Women: Leaders of Tomorrow (and Today!)
Students helping students succeed is a model that promotes sustainability and empowers future advocates for social change. When a student receives guidance from a close peer, it shows that they too can radiate confidence and stand up for gender equality and future access to leadership roles. Girls Leadership, Empowerment, Action, Program, or Girls LEAP, follows this ideal. Throughout the three-term Ghanaian school year, Senior High School (SHS) girls are empowered to explore their ideas on leadership, partner with younger girls to be role models and mentors, and utilize their leadership skills by working together to solve community issues. Once the SHS girls gain the foundational knowledge and skills it takes to be a leader, they travel to a local Junior High School (JHS) to mentor the young students and act as positive role models. The SHS girls are offered training and access to resources so they are able to become the inspiring community leaders they learned about throughout the year. The program culminates in the most important event of the school year: the Annual Girls LEAP Women’s Conference.
The Women’s Conference is open to all Girls LEAP participants and gives them a chance to collaborate and share their experiences throughout the program. This year Exponential Education hosted our second annual Women’s Conference themed “Women: Leaders of Tomorrow” which focused on career exploration. Women graduates of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the well-know and well-respected university in Kumasi, presented to the girls about opportunities available through higher education. Many of the graduates are now pursuing their Master’s degrees and had excellent advice for the SHS students on becoming strong leaders and advocating for change in their communities. Due to some of our schools’ rural locations, it was an especially enlightening day as they do not usually have access to information regarding tertiary education. The girls left the conference empowered and inspired about their futures.
Girls LEAP aims to show girls that success is attainable if one has the drive to work hard and persevere. The chance to meet recent women graduates with degrees in Engineering, Business, Environmental Science, and Law is the exact type of experience Exponential Education endeavors to provide for girls looking for successful role models. Seeing the smiling faces of extremely successful women eager to answer their questions and offer encouragement is a source of unparalleled motivation. One student described her moment of change after the conference: “I won’t discourage myself anymore because there is nothing I can’t do to help develop my community and society as a whole.” Societal progress will arise from the determination of empowered women.
Exponential Education is a non-profit working toward creating a future of social equality, community leaders, and agents of social change by providing resources, practical educational, and leadership training opportunities for youth and educators.