EJS Presidential Center Prepares Next Generation of Women Leaders

Madam Sirleaf: “I am so glad that under our program, we decided based upon our resources that we will annually increase the number of women.”

... Concludes second cohorts of Amujae Initiative forum in Monrovia

More and More, women are paving the way for young girls to become leaders in their own communities or in other public fora.

At this momentous time, the Amujae Initiative forum, which is the flagship program of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center (EJS Center) for Women and Development, has concluded its second cohort for 30 women from across the African continent to take up roles and excel in the echelons of public leadership, and to bring other women along.

The forum, which started from October 29th to 31, 2021, at resort in Margibi County, was held under the theme, “Building Resilience During Uncertain Times.”

Drawn from a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds, the Amujae Leaders include members of parliament, a governor, a mayor, and several government ministers from 16 countries across Africa.

They were selected through a rigorous application process from hundreds of applicants and they each have a track record of demonstrable achievements in public life and a drive to uplift African women and girls. 

Cross section of Amujae leaders in photo with Madam Sirleaf and other mentors

Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and founder of the EJS Center, who spoke to journalists at a press conference, said that she is committed to doing what she could to promote women to leadership in Liberia and across Africa.

According to her, the vision and mission of Amujae is to promote women who have already committed themselves to leadership, or have already achieved to a certain level in leadership but to help them excel to higher position in leadership or make it to the perk of leadership.

“We do believe that women leadership where there is certain value to leadership that has respect for human rights, ensuring that there is full equality and equity in the world.

“I am so glad that under our program, we decided based upon our resources that we will annually increase the number of women. I can’t tell you how pleased I’m because they all have leadership in their own rights. I learnt from them as much as I say, I am a leader. They are so much that they have done in a way that they change my life,” she said. 

Madam Sirleaf continued: “So, we have a target of 15 women a year. That was our first cohort that started, when we launched on March 8, 2020, and now we have the second cohort where we have covered about 16 African countries with 30 women and mentors are those who have excel in leadership.”

For her part, Deborah A. Malac, former United States Ambassador to Liberia; Board chair of the EJS Center told journalists that she was very glad to participate and to actually sit on the sideline at the Amujae forum to learn and be inspired by the amazing women leaders from across the continent.

“As madam Sirleaf said — I think I have I learned a lot from them. I have the privilege to see firsthand the type of inspiration that Madam Sirleaf had for young women in Liberia, to see their vision start to come to light, creating the next wave of women leaders, not just for Liberia, West Africa but across the continent is something that is very inspiring and absolutely necessary.

“As chair of the EJS Foundation in the US, we are setup to support this great endeavor in whatever will we can to ensure that the foundation and her legacy does not die, that is carries on and is transformational for the country and Africa.”

Also speaking, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, Executive Director for the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Center, reiterated that the mission of the center is to support women who are already in leaders in their own rights and “we are there to provide them not financial support but, on any journey that there are going to be obstacles in there on the way and we are there to ensure that they continue their goal.”

According to her, the Amujae Initiative provides them with some of the women who know what the issues are and provide them the type of mentoring or coaching on their needs. 

“We are also there to challenge the barriers that prevent women from getting to where they are supposed to go. So, we are there to support and there to challenge that is our mission. 

“The vision for this mission is that when we do that there will be more women position for women leadership—that means that there will be more voices that represent both men and women, and are able to address issues that affects them. That can only happen, when women voices are held in leadership when they speak,” she said. 

Amujae Leaders 2021

The Amujae 2021 Leaders including the following personalities: Tejumola Abisoye, Development Expert, Lawyer, Youth Advocate, Nigeria; Farida Bedwei, Tech Entrepreneur, Disability Rights Advocate, Author, Ghana, and Dagmawit Moges Bekele, Minister of Transport, Member of House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia.

Others include Susan Grace Duku, Activist, Refugee,  Advocate, South Sudan; Dr. Yakama Manty Jones, Economist, Lecturer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Sierra Leone; Isata Kabia, Social Entrepreneur, former MP, Minister; Sierra Leone; Bogolo Kenewendo, Economist, Former Minister, Gender and Youth Activist, Botswana; Eng. Ghada Labib, Deputy Minister for Institutional Development at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Egypt.

The rest includes Angèle Makombo, Political Advisor, Party Leader, – Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Fatoumatta Njai, Parliamentarian, Women’s Leadership Advocate, The Gambia;

Ifeyinwa Maureen Okafor, Government Advisor, Corporate Director, Nigeria; Umra Omar, Humanitarian, Community Development Strategist, Gubernatorial Candidate, Kenya; Dr. Adaeze Oreh, Doctor, Healthcare Advocate, Author, Speaker, Nigeria; Telia Urey, Businesswoman, Politician, Activist, Liberia, and Anne Waiguru, Economist, Governor, Kenya.

 About the EJS Center

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) was founded in 2018 to be a catalyst for political and social change across Africa by helping unleash its most abundant latent power — its women.

The EJS Center aims to amplify the voice of women and girls in all spheres of life by increasing the representation of women in public service leadership roles in Africa.