THE AFRICAN WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE (AWLC) AWLO’s flagship annual event is the African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC). AWLC is an annual event aimed at harnessing, enhancing and supporting the leadership potential of women in leadership positions in Africa and channelling them towards the unity and development of the region. It facilitates a conducive platform for networking, solidarity, mentoring and cohesion amongst African women for self-development. Since its inception, AWLO has held eight annual AWLC’s in Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia and The United States of America and South Africa.

 

AWLC History

In 2009, the first conference was held in Accra, Ghana as the West African Women in Leadership Conference (WAWLC). It was hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of the Government of Ghana and attended by women in politics and commerce from Nigeria and Ghana.

* The conference was expanded in 2010 when it was held in Abuja, Nigeria and hosted by the Federal Government of Nigeria under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs. This was attended by over 200 delegates across all spheres.

* In 2011, the conference was again hosted in Accra, Ghana to great success.

* In 2012, the conference was renamed the African Women in leadership Conference to reflect the growing membership of women across the continent. The 2012 conference was held in Banjul, Gambia and hosted and supported by the Government of Gambia with H.E, the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs of The Gambia as host. The conference attracted over 300 delegates from all over the continent.

* The 2013 AWLC was held in Uyo, Nigeria and hosted by the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria together with the Government of Akwa Ibom.

* In 2014, the conference was held outside the shores of Africa for the first time and it bordered on the success of previous conferences. It was held in partnership with the Government of Georgia and was attended by women in leadership positions, across the world.

-The 2015 Africa conference with the theme, ‘’African Women Transcending the Globe, Breaking Barriers’’ was held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja Lagos 7th-8th May 2015 while the Global conference was held at Sugar Land Marriott Town Square, Houston Texas from 12th to 16rd August 2015 with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Senator Donzella James as host and co-host. 2015 conference featured the international launching of our flagship mentorship program #1mother1child – which seeks to celebrate and honor motherhood while encouraging our members to extend the love of motherhood by adopting a boy/girl child and ensuring they attain the highest level of education. It was a wonderful 4 days of powerful presentations, networking, bonding and sisterhood. It was exciting, exhilarating, educative, freeing, inspiring and all things good!

In the words of Congress Woman Sheila Jackson, ‘when women speak, the world listens, when women stand up, the world listens….’ special appreciation to our chairperson for AWLC 2015, Mrs Aisha Buhari, chief host, Mayor James Thompson of Sugarland, our host Congresswoman Sheila Jackson and Senator Donzella James, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe , H.E Mrs. Olufunsho Amosun, H.E Alanyingi Sylva, H.E Dr. Z. Shinkafi-Bagudu, our amazing speakers…Rona Mobley-Wells, Miriam Jackson, Prof. Uduak Archibong, Marje Etheridge, Khuraira Musa, Jacqueline Leathers, Yvonne Ebbi, Senator Ita Giwa, Ezinne Kufre Ekanem, Senator Binta Garba, and our own Mrs. Josephine Anunobi.

AWLC 2014, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. The 6th edition of the African Women in Leadership Conference held in Atlanta began on 20th through 23rd August 2014 under the theme, “African Women – Harnessing our Strengths, Growing in all Spheres”.

The conference was attended by women from various African countries, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America, spanning the spectrum of all sectors such as legal, economic, political, social, cultural, technological, and other spheres of life.

The 2014 conference was opened by Elisha Attai, President/ Founder of AWLO. In his welcome speech, Mr. Attai reminded delegates and participants that the driving force of AWLO is to create an enabling environment wherein African women are exposed to the premier opportunity of meeting, interfacing, sharing experiences and ideas, developing business, networking, and exploring vast opportunities for partnering and expanding the frontiers of their vision and aspirations. Delegates and dignitaries were welcome to Atlanta, Georgia by the AWLC 2014 Co-host, Senator Donzella James. Senator James is a Georgia Senator for District 35. She stated that women were synonymous with the neck on the human anatomy. However, while the neck is not a prominent anatomical feature, it steers the head towards the correct path.

The chairperson for the conference was The First Lady of The Republic of Mozambique, Her Excellency, Dr. Maria Da Luz Dai Guebuza. In her speech, The First Lady said that as women, the seed has been sown. It should now be multiplied and spread to generate positive changes in our continent, and to contribute towards the empowerment of women.

The keynote speaker, Almas Jiwani, UN Women President, Canada reminded the women that despite the progress that has already been made for the protection of women’s rights, local and international barriers still exist, hindering women’s ability to “grow in all spheres”. These barriers include fear, finances, discrimination, lack of confidence, and education. She entreated the women to continue to pursue gender equality since “equality for women means progress for all”. She emphasized the role of ‘one’ in instigating and maintaining momentum in this area.

Other speakers that grazed the conference were Eveline Pierre, Mrs. EkaOkpok, Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler, Mrs. Josephine Anunobi, Chief (Dr.) Oprah Mason Benson, and Chidi Jacobs. Some of the highlighted quotes for the conference were – “Learn. Unlearn. Relearn”, “Stop. Change. Start”, “Resolve to Engage”, “Balancing through Prioritizing”, “We’ve got the Power”, “Education Sharpens Leadership Skills”, “Youth, a Ticking Time Bomb or Acres of Diamond”, and “Pass it On”. Famous artists like Jennifer Eliogu, Mish, Jemiriye, and Belinda Brady graced the occasion and captivated the audience.

It was obvious in the panel discussion moderated by Prof. Archibong that gender inequality remains a major challenge in Africa and the world at large. All the participants and delegates agreed on the need for continuing collaborations and advocacy to move this intriguing agenda forward. It was also noted that various factors were vital to bridging the gap of gender inequality. These factors include educating ourselves, family, and friends, Registering and voting for leaders that support women agendas, Starting a funding program to bring more women along, Identifying a mentor and becoming a mentee, Encouraging men involvement and gender equality education.

AWLC 2013, Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom The 5th edition of the African Women in Leadership Conference was (AWLC) 2013 was held at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria from the 12th to 14th June 2013 under the theme African Women Of Worth. The conference was attended by African women leaders from across the continent in diverse field such as politics, legislature, business, commerce, and all spheres of life. AWLC 2013 was opened by Her Excellency, Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State. There were other representatives from the Government, civil society and business.

The conference was supported by the host nation, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the host state of Akwa Ibom. The First Lady, H.E Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, was ably represented by the Honourable Minister for Environment, Mrs Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia. In her speech, she stated that, “The issue of women rights and empowerment has been on the front burner of diverse discussions all over the world. And yet, if we pause a bit to look around, we will find out that women still remain the most impoverished, vulnerable and neglected members in the society.” The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State was represented by the Deputy Governor of the State, Her Excellency Lady Valerie Ebe who welcomed delegates and declared the conference open.

Senator Helen Esuene, Chairman, Senate Committee on Women and Children’s Affairs addressed delegates. She stated that the African Woman of Worth must be knowledgeable, ambitious, forward looking, assertive, feminine, and a mentor. That she must have financial independence and create harmony within her home for the proper upbringing of children. Senator Esuene commended AWLO for creating “this platform to build a strong network between African Women for exchange of ideas”. She concluded with a prayer that “This conference open new horizons for information sharing, peace and sustainable development within Africa.”

Presentations were made by dynamic and inspirational Speakers with a passion for African women’s leadership, who led impressive and quality sessions on topics such spanning all spheres of life and on issues pertaining to women’s leadership and development. Speakers included Biola Alabi, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor or Liberia, Olajumoke Adenowo, Renee Boateng, Comfort Ocran, Dr Hajo Sani, Gloria Buckman, Prof Uduak Archibong, Mrs Lydia Kpodo, Grace Aiyedogbon and HajyiaAisha Babangida.

The Exhibition showcased items ranging from clothing to beauty products, books and healthcare services as well as local charities. Exhibitants from the Gambia displayed a vibrant range of clothing unique to their country whilst Nigeria exhibitants displayed rich ankara prints and items. Free eye tests were provided with the opportunity for the prescription of lenses. The conference culminated in an Awards Gala Dinner where individuals who had impacted positively on the advancement of African women’s leadership and empowerment were honoured. Nine awards were made in the area of their Commitment to Women’s Empowerment, Women Changing Lives and Enriching Communities and Giving Women a Platform and a Voice.

Some of the Awardees included Almas Jiwani, President, UN Women for her humanitarian work for women, Gifty Anti, Ghana for her award winning show Standpoint, which tackles difficult issues pertaining to women, H.E Dr Halima Nyako, First lady of Adamanwa State for her championing of women’s issues, Mrs Merit Obua for her work with the women of Bayelsa, Chief Folorunsho Alakija, H.E Mrs Godswill Akpabio, and Justice Muktar.

The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Chief Dr Godwill Akpabio was in attendance at the Gala as was the Deputy Governor, Commissioner of Women’s affairs, Chief Justice of the State with representation.

In his address, H E Chief Dr Godswill Akpabio, congratulated the delegates for taking this step towards their further development. He commended AWLO for the aspect of mentorship included in the Communique and urged African women to mentor each other. He concluded by encouraging the women gathered to continue to come together and do their best and described the AWLC 2013 gathering as a great moment for African Women.

At the end of the conference sessions the conclusion gathered from all the individual sessions was that African women should never give up in the face of the enormous challenges facing them, but have a vision of the power of women and unleash the innate qualities embedded in all women to lead.

A Communiqué was issued and actions outlined for the year ahead.

AWLC 2012, Sheraton Hotel, Banjul, Gambia The 4th edition of the African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC) was held at the Conference Centre of the Sheraton Gambia Hotel and Spa Resort, Banjul, The Gambia from the 13th- I 5th of June 2012. It was delivered in technical partnership with the Africa Centre for Gender and Development (ACGD), UNECA. The Conference was attended by African women leaders from across the continent in diverse field such as politics, legislature, business, commerce, and all spheres of life .

AWLC 2012 was opened by the Deputy Speaker of the Gambia National Assembly, Hon. Fatou M bye on behalf of the Vice President of The Gambia, Her Excellency Dr Njie-Saidy.

There were other representatives from the United Nations, the diplomatic community, government and business. Presentations were made by dynamic and inspirational Speakers with a passion for African women’s leadership, who led impressive and quality sessions. They included Senator Florence In. Giwa of Nigeria, Architect Mrs Olajumoke Adenowo of Awesome Treasures Foundation, Ms Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director for ICT, UNECA, Mrs Thikozile Rudvidzo, Director for Gender, UNECA.

The conference culminated in an Awards Gala Dinner where individuals who had impacted positively on the advancement of African women’s leadership and empowerment were honoured.

The Conference theme for this year (2012) was African Women – Empowering for Impact. After three days of conference and discussion, a number of clear resolutions and actions were concluded on and communicated.

AWLC 2011, Accra, Ghana The 3rd edition of the West African in Leadership Conference (WAWLC) was held at Alisa Hotels, Ridge, Accra from the 14th-15th of July 2011. It was an impressive gathering of women from diverse backgrounds from across the region. The Conference was opened by the former First Lady of Ghana Excellency Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and boasted a diverse delegates list of women in politics, legislature, business, commerce and all walks of life. There were other representatives from the United Nations and the Queenmothers Association of Ghana.

The Speakers, who led impressive and quality sessions, were great women leaders with a passion for the development and empowerment of African women. They included Mrs Joyce Aryee, Former Minister and CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mrs Njeri Ekpo, Mrs Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of Gender, UNECA, Ms Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director for ICT, UNECA and Mrs Comfort Ocran, CEO, Legacy and Legacy.

The conference was delivered in partnership with the Gender Directorate of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). In her address, the Director of Gender at UNECA, Mrs. Thokozile Ruzvidzo commended AWLO for this initiative and stated that the path to women’s development and empowerment needed the collective and collaborative efforts of civil society organisations like AWLO in partnership with agencies of the UN etc.

The aim of the Conference was to engage in discussions and agree actions around the 2011 WAWLC theme “The African Woman in the 21st Century— Embracing the Future” The Gala Awards evening at the end of the conference honoured women across all walks of life for their positive contributions to the development of their communities and to the advancement of women’s rights within the continent.

Membership of AWLO and delegates to AWLC are from all spheres of life and include: Presidents and Heads of States, Governors, Deputy Governors, First Ladies, Women in legislature, Politics, Business, Judiciary, Women/Gender Advocacy Groups Women in business, banking, insurance, engineering, maritime & aviation, Everywoman!

AWLC 2010, Abuja, Nigeria The 2nd edition of the African Women Leaders Conference held at the Hilton Luxury Hotels from the 17th – 19th of June 2010. It was a gathering of women from different walks of life and chaired by the wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan.

The First Lady was represented by the wife of the Vice-President Hajia Sambo. The chief host of the occasion was the Hon. Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs lyom Josephine Anenih. In attendance were First Ladies of Adamawa, Imo State, Bayelsa, Cross River, Benue States and the wife of the Deputy Governor Akwa lbom.

Speakers presented papers on Health, Politics, Education and Business as they affect women in Africa. AWLC 2009, Accra, Ghana The maiden edition of AWLC was held in Ghana. The turnout was marvelous. Participants including women and some men who came out to support, came from different walks of life.
• Justice Binta Fatima Nyako, Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.
• The RT. Hon Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana.
• Chief Justice Geogina Theodora Wood, Chief Judge Republic of Ghana.
• Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Republic of Ghana.
• Hon Akua Sena Dansua, Minister for Women and Children affairs, Ghana.
• Mrs. Mbosowo Ekpotu, Wife of the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
• Dr. Ebebe Ukpong, an economist from Nigeria, who was a Special Speaker.
• Mrs. Obia Ofem, a Human Resources Management, Practitioner and a Motivational Speaker from Nigeria and of course
• Hon. Omowunmi Olatunji-Edet, a Member, Lagos State House of Assembly who also was the conference coordinator.

AWLO’s organisation structure includes its Executive team, Administration and Support team, Advisory Board and Patrons. AWLO acknowledges the founding of the organisation in 2009 and the person behind the vision. The organisation has grown over the years in line with the vision and mission and continues to look at its developing its governance structure in line with the environment in which it operates, its growth and the various partnership and collaborative parties it works with.