Ghanaian Women's Social Leadership Program: Graduating the Second Cohort & Welcoming the Third Cohort of Leading Women in Social Change

On May 2, 2016, the Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program (GWSLP) held a graduation ceremony for the 2015-2016 cohort. The event acknowledged 15 exceptional graduates­­—Ghanaian women leaders who, over the past year, have dedicated themselves to advancing their leadership to tackle critical needs in their communities or organizations.

Speakers at the ceremony included Akosua Anidydoho, Director of New York University in Ghana; Alicia Cebada, Program Coordinator for the Mujeres for Africa Foundation, which, along with Banco Santander collaborate on the program; and Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla, Director of GWSLP at NYU Wagner. Participants also presented their Action Learning Projects (APLs), which they created with Ghanaian coaches throughout the year, and plans to sustain the projects in the future.

Housed at NYU Wagner and launched in 2013, the GWSLP is a one-year, cohort-based leadership development program for women in mid-level positions in Ghanaian civil society organizations. Through the program’s leadership development, individualized coaching, and networking opportunities, participants develop the skills and support needed to lead transformational change in their communities and society at large.

The unique program reflects NYU Wagner’s belief that, as Hofmann-Pinilla explained, “leadership is not a heroic act, but is a collective endeavor which results from the capacity to build direction and commitment working with others towards a common goal.”

One of this year's graduates, Bashiratu Kumal, spoke on behalf of her cohort, highlighting the program's impact on women's leadership.

"The GWSLP has helped us elevate our leadership," said Kumal. Because of GWSLP, we are now bold, proactive, and confident. We are ready to continue working together towards building a better Ghana with decisions made by men and women."

The ceremony also welcomed the third GWSLP cohort—12 Ghanaian women who represent civil organizations advancing human rights, youth leadership development, children rights, accountability and transparency, and women’s and girls’ rights, among other critical issues facing Ghana. In the coming year, the new participants will attend a week-long leadership development training and a one-week leadership institute in NYC. They will also implement Action Learning Projects throughout the year through the support of coaches and accomplished Ghanaian women leaders.