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Enabling women to women empowerment in the community.

Supporting Auckland’s African community, the African Scholarship Trust for Education and Leadership (ASTEL) focuses on empowerment and leadership, particularly for African youth.

However, with women in the African community tending not to engage or participate in leadership roles, ASTEL recognised an opportunity to encourage these women to feel empowered.

Successfully applying for a Grassroots Giving grant last year, ASTEL developed a pilot African Women Empowerment Programme as part of its wider "Building Leadership Capacity" project.

The programme was fully designed, planned and implemented by the women participating, with other community organisations such as Migrant Action Trust, Asian Family Services and NZ Ethnic Women’s Trust providing support and advice.

Officially launched in December 2017, the weekly 2-hour sessions provided opportunities for training (which included coaching and strength-based assessments), and discussion on topics such as violence prevention, anger management, building a support network, setting up an online business, dealing with stress and entering the workforce.

Experienced facilitators were also able to meet the women's needs in a culturally sensitive way.

The support network created as a result of this 'women to women empowerment’ has helped increase confidence as well as skills and knowledge.

Chair of ASTEL, Dr Charles Ampomah-Dwamena, says the pilot has been a great success

"Thanks to Grassroots Giving funding, we were able to run a pilot African women empowerment programme as part of our organisation's effort to build leadership capacity in our community."

"The feedback from participants indicated the pilot programme was a success, with the women expanding their networks and feeling empowered to deal with issues they face. And there was a definite consensus that the programme should be continued and in the future, more experienced women from different backgrounds be engaged to share their success stories."

"It was really refreshing to see women helping other women to increase their confidence, self-esteem and leadership capacity in a comfortable and non-threatening environment."

Photo supplied by ASTEL.