Africa Women Leaders in Agro-ecology Initiative

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Africa Women Leaders in Agro-ecology Initiative

Deadline: 30th September 2023

AWOLA (Africa Women Leaders in Agro-ecology) is a leadership career development initiative of the PELUM network, with the aim of equipping women working on agroecology, sustainable agriculture and food systems with leadership skills. Through the AWOLA initiative, the PELUM network envisions strengthening leadership capacities and the active participation of women in agro-ecology institutions.

Africa Women Leaders in Agro-ecology InitiativePELUM association, the initiative owner, is a regional network of over 250 civil society organizations in 12 countries in East, Central and Southern Africa founded in 1995 and working in the area of participatory ecological land use management. The Association works to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and the sustainability of farming communities, by fostering ecological land use management. With country chapters in several African countries.

AWOLA aims to put women at the heart of transforming African agriculture. The 3 year leadership program aims to create high level women leadership in agroecology, sustainable agriculture and food systems transformation, who will influence and negotiate for the space of agroecology in policies and programs across African countries. The many years of PELUM work have proved that women are at the forefront of ecological agriculture, and hence need to be at the centre of influence by forming a connected and committed movement of Africa women leadership in agroecology.

Benefits

Mentorship: The actual mentorship will entail a process where mentee and mentors who are at different scales and career levels develop supportive relationships around their professional and personal capacities. The process will entail a matchmaking session based on the gaps and skills across mentees and mentors.

Training: AWOLA will support mentees in a 1 year program (through virtual and face to face sessions), who will be trained to become leaders and effective negotiators, in influencing policies and programming while building collaborations with different stakeholders for desired outcomes. Through AWOLA mentees and mentors will be supported to participate in structured learning to build up on the agroecology and leadership knowledge base.

Development of leadership innovation ideas: The mentees and mentors will be supported to develop networks and work on innovation ideas. The innovation ideas will be shared with PELUM networks for integration across programs, where possible the coalition members will be encouraged to fundraise and further supported through the PELUM network to implement their ideas with the aim of supporting transformation of agriculture and food systems.

Mentees Eligibility

The AWOLA mentorship fellowship targets practitioners who can meet a range of criteria.

  • The fellowship targets women African nationals, current citizens of Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
  • Applicants need to have at least a degree and 5 years’ experience in agriculture, food systems, land based sectors or working on agro-based livelihoods with farming communities.
  • Applicants need to be affiliated to an institution, with either government organizations, non- government, private sector, development, civil society, regional and sub- regional communities, or academia
  • Applicants will be drawn from the fields of Natural resource management, Climate change, Agri-business, Livelihoods, advocacy on policy work etc)

Ideal AWOLA fellows should:

  • Show commitment to investing in your personal growth and participation for the full 12 months program.
  • Be able to articulate top leadership challenges in scaling up agroecology and sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Need to show how they play or intend to undertake leadership roles in transforming agriculture, food systems or livelihoods of farming communities using agroecology principles/approaches.
  • Be able to access reliable internet and to commit time to a maximum of 5 hours a week towards the mentorship.

If you do not meet all the requirements above, you may provide an explanation in the application below about why you believe you are eligible.

Important: The AWOLA Application process is made of both written and video responses:

  • Written Response questions: The responses to the short questions need to be short but self-explanatory. We have provided a maximum of 1,000 characters including spaces. To avoid timing out of the website and losing your responses, you might draft your responses into a word processing file and then copy them into this form when complete.
  • Video Response questions: We require you to record and submit a short video response of your motivation statement. The video responses need not to be longer than 2 minutes each. We are not expecting a professional video, most important we need to hear and see you as you speak clearly. You may use your phone to record, ensure you use earphones to get rid of any external noise.
  • For this round all application responses must be in English.

Apply to be a MENTEE

A mentor affects the professional life of a mentee by fostering insight, identifying needed knowledge, and expanding growth opportunities. We are looking for mentors with 10+ years experience in leadership and working to transform agriculture, food systems and community livelihoods working in different types of institutions including business persons and farmers. Mentors should be experts in a variety of fields including but not limited to:

  • Governance
  • Food systems: agriculture, sustainable value chains, agroecology, sustainable agriculture
  • Natural resources: environment, climate change
  • Startups and scaling of businesses
  • Attracting funding and/or investors
  • Human Rights
  • Food processing and Nutrition
  • Youth and Women Economic Empowerment
  • Agribusiness

PELUM through AWOLA is open to emerging opportunities, and whatever your skills are and your field of expertise is, and you feel you can positively contribute to the program. Feel free to add your own category and customize your contribution to the program.

Ideal AWOLA mentors should:

  • Show commitment to investing your time in supporting mentees growth for a period of 12 months program, meeting at least twice a month
  • Be able to articulate top leadership challenges in scaling up agroecology and sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Need to show how they play leadership roles in transforming agriculture, food systems or livelihoods of farming communities using agroecology principles/approaches.
  • Be able to access reliable internet and to commit time to a maximum of 5 hours a week towards the mentorship.

Selection Process

  • The AWOLA mentees and mentors will be identified through a competitive selection process that will include assessing their experience and leadership potential in agroecology, agriculture, and food systems development.
  • Potential mentees and mentors will respond to an open call for application that will require them to demonstrate their suitability (application here)
  • A selection panel of experts in agroecology, agriculture, food systems and leadership will review the applications. The final selection will be carried out by the AWOLA advisory panel.

Apply to be a MENTOR

For more information.

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