Oct 03, 2011

Learning with Women's World Banking at Women in Leadership Program

RCLA Senior Associate Waad El Hadidy joins Women's World Banking (WWB) in Amsterdam from October 2 - 7 to observe their Women in Leadership Program. The program is part of a suite of trainings and leadership development opportunities made available through WWB's Center for Microfinance Leadership. Women's World Banking is the largest global microfinance network with 39 microfinance institutions as network members, in 27 countries.

Critical changes in the microfinance industry-increased commercialization, decreased presence of women staff at all levels of microfinance institutions, and rapid growth-require that leaders have both new skill sets and ongoing coaching support to effectively manage the immediate and long-term challenges. The Center supports senior executives of microfinance institutions to face the demands of this increasingly complex environment.

The Women in Leadership Program supports the next generation of women leaders in microfinance and has been run by WWB in various parts of the world since 2005. The program focuses on women's individual leadership development, giving them access to a curriculum co-designed with Wharton to help them expand their vision of their own leadership and design an action plan to help them achieve their goals.

For the first time in Amsterdam, the program features a mentorship component in partnership with KPMG. Microfinance women leaders will come together with senior women from KPMG with whom they will be matched in mentoring pairs. The six-day program includes sessions on strategic leadership, spheres of influence, handling difficult situations, negotiation skills and building relationships; visioning exercises and
action planning sessions with mentors.

RCLA's observing of the training is part of a three-year participatory evaluation that RCLA is conducting on the Center. More than reporting on results achieved, the evaluation supports an ongoing learning process with both WWB and Center participants. RCLA regularly reflects with WWB about the interim findings of the evaluation - what microfinance leaders find most helpful in the program and where they could use additional support. The evaluation is based on recurring in-depth interviews with Center participants designed to help these leaders reflect about whether and how they are applying the learning back to their organizations.

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