Intelligent yet poor: Painful but breakable curse

In General, Leadership

It could be you: an intelligent, enterprising young woman, but yet in the dark as to how to find your definite exit route to dizzying levels of success. As a result, it seems like poverty and rust are your lot. Worry no more.

Akili Dada is always thinking about you and wants you to develop your own wings in your quest for a memorable breakthrough at whatever it is you do best.

An international award-winning leadership incubator with a singular commitment to nurturing a generation of young African women from underprivileged backgrounds, Akili Dada is waiting to award one-year fellowships to young African women between the ages of 23-30 who are driving transformative change in their communities and are looking to grow their projects to scale to sustainability.

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Social impact solutions

“The fellowship is an opportunity for young women to design and implement solutions to the challenges faced by their communities.”

Besides, write Akili Dada on their site, their leadership development curriculum creates the foundation on which young women build their skills and earn the essential qualifications they need to access key decision-making roles and leadership positions.

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Transformative leadership

“By selecting from and building the capacity of some of Africa’s most innovative young women change makers, we are meeting the urgent need for both more African women in leadership as well as the overall need for transformative leadership across the continent. ”

Open to only young women in East Africa, the 2017 Fellows will be selected on the basis of the strength of their social change project, previous leadership initiative, willingness to learn, among others.

“All fellows need to have deep roots in the communities they seek to transform and be from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Selection is not based on past academic performance or qualifications.”

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Fellowship benefits

Successful applicants expect to benefit from, among other things, access to a series of useful seminars from experts in the social change field, site visits to successful social entrepreneurship and social impact organizations, as well as access to the Akili Dada network of funding partners.

“On completion of the year-long program, fellows should possess the skills and resources required to lead a strong, healthy, accountable and sustainable organization that are bringing about measurable social change in their communities.”

Her story

Akili Dada was founded in 2005 by Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg to address the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in Africa.

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In 2006, she and her husband Dr. Isaac Rutenberg made a financial commitment enabling Akili Dada to take on its first beneficiaries. Today, the social good agency is the realization of Wanjiru’s vision for an organization that enables other young African women to pursue the types of educational and leadership opportunities that she has been so fortunate to experience, and to take their rightful places in society.

In her own words:

“I moved from Nairobi to Denver at age 14 with the sense of rooted belonging in the African continent. Driven by a deep gratitude and a joyful obligation, I started Akili Dada in 2005 as a way to leverage my unique position on the cusp of two continents and to pay it forward. ”

From a painful personal experience, Dr Wanjiru says she has a lot of insight into African women’s challenges in the quest for education as well as the difference that thoughtfully structured scholarships, compassionate mentoring, and purposeful leadership training can make.

Feminist cause

“As a feminist researcher, I wrote my doctoral dissertation about the bottlenecks to African women’s access to decision-making positions.”

It is there and then that she became convinced that leadership is not accidental but rather it must be nurtured with intention and purpose.

“As a scholar-activist, Akili Dada is my purest expression of the personal as political!”



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