By Kristie McClean and Pat Hughes
There is an African proverb that says, “When you pray, move your feet.” To this, these women might add, “And link arms, join hands and share a meal!” Ugandan Country Convener Betty Kagoro sums up the potential for women’s leadership: “Experiences across the globe show the same unforgettable lessons – when women’s capacity is enhanced, the entire community is enhanced. Enhancing women’s leadership competencies will lead to social justice, income generating projects, making healthy decisions, and serving as role models to younger women.”
This Project has shown us that anything is possible when we reconnect with our inner strengths and instincts, and point those toward something we care about. When we embody our own power and strength and give ourselves the credit and confidence we deserve, we will discover additional reservoirs of grace. With this inner strength we can show up more wholly and fully to support the needs of those around us.
This Project has also shown that when our relationships are strong we have a greatly expanded capacity. Many hands make light work! All relationships need nurturing and maintenance – some more than others – and it requires a conscious effort on our part to network, listen, and be willing to learn from others who think and act differently than we do. By making the effort to reach out to those whom we don’t know well or to those whose viewpoints we don’t understand, we can re-shape our own perspectives and build bridges with new friends and advocates that can open up whole new realms of possibility.
This Project has shown that when we have the courage to birth the ideas in our heads and hearts out into the light of day, marvelous things can happen. Each of us has a unique perspective, and communicating our visions clearly and effectively – and making the effort to listen and seek to understand the ideas and visions of others – allows many more thoughts and voices to come to the table. We as women realize that when our communications are easy, our hearts are lighter.
Finally, this Project has shown that when we realize the universality of our strengths and our struggles it bonds us together. We can sense that others are more alike than different, and, regardless of our geography or circumstance, we’re each programmed to seek happiness and possibility for our families and communities. By joining together and participating in our women’s circles we can honor where each of us stands and where each of us longs to be going. Someone’s need is another person’s strength or area of expertise. And we celebrate, like gems strung on a necklace, our individual and shared triumphs and the tools we use to keep moving forward.
We invite Project participants and readers to reflect on what you have gained and learned from the conversations offered in this Capacity Building Guide. We invite you to reflect on what you learn from others when you are in conversation about what matters. We invite you to form conversation circles of your own, to discover what you can learn from your friends and neighbors about the challenges you could tackle together and the changes for good you can accomplish, here and now.
On-going information about the Project as it emerges may be found at the website:
http://www.womenleadingtheway.com/womens-leadership-project.html. This link on the Antioch University Seattle web site also provides additional information: