Team-building with Hope Chigudu. “Open up… heeyyyyy!”

After over a decade of impactful and pioneering work to engage, inspire and equip a new generation of African women leaders, Moremi Initiative continues to seek opportunities for growth in line with our values as a learning organization. We were selected as part of 10 finalists out of 75 women’s rights organization across Africa by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) to participate in the 6th AWDF CEO Forum and Governance Coaching

Our team was represented by Maame Afon Yelbert-Sai—Global Programs and Partnerships Director; and Saajida Shiraz—Programs Officer. A bonified international recording artiste, Maame Afon brought soulful music to the space, inspiring everyone to believe in the power of. voice and using their gifts and talents in service to philanthropy and social justice, especially for women and girls.


From November 15-17, twenty (20) leaders representing 10 organizations gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for the first phase of a nine-month feminist leadership and governance coaching program under the theme “LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE FOR WOMEN LEADERS OF WOMEN’S RIGHT ORGANISATIONS IN AFRICA.”  Ultimately, the objective of this project is to “build a cadre of African women with the right political consciousness, technical expertise and conceptual clarity.”  According to Nafi Chinery, AWDF Capacity Building Specialist who convened the training, the feminist coaching project “will train organizations and invest in their governance framework as well as invest in building a ‘political’ movement of feminist leaders. Jessica Horn, AWDF Programs Director, described the CEO forum as “a safe space to network and learn.

Speakers and trainers represented a vast range of experts in civil society organizations working through a feminist lens. Hope Chigudu, one of the three leadership coaches and founder of Hope Africa co-hosted the forum.  Participants were led through an introduction to feminism by Jessica Horn, while Paula Fray of Fray Intermedia, who also doubles as a leadership coach, hosted a discussion with past beneficiaries to share their personal and organizational experience of how they have grown and their organizations as well.  In addition, Paula partnered with Cathy Gathoni, a Kenyan Journalist, to support the various teams with communication skills building via presentations and practice interviews on camera. Each group received practical feedback on their interviews. Finally, AWDF Executive Director, Theo Sowa shared insights, discussing strategies for how to build effective governance mechanisms. Zeytuna Abdella Feyisa, AWDF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, helped each team with accurate assessments of their organizational capabilities.  AWDF also did an amazing job providing translators and interpreters for francophone-based participants.

Every ingredient brought to the table to create the base for building organizations with soul was so timely and well seasoned. A crash course on feminist coaching led by Hope Chigudu and Yene Assegid, one of the coaches provided a befitting ending to the 6th AWDF CEO Forum and Governance Coaching.  For Moremi Imitative, we walked away invigorated, refueled, inspired, equipped and dedicated to putting in place all the elements necessary for creating a vibrant and dynamic organization with soul.  We also used our time in Kenya to connect with some of our existing partners and nurtured new relationships all aimed at helping us to effectively deliver our mandate.

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