The African Women Leadership Academy to host a fundraising dinner

Boitumelo Maswabi
MOVING FORWARD : African Women Leadership Academy

The African Women Leadership Academy (TAWLA) – a member of Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) – will host a fundraising dinner in October at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone. Established in 2010, TAWLA exists to empower young women and girls through life and leadership skills training, mentorship and networking opportunities.

The NGO’s founding director, Dr Mpho Gilika, sat with Voice Woman on Monday to talk about their fundraising efforts. “As a non-profit organisation, we rely heavily on the generosity of the media, corporates, industry leaders, and the business community in its entirety, which we believe significantly impacts on our efforts to reach every girl or boy in Botswana.

Our goal is to empower the youth to help Botswana attain gender parity in leadership by developing them to achieve their full potential in order to facilitate their active involvement across all spheres of society, by leveraging tools such as mentoring to ignite the hunger towards excellence. TAWLA hopes to have reached 20 000 young people across Botswana, both urban and rural, by end of 2025; with special emphasis placed on rural areas with higher education needs. It is against this backdrop that TAWLA wishes to raise funds to ensure no child is left behind.”

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Since inception, the organisation has grown its programming to include boys and those living with disability in some of its programmes, which include an annual leadership and mentorship programme targeting youth in secondary schools; an HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health and rights programme; and advocacy campaigns by way of sponsored walks and social media.

“We currently have 2 programmes – leadership and mentorship – as well as the community and school outreach programme, which deals with empowering adolescent girls and young women living with disability. The leadership and mentorship programme focuses on empowering Form 4 students through leadership skills training workshops,” she said, adding the year-long programme culminates in a graduation ceremony at the end of the year. “Upon completion of all the modules under our life and leadership skills training, the mentees receive certificates.”

To date, TAWLA has reached 2 500 young women and men through its various programmes and after 12 years working closely with high schools, they are now extending their focus, through another outreach programme tackling various social issues affecting adolescents in and out of school. “Recently, secondary schools in and around Gaborone approached TAWLA to assist in combating the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse schools are grappling with. For TAWLA to be able to successfully undertake this project, we need to raise funds for the intervention efforts and related programmes,” Dr Gilika reiterated.

The African Women Leadership Academy to host a fundraising dinner

Speaking on some of this year’s programmes, Dr Gilika said in March, TAWLA held a parenting and effective communication seminar in conjunction with University of Botswana special needs specialists, Dr Molosiwa and Dr Malatsi, at the Ramotswa main kgotla where Kgosikgolo Mosadi Seboko addressed special education teachers, parents/guardians of people living with disability and the larger community on the importance of advocacy for people living with disability, “A learning curve for caretakers and parents in attendance and an eye opener as professionals who know and understand people living with disability were there to guide, teach and create awareness on how to care for these individuals. A long-standing patron of the organisation, Kgosi Mosadi Seboko restated that people living with disability should not be treated differently,” Dr Gilika explained.

In the past, TAWLA has worked with key organisations, among them the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) women in leadership workshop; Putting Women First Trust (PWFT) – Young Women’s Leadership Club (YWLC); Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation (SKMF) – conducting an intergenerational dialogue workshop; Stanbic Bank Botswana as the sponsor of the 2018/19 leadership training programme; Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) conference on reproductive health and rights; Cotton On Foundation as the annual sponsor of the 2022/2023 leadership training programme; Barclays Botswana on an economic empowerment workshop, to mention a few.

In closing, Dr Gilika said funds raised will go towards youth development and training. Visit TAWLA Facebook page to learn more about the organisation. For tickets to be delivered to you, contact Project Coordinator on 75 648 606 or 75 993 009 . “A VIP table of 10 costs P12 00, single VIP – P1 200, a standard table of 10 is P10 000 and standard single, P1 000. We greatly appreciate media giants such as The Voice Newspaper for their continued and unwavering support, a partnership that dates back to 2018, through its Managing Director, Marc Gomolemo Kasale.”

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