Leading to Choices
LEADING TO CHOICES
Leadership is the ability to implement dreams.
– Workshop participant
Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women will be a
valuable tool for women’s empowerment all over the world. While it reflects important
ideas about leadership from other sources, it combines them with new insights in a way
uniquely accessible and useful to women. In particular, no other such manual I have
seen offers itself to self-adaptation and self-application by people of all kinds (including
men), respecting the diversity of their needs and situations. Furthermore the non-
authoritarian approach of the book models the very kind of leadership it recommends.
– Nancy Flowers, author and human rights educator
I have now come to understand that even ‘ordinary’ women can be leaders, and this
is very empowering.
– Literacy teacher in a Morocco leadership workshop
If we don’t see ourselves as leaders and are not discussed in the literature as leaders,
then how will others see us as leaders?
– Domestic worker in a Jordan leadership workshop
In this training, I found that I have leadership skills that I did not know I had before.
– Young woman in a Palestine leadership workshop
If all of civil society looks at leadership in this way and evaluates and participates with
others in discussing how leadership is going to open up participation and choice, then
many of our problems will be solved.
– Male participant in a Jordan leadership workshop
I realized I had visions inside of me that I could achieve and I was empowered to go
ahead and achieve them.
– Woman activist in a Nigeria leadership workshop
I believe Leading to Choices is a seminal work that will greatly impact the field of
women’s human rights and empowerment. . . . It will help more than one generation
of women think of themselves as leaders within their own societies and cultures. This is
what I hope to achieve for Afghan women and girls through a collaborative program
with WLP in Pakistan. . . . The leadership handbook that WLP has created in partnership
with other NGOs in the Global South is an invaluable model for participatory and
collaborative leadership training and capacity building.
– Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning
LEADING TO CHOICES
in consultation with
Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights,
Development, and Peace (WLP)
4343 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 201
Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
Tel: 1-301-654-2774/Fax: 1-301-654-2775
in collaboration with
des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM)
Secteur les Orangers, Rue Mokla, Villa No 2
Tel: 212-37-737165/Fax: 212-37-260813
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights
232A Muri Okunola Street, P.O. Box 73630
Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria
Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC)
Awad Bldg., Radio Street, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 2197
Ramallah, Palestine via Israel
by Women’s Learning Partnership
for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP)
Design: Xanthus Design
Illustration: Avish Khebrehzadeh
Copy Editing: Castle Pacific Publishing
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface: Who We Are
Introduction: Premises, Purposes, Objectives, and Structure
The Building Blocks of Leadership: Leadership as Communicative Learning
Communicating in a Workshop Setting: Guidelines for Facilitating
Part I: Developing the Self for Leadership
Session 1: Who Is a Leader?
Session 2: How Am I a Leader in My Own Life?
Session 3: What Is My Vision?
Part II: Communicating With Others
Session 4: How Should We Communicate?
Session 5: How Can We Serve Diverse Interests?
Session 6: How Will We Empower Each Other?
Part III: Creating Learning Partnerships
Session 7: How Will We Find Shared Meaning?
Session 8: What Is Our Plan of Action?
Session 9: How Do We Cultivate Our Skills and Talents?
Session 10: How Do We Mobilize for Action?
Session 11: How Do We Share Responsibilities and Results?
Session 12: How Do We Define a Successful Organization?
Participant & Facilitator Evaluation Form
Appendix A: Alternative Scenarios
Appendix B: Facilitation Tactics
Appendix C: Participative Listening
Appendix D: Resources on Leadership
Appendix E: Organizations on Leadership
Appendix F: International Advisory Council
We owe a debt of gratitude to numerous organizations and individuals whose
assistance made this project possible. We are grateful to the Ford Foundation,
National Endowment for Democracy, The Shaler Adams Foundation, and the Tides
Foundation for their support in our campaign to develop ways and means of
enhancing women’s leadership capabilities.
We thank the leaders who provided the inspirational stories for our handbook,
especially Zainah Anwar, Thais Corral, Ayesha Imam, Ivy Josiah, Asma Khader, and
Sakena Yacoobi who personally shared their stories with us. We are grateful to
Nancy Flowers who carefully reviewed drafts of this manuscript and provided
invaluable expertise and insights.
The Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP)
launched this project on June 2, 2000 when we convened a group of experts
to discuss with us new approaches to women’s leadership and local needs and
priorities for its development. We would like to thank our funders who made this
meeting possible: The General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist
Church, The Global Fund for Women, the San Francisco Foundation, the United
Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and the United Nations Population
Fund (UNFPA). In attendance at this meeting were Alia Arasoughly, Shiva Balaghi,
Janice Brodman, Sylvie Cohen, Thais Corral, Naadia Davis, Nancy Flowers, Leanne
Grossman, Ayesha Imam, Bushra Jabre, Mona Kaidbey, Amina Lemrini, Vivian Manneh,
Pramada Menon, Geeta Misra, Thoraya Obaid, Ayo Obe, Aruna Rao, Najat Rochdi,
Susan Deller Ross, Rahim Sabir, and Sakena Yacoobi. Many of these experts also
serve on our International Advisory Council (see Appendix F). We are indebted to
them for their input and support throughout every stage of this project.
Thanks are due to Rakhee Goyal, Hanan Kholoussy, and Sian MacAdam who
contributed many ideas and assisted with all stages of the development of the
manuscript. We also thank Maureen Donaghy and Megan Brown who helped
organize the various expert meetings, advisory council gatherings and
communication between collaborators.
WHO WE ARE
This handbook was produced collaboratively by the Women’s Learning Partnership
for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP) and its partner organizations Association
Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) in Morocco, BAOBAB for Women’s
Human Rights (BAOBAB) in Nigeria, and the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee
(WATC) in Palestine. Our challenge was to work across three continents to create
a handbook that contained a shared vision and agenda for women’s leadership,
accommodated diverse opinions, and reconciled a variety of objectives. Leading to
Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women engages the ideas and skills
of dozens of women and men non-governmental organization directors and staff as
well as scholars, political leaders, jurists, and development practitioners in over
WLP launched this project in New York City on June 2, 2000. In the months that
followed, WLP established formal partnership agreements with ADFM, BAOBAB,
and WATC—all non-governmental organizations committed to strengthening women’s
empowerment, participation, and leadership in their communities. Each of these four
organizations extensively reviewed and critiqued drafts of this handbook at every
stage, contributed to its strategy, design, and content, and evaluated it for effectiveness,
relevance, and cultural appropriateness.
Leading to Choices is a prototype handbook that is customized and adapted for
local use in workshops in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Participants in these
workshops are the staff and constituents of the partner organizations as well as
students, professional women, government employees, teachers, and political
activists, among others. Field project coordinators undertake the process of
customizing Leading to Choices for each community. They direct the local testing
processes, assess the relevance and cultural appropriateness of content, and facilitate
the development of additional material that is locally useful. The final country-
specific leadership handbooks are language/idiom, culture, and issue appropriate
learning tools women may use to develop participatory leadership strategies.
Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women
About the Collaborators
Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP): WLP
is an international, non-governmental organization that seeks to empower women
and girls in the Global South to re-imagine and re-structure their roles in their families,
communities, and societies. WLP achieves this goal through forming partnerships
with women’s organizations in the Global South, creating leadership training curriculum
and materials, and engaging women in the production of information and knowledge.
WLP produces culture-specific multimedia tools for radio, video/television, CD-ROM,
and the Internet that strengthen women’s participation and leadership in building
Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM): ADFM was established in
1985 as an independent association to defend and promote the human rights of women,
and to foster equitable policies and social practices. As one of the largest NGOs in
Morocco focused on the rights of women, ADFM has been successful in forming
networks with governmental and civil society institutions regionally and worldwide.
ADFM aims to reinforce the rights of women through advocacy, awareness raising,
literacy campaigns, and education. In particular, ADFM has created a Center for
Female Leadership, which seeks to increase women’s participation at all levels of
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB): BAOBAB is a non-profit,
non-governmental organization working for women’s human rights and legal rights
under religious, statutory and customary laws, especially those geared toward Muslim
women. BAOBAB works with legal professionals and paralegals, policy makers,
women’s and human rights groups, other NGOs, and members of the general public.
Its programs promote human rights education and particularly women’s human rights.
BAOBAB sponsors women’s rights training and education projects, and programs to
enhance understanding of women’s rights with a view to influencing social and
Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC): WATC is a coalition of women affiliated
with five political parties in Palestine, six women’s studies centers, local and international
human rights organizations, and many politically independent professional women.
Established in 1992, WATC works to eliminate discrimination against women in the
pursuit of a well-established, democratic society that respects human rights. The aims
and objectives of WATC include developing young women’s leadership skills, increasing
women’s political participation at all levels, and empowering and supporting existing
women’s rights organizations. WATC achieves its objectives through training, networking,
advocacy, campaigning, and an educational media presence.