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“To inspire a new generation of African women leaders, we must be intentional about preparing them for success.” – Yawa Hansen-Quao, Founder of Leading Ladies’ Network

Our Vision and Mission | Why Women's Leadership? | What Makes Us Different | Men's Involvement

Leading Ladies' Network (LLN) is a nonprofit that supports African women through programs and resources that enhance their development as leaders. LLN prepares women to occupy seats at every leadership table including home, businesses, government, civil society and grassroots movements.

LLN exists to close the women’s leadership gap in Africa by:

  • Filling the future leadership pipeline: LLN works to bridge the women’s leadership gap in Africa by creating space for ambitious girls to connect; hone their leadership potential; and receive support and mentorship before they transition into adulthood and form their lifelong values. Through Leading Lady Clubs (LLC’s), We currently provide over 600 girls aged 13 to 23 capacity-building and learning opportunities centered on personal development, skill-building, entrepreneurship and employability. Through LLC’s, our members build a track record of servant leadership in student government, campus organizations, and community initiatives. In 2012, LLN established The Haven; a safe meeting space for club members; a study hall for tutoring and a resource center featuring books, computers with internet access, (for research and learning how to type etc.) and a resident counselor for members in need of a listening ear.
  • Strengthen the capacity of existing women leaders: African women leaders progressing to more senior and strategic roles continue to face significant challenges, in a wide variety of sectors.  LLN offers leadership enhancement seminars and programs designed to addresses the knowledge and skills gaps that prevents women leaders from being effective in their leadership. In 2013, LLN launched the cohort-based StandOut Women’s Leadership Program; a specially designed enhancement program for professional women leaders in the private, public or community sectors.


Our Vision

We strive to develop and nurture a network of socially conscious women leaders that will bring positive transformation to Africa and the rest of the world.


Our Mission

We recruit, mentor, equip, and connect women in order to realize their leadership potential, and leverage them to improve their circumstances and the circumstances of others.

Our direct aim is to bridge the women's leadership gap that exists in Africa and to promote the models of servant leadership and social entrepreneurship among emerging women leaders. In doing so, we hope in turn to promote women’s equality more generally, impacting areas such as education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.


Why We Target Women

In recent years, philanthropy for and by women has intensified, accompanied by a growing recognition that philanthropic investments in women and girls are some of the best investments available to combat poverty in the developing world. Focusing resources and energy on women and girls has proven to contribute to the long-term health of families and communities; continuing to do so promises to address the root causes of social ills by transforming systems, attitudes, and social norms.

Systematized discrimination and violence against women and girls continues to siphon off societies’ best hope for overcoming poverty. Women are less likely to be educated, less likely to receive the healthcare and nutrition they need, and less likely to wield influence in their homes and communities than their male counterparts. As a result, they often have little or no voice in the social and political systems that shape their lives. Consider the following:

*Statistics compiled from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs – The World’s Women (2010), the World Health Organization – Women and Health (2009), the Inter-Parliamentary Union – Women in International Parliaments (2011), and the New York Times Magazine – “The Women’s Crusade” (2009)

Despite these hurdles, women demonstrate a remarkable ability to improve their own circumstances – and the circumstances of others – when given the tools and opportunities to do so. A woman with even some education is likely to have fewer children and a healthier family, and is better equipped to contribute to the local and global economy. She is less likely to become infected with HIV, less likely to be married off at a young age, and more likely to participate in political processes. Studies show that women in developing countries invest more of their income in the education, nutrition, and healthcare of their children, and are more likely to contribute to broader livelihood improvements in their communities, creating better opportunities for future generations.

Through women’s leadership development in Africa, LLN strives to promote healthier relationships, stronger families and communities, and a more just society for all. Working with women is both an end in itself, as well as a means to a more vibrant and equitable future. We base our work on the fundamental conviction that the entire world stands to benefit from the creative and productive potential of empowered women.


What Makes Us Different

In the wave of projects and funding measures targeting women in the developing world that has arisen in recent years, few focus on women in the educational system and professional endeavors. Our focus on girls and young women in the school system; and existing women leaders addresses a section of the population that top-down initiatives, like advocacy and policy efforts, and bottom-up measures, such as microfinance programs at the local level, tend to overlook. These women represent a vast store of potential that LLN promises to unleash because we believe when these women leaders emerge, they can leverage their leadership to improve the circumstances of others.

Our strategy is to empower women to make the changes they want to see in their own communities by rallying them to engage in social change projects as well as encouraging them to take on leadership roles within their communities- eventually impacting the issues traditionally targeted by NGO’s and international organizations in a more sustainable way. Our beneficiaries have the cultural know-how to address issues in an effective and appropriate manner; we seek to provide the tools and support they need to effect lasting social change.


Men's Involvement

The LLN movement is a collaborative effort that is organized around shared core values; we welcome men at our seminars and as associate members of our network. In 2014, LLN began a boys mentorship program to equip young men with the tools to challenge traditional definitions of masculinity. We believe that knowledge and understanding must be cultivated across gender lines in order to achieve positive social change. We encourage leaders that are bold but not offensive, assertive but not divisive, resolute but not dogmatic.


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