ActionAid Ethiopia Head Office staff attended one day training on Transformative Feminist Leadership (TFL), March 17, 2017. Olutayo Bankole- Bolawole, the Regional Director facilitated the training as part of her support visit in relation to the new Global strategy directions.
Opening the training, Jemal Ahmed, Ethiopia Country Director, noted that the one day training was organized to take advantage of Olutayo’s physical presence and will by no means covers all concepts Transformative Feminist Leadership. He said that the discussion will continue as AAE will roll out Feminist Transformative Leadership this year and consider the same while developing its country strategy that will be aligned with the Global Strategy. Jemal mentioned earlier similar head office staff discussion held to demystify the concept of Feminism, including the one held March 8, 2017. Olutayo noted that the training was aimed to introduce staff to key concepts of Transformative Feminist Leadership and to explain why it is important.
The first part of the training dealt with power, how power operates, its sources and how it is defined in ActionAid. Then participants, in smaller groups, did an exercise of mapping deeper organizational structure and how this structure affects decisions within ActionAid. Then each group presented respective views to the plenary and this helped participants understand more about informal and invisible power and decision making process within the organization.
Following the discussion on Power and power structures, Olutayo presented in a few easy steps about the rise of patriarchy and how patriarchy came to dominate human societies including women resistance to patriarchy throughout history and how patriarchy operates within and through other inequalities. Finally, discussion was held on sex hierarchy and how power structures arise and sustain themselves. The discussion on sex hierarchy raised a hot debate and discussion more specifically in relation to the rights of LGBTIQ.
The third part of the training was about concept of Feminism, where the concept was seen as an ideology, analytical framework and a social change strategy; its core values and feminism’s key goals and its ultimate mission and finally why ActionAid adopted Feminist approach more explicitly.
Finally, what Transformative Feminist Leadership is, the general challenges for practicing it, core principles of TFL and why it has become the aspired leadership style in ActionAid, how to begin practicing it as well as challenges and opportunities for TFL in ActionAid were discussed. However, an exercise on identifying a location where TFL was practiced so far in ActionAid including the mechanisms and the impact, as part of the training module remained unaccomplished because of time limitation.
Concluding the discussions participants explained that the training was very insightful and impressive though the issue of definition of Feminism particularly as it relates to LGBTIQ right raised a hot debate.
In his concluding remarks Jemal explained his appreciation to the facilitator on the training delivered and ActionAid Ethiopia‘s intention on the rolling out of the FTL in 2017 including in the upcoming country strategy development by emphasizing on the continuation of the discussion and reflection on TFL further using different platforms.