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Transformative Leadership for Gender Equality - Abuja, Nigeria

11 May 2022

From 4th - 5th April 2022, UNGEI and Gender at Work organized a course on Transformative Leadership for Gender Equality in Abuja, Nigeria, as part of the Gender at the Centre Initiative (GCI). The objective of this programme was to build the capacity of senior staff, mid-level staff, and staff of Gender Units within the Ministries of Education through a transformative leadership programme. 30 participants of senior leadership positions, including permanent secretaries, directors, deputy directors, senior education officers and gender desk officers from the states and federal ministries of education in Nigeria attended the programme. Nosipho Twala and Nkechi Odinukwe of Gender at Work led the programme facilitation.


After my studies and training, I joined the Civil Service and was deployed to the Basic and Secondary Education Department where the Gender Unit is located. My journey into the GCI started with the online course on GRESP. The GRESP training qualified me as a member of the Community of Practice where they meet annually to share ideas on gender-related issues of their countries.

Helen Ifeoma Osu, Education Planner, Nigeria. A highlight from the ‘River of Life’ workshop session.

Through the programme, participants acquired new leadership concepts, tools and approaches to enhance their sense of agency as change agents on gender equality within their respective ministries. They explored existing gender norms within their contexts and organizational cultures, in addition to questioning their own gender biases, and devised action plans to address these. Using the Gender at Work Analytical framework as a tool, participants gained a deeper understanding on how to map opportunities and challenges to gender equality. Participants also shared personal stories and experiences of gender discrimination and exclusion in their homes, workplaces, organization and community. Some of the stories shared in groups were then used by the facilitators to guide participants through a conversation that allowed them to identify factors that could either promote or work to impede gender equality in and through education.


The presentations were hands-on, interactive and collaborative. The teaching raised deep, thoughtful questions about gender and power.

Dr. Hyginus Eze, Secretary of the Enugu State Universal Education Board. A reflection on the ‘Power and Privilege’ session.

Overall, the Transformative Leadership for Gender Equality programme supported participants to strengthen their commitment, capacity and confidence to lead for gender equality in and through education. At the end of the programme, participants shared a heightened desire to build alliances with community stakeholders to promote gender equality in and through education in Nigeria, and reported an increased understanding of Transformative Leadership principles and practice. 


From 18 - 20 May, UNGEI will be convening a Transformative Leadership Meeting for Ministers in Sierra Leone, and a training on SRGBV for MoE staff in Mozambique, from 23 - 27 May. For more information on the Gender at the Centre Initiative, please visit: 

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