATAR Shareefa is an entrepreneur with a history of pioneering new programs for women in Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council. She is the co-founder of the Roudha Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a nonprofit providing innovative programs and advocacy for women looking to open or grow their businesses. She also works directly with organizations and companies to advocate for women’s economic development, and provide marketing and business development consulting. “Being part of this fellowship has helped me understand my strength as a leader and the support and influence I have among other women and how that could help them grow as well as help me grow myself…My boundaries are not my country, my boundaries are not where I come from. My boundaries are every other woman that I can help and support.”

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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THE POWER OF AN INTERNATIONAL ALL FEMALE NETWORK

THROUGHOUT THE THREE YEARS OF THE PROGRAM, VVLEAD HAS FACILITATED CONNECTIONS AMONG WOMEN LEADERS AROUND THE WORLD. “When I reflect on my VVLead

The program has provided fellows with multiple ways to get to know each other and develop connections. Through online and in-person program offerings, in tandem with social networking platforms, fellows have bonded over common challenges and passions and shared best practices as it relates to improving the social, economic and political conditions for women and girls.

experience I think of the African proverb, ‘if you want to go quickly, go alone and if you want to go farther, go together.’ So I felt that being in this atmosphere of [other

Fellows consistently mentioned the inspiration they receive from being part of a non-

women] gave me the knowledge

competitive, supportive network of women, helping each other achieve their personal

and courage to involve my

and professional leadership goals.

community in what I’m doing so

Through VVLead, a sisterhood was created, fellows were validated as leaders, professional

we can move forward and achieve

goals and action steps were clearly defined, and fellows took action toward achieving

what we want.”

greater impact in their communities. These specific aspects of the VVLead Fellowship have been studied and described in the practice note Stories of Impact: The Case for Women’s Leadership Networks.

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

– Jawida Mansour, Palestine

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“I think the international perspective is really useful because you are able to understand a different approach to how it’s done in literally every conceivable country. You are probably bound to find somebody who has an opinion or can give you a tip on how it’s done in their country and Since debuting in March 2013, VVLead’s Facebook group has received:

that’s really refreshing because it really challenges you to think beyond your boundaries, country boundaries and continental boundaries, and just have a global vision.”

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– Muthoni Nduhiu, Kenya

Posts

“I’ve got women on the VVLead Platform that are keeping me accountable and checking back with me regarding where I am in my process.”

17,000

– Jacqueline Mathaga, Kenya

Likes on Posts

“Being a VVLead Leader has really opened up the vista of my ideas of leadership because before I thought it was just about getting resources

6,400

Comments on Posts

for my organization and now I realize it’s about relationship building.” – Oreoluwa Somolu, Nigeria

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KNOWLEDGE SHARING AND EXCHANGING BEST PRACTICES

VVLEAD’S IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING INTERVENTIONS WERE VITAL TO THE FELLOWSHIP’S CAPACITY-BUILDING MISSION. The use of an interactive online platform was a cost-effective way to provide learning opportunities for a large number of women. The most active fellows also had the opportunity to engage in at least one in-person training, where they strengthened skills and solidified connections. On the DESIRE2LEARN (D2L) platform, fellows have been able to

core aspects of the VVLead Peer-to-Peer learning model have been

access program resources, get information on new opportunities,

described in VVLead Practice Note: Peer to Peer (P2P) Exchange:

exchange ideas and attend webinars. For fellows with inconsistent

Best Practices for Designing Learning Exchanges.

or limited internet connectivity, every course was stored and easily downloadable on the platform. Over a dozen course subjects

In addition, fifty to eighty of the most active fellows were selected

have been delivered throughout the fellowship by subject matter

every year to attend the annual South-South Exchange. These

experts. Included among these subjects have been: Strategic

programs were carefully designed around the attending fellows.

Planning, Human Resource Management, Financial Management,

These intensive programs aimed at equipping fellows with new

Branding, Monitoring and Evaluation, Social Media Communications

knowledge, tools, connections, strategies and ideas to tackle their

and Fundraising.

personal and professional leadership goals.

To facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices,

In addition, fifty to eighty of the most active fellows were selected

fellows were invited to participate in in-person gatherings designed

every year to attend the annual SOUTH-SOUTH EXCHANGE. These

to foster technical, communication and leadership skills. Each year,

larger gatherings have brought together fellows from all over the

VVLead organized three to four PEER-TO-PEER EXCHANGES during

world to discuss technical issue areas, challenges, best practices

which a small cohort of fellows were hand selected to participate in

and lessons learned, both from their individual work and their

a diverse set of programming opportunities including Vital Voices

participation in the program.

staff-led workshops; fellow-led trainings; networking; and more. The

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

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“The P2P Exchange is an opportunity to stretch your brain and let knowledge in.” – Nicole Joseph-Chin, Trinidad and Tobago

95% In 2015, 95% of VVLead fellows participated in at least one program activity and 85% in at least three program activities.

I think VVLead’s approach is unique. The webinars, the in-person workshops. […] It’s the whole package.” – Judith Awondo, Cameroon

“Webinars and the information I gained from them supported my ideas but also provided framework for

99% According to the results of the 2015 year-end survey, 99% of VVLead fellows reported an increase in capacity relevant to their respective mission and work.

proper organization of my efforts. Also, peer to peer exchanges generated great inspiration and impetus to create a new initiative.” – Ljudmila Popovic, Montenegro

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CREATING SOLUTIONS ACROSS REGIONS AND SECTORS THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE PROGRAM, FELLOWS HAVE CONNECTED, SHARED KNOWLEDGE, RECEIVED TRAINING AND MENTORED ONE ANOTHER. As a result of their participation in VVLead, fellows across regions and sectors have started collaborations with one another.

EMPOWERING GIRLS IN NICARAGUA AND TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

NICOLE AND XIOMARA

NICOLE JOSEPH CHIN of Ms. Brafit, Inc. (Trinidad

at-risk girls from Trinidad and Tobago and

and Tobago) and XIOMARA DIAZ HOPKINS of

Nicaragua. Every Saturday, the girls connect

Garden Café (Nicaragua) met during the Peer-

via Skype to exchange skills, language and

to-Peer Exchange in Argentina. Right away, they

culture. The program, which kicked-off in August

decided to start a collaboration to give girls in their

2015, has both an entrepreneurial and personal

communities an opportunity to learn from one

development focus. Girls learn how to make craft

another. They created the “Beading Exchange

beads to create sustainable employment and are

between Nicaragua and Trinidad” (BENT). BENT,

educated on topics of marketing and sales, but

inspired by the VVLead Peer-to-Peer Exchange

also learn about topics such as feminine health,

model, is an online collaboration that connects

hygiene, life skills and leadership.

“We met in Argentina during the Peer-to-Peer Exchange and the rest is geography! Global sisters speak one language! Our girls in Trinidad and Tobago are engaging in a rich exchange with new sisters in Nicaragua, thanks to Xiomara Diaz Hopkins and her willingness to embrace true sisterhood of empowerment and leadership.” –NICOLE JOSEPH-CHIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

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MAKING CITIES SAFER IN INDIA AND KENYA

JANE AND ELSA

VVLead fellows JANE ANYANGO ODONGO

in public spaces. The platform aggregates data

(Kenya) and ELSAMARIE D’SILVA (India) met at

to highlight hot spots on a map indicating

a Peer-to Peer-Exchange in Nepal and started

trends of sexual harassment. Individuals and

exchanging information, ideas and know-how

local authorities can access this tool to receive

on denouncing and ultimately tackling sexual

information, identify trends and ultimately

violence and harassment in their respective

develop responses and preventative strategies

countries. Jane is the founder and team leader

against sexual violence and harassment.

of Polycom Development Project, a communitybased organization aimed at empowering

In 2015, Elsa and Jane received a VVLead

young women in Kibera (Nairobi) to be able

Challenge Grant. Through this grant, Elsa

to manage their lives positively and develop a

consulted with Jane in developing, adapting

voice to influence policy and decision makers on

and implementing an online platform to monitor

issues that affect the lives of girls. Elsa launched

and respond to sexual harassment in Kenya,

Safecity in 2012, a platform that crowdsources

modeled after Safecity in India.

personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse

“For me, collaboration is the key…I believe the problem is so big – you’re never going to solve it yourself. The more effective collaborations you have, the better it is. If you think of the cohort as a team, in certain places, they have had more experiences than me. I just have to take a back seat and be open to learning. In other places, I have strengths or skills that they don’t have. It is up to me to share it with them.” –ELSAMARIE D’SILVA, INDIA

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THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP

ABOUT VITAL VOICES Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who

AUTHORS: LUCINA DI MECO Senior Program Manager Global Programs Vital Voices Global Partnership

improve the world. Founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and guided by the belief that women are essential to progress in their communities, we partner with leaders from more than 140 countries who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public leadership, and end violence against women. Our programs in strategic planning, business, advocacy and communications build critical skills needed for creating transformational change at scale. Through our global platform, women leaders expand their connections and visibility, accelerating shared progress for all.

JANA SPACEK Senior Program Coordinator Global Programs Vital Voices Global Partnership LAURA THOMPSON Program Coordinator Global Programs Vital Voices Global Partnership ELYSE GAINOR Program Assistant Global Programs Vital Voices Global Partnership

ELIZABETH ANDREWS Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist Global Programs Vital Voices Global Partnership

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We want to extend a special thank you to VVLead fellows. This publication would not have been possible without their feedback, stories, ideas and commitment during their participation years in this fellowship program.

Vital Voices also gracefully acknowledges the support of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID).

THE VVLEAD FELLOWSHIP: A PROGRAMATIC APPROACH TO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP


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