AWLO – A Story of Resolve, Resilience and Results: Elisha Attai introducing his association
I must begin by extending my warm regards and feeling of gratitude to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) for giving us the platform to share with its global audience the story of progress and success at the African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO) as a committed member of ICCA Community. The ICCA has indeed been quite a strategic knowledge hub to us, and much of the knowledge shared on its platform has been helpful in positioning and realigning our direction as an organisation and member of the global community. Belonging to the ICCA community has truly enabled us know better the importance of envisioning the future from time to time and tailoring and short-, mid- and long-term goals towards projects and initiatives of longlasting impact on our beneficiary communities, demographics and populations. Our orientation about leadership has, in many ways, been shaped up by exposure to contributions from diverse sources on the ICCA platform. Kudos to the ICCA Team!
The story of the African Women in Leadership Organisation’s journey over the past decade is quite that of a peculiar trajectory. It is a story an uncommon resolve to break barriers and level gender restrictions in every ramification. When the idea was first conceived of a not-for-profit organisation committed to the overall interests of women of African descent, the first battle soon became obvious: why will a man venture to commit to the cause of women? It felt like a social and gender class suicide! But, fast-forward from 2009 to 2020 and the story is that of accolades, laurels and global recognition.
In 2009, there was a great sense of urgency that women of African ancestry, both on the Continent and within its diaspora, should be brought together in a common pursuit of the interests that bind them together in a global sphere thought to be in the control of men. It became clear at once that not only the gender borders that must be negotiated but also those of race and economic backgrounds.
Therefore, one of the first knots to be untied was wrapped in the one-word question – how? But, the answer was, and still is, never far away within our universe. The key lies in pacifism, diplomatic pacifism. We quickly learned and resolved that the only way to go in realizing our mission was the way of peaceful negotiations across all man-made social boundaries: gender, cultural, racial, national and international borderlines.
Today, we have more than lived up to our mission to bring together female executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders to further enhance the leadership capacity of women, harness the synergies of alliance and fulfill the objectives of the organisation. We have made impacts on international and global levels. We have institutionalized success in all of our social initiatives and humanitarian projects. Our African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC) is a huge testament to how far-reaching our influence and impacts have been on aspiring women in all spheres of endeavor, including governance, economic and finance, entrepreneurship, as well as humanitarian and social works.
Through its annual AWLC conferences, AWLO has continued to challenge its stakeholders, most of whom are women, in implementing and fast-tracking decision-making across different sectors. AWLO, over the course of twelve years, has also capitalized on a network base of more than 6,000 stakeholders, including diplomats, activists, academics, professionals, first ladies, policymakers, heads of government, and women leaders to necessitate inclusive democracies, women’s participation in governance and leadership, raising the next generation, as well as men’s partnership in gender parity, and gathering opinions for decision-making.
Also, as AWLO, we have continued to intensify intellective and specialized leadership development to provide limitless opportunities, credibility, and retention of women in leadership. The AWLO’s Expertise Partnerships and Leadership School, for instance, is targeted at facilitating women-in-leadership training. Similarly, the recent AWLO-500 project is a unique success story of women economic and entrepreneurial empowerment in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. Through the partnership with an important commercial bank and other corporate partners, we were able to reach out to low-income and unemployed women in the region’s local areas. This and similar initiatives are dear to our hearts at the AWLO at every point in time.
The list of our organisation’s mileage and milestones of accomplishment remain almost without end, without sounding hyperbolic. But, then, it is said that, if you do not want to blow your own trumpet, you may hire a great saxophonist to do so! I have nonetheless managed to do so in these few words. On this account, I think I am more than a fulfilled man, but a completed man even as I share with you, friends, that the African Women in Leadership Organisation is more than a legacy for women of African descent. Indeed, it is my legacy to women across the world, now and in the distant future.
To find more about AWLO, please visit their website: www.awlo.org