AAI President and CEO Amini Kajunju and Melissa Howell, Program Manager for AAI’s Transformational Leadership Program (TLP), led a workshop in late-July on strengthening African leadership to create social change on the continent at Canon Collins Trust’s Education for Justice Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The two-day conference, held on July 25-27, brought together scholars and civil society partners for a vibrant, interdisciplinary conference on education and social justice in southern Africa.
Workshop topics ranged from leadership and career development, climate change communication, artisanal mining, disabled women’s health issues, and challenges faced by undocumented persons in South Africa.
Canon Collins Trust is a UK-based organization that provides scholars from Southern Africa the skills and education that had been denied to them by apartheid and other injustices.
In the workshop, Leading Through Change, Kajunju spoke to participants about taking a pro-active approach to developing human resources and institutional capacities to meet the challenges and rising expectations and demands of citizens throughout Africa.
Kajunju emphasized that one of the main responsibilities of leadership is to create change.
“It is not enough to respond to a changing environment,” said Kajunju. “The most effective leaders actually create change in the organization and may even influence the environment as a result.”
Key challenges were posed to participants on developing effective leadership such as inheriting a system or institution without the required technical knowledge or experience to manage it. Workshop participants were asked a set of broad questions and discussed solutions on how to overcome the challenge.
Following the workshop, participants shared that the workshop was “amusing, stimulating, and participatory”. “Leadership issues are important in [learning] how to develop our country and grow as professionals,” said one participant.