Kenya – Leadership Academy



Kenya – Leadership Academy

‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.’

  • Developing a training with and for the community leaders that reflects on current beliefs and behaviours, shifts mindset and approach to how to deal with challenges, breaks down old patterns and creates new habits, and is focused on united visions and actions
  • Coaching leaders from our projects with focus on personal as well as team development, and for them to then expand their skills to training leaders in the community
  • Focus on the fundamentals of change management which includes mindset, communication, ownership and actions

For many years the focus for my work in Kenya was on the projects we helped to initiate and implement. We are very successfully with how projects are managed by our local partners. Over time we have stepped back more and more and given the responsibility to our partners, trusting that they will find the solutions and make the decisions that are right for their community. We are helping them to achieve their vision and have become mentors more than project managers ourselves.

We still work closely together which becomes especially valuable when we are facing challenges. May these be project related because a plan can only foresee so much and there are always circumstances and changes that come up during the project that need to be resolved in the moment, or may these be more personal issues related to the people we work with or that are involved or affected by the projects.
When we faced another challenge the beginning of last year that not only affected the relationship with the funders but had a serious impact in the community we realised that it was not enough to only focus on project implementation but that they also needed to learn and teach skills of how to address and deal with challenges. Within their projects but most of all within their community, as well as in communication with their project partners.

First I started to focus on our project partners themselves and help them understand how a challenge would affect them personally and their own reactions, emotions and their perception of the situation to then be able to separate between them personally and the project. They learn that their own feelings and experiences matter and how to pay attention and deal with them. But also how not to have them influence the projects or their decision if it will not benefit the main vision. Their responsibility then as leaders is to address and resolve these challenges within their project which often requires them to first bring the team together to address how they understand and feel about the situation and help them join together in their vision and actions moving forward. This then also applies to how they address it with the community and help them deal with the challenge in a way that does not create division and mistrust but again helps them stay join in their vision for what they want to achieve for their community and how they deal with people and situations that threaten that vision.

In the leadership academy we have started to discuss and reflect on typical behaviours, beliefs and perceptions of the community like the storytelling or competition as examples and how much that impacts the community and can especially become a challenge when issues come up in projects or with people connected to projects. They learn to understand how these behaviours are deeply rooted in the community and how each and everyone plays a role and has a responsibility in it, how these stories often oppose the values that are being promoted and compromise the vision the community has for a better future. They also learn through discussion, role plays, and various other methods and tools how to find solutions and how to create the change within their community.

In the same way we started the discussion on trust, transparency, accountability, sustainability and ownership.

The leadership academy now also continues on its own by the leaders within the projects passing on their learnings and experiences with the next level leaders within their teams and within the community.