MONROVIA : Noted for championing women leadership across the African continent, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Center of Excellence, EJS Center for short, has made a number of significant strides in amplifying the voices of African women and girls in every sphere of life. As the Center heads into the second half of 2023, The Analyst follows its achievements in promoting women’s leadership and equal representation across the continent.
According to the EJS Center latest press release which highlights the key milestones that have marked the first half of 2023, these achievements represent the width and breadth of the work undertaken along with many dedicated partners in Africa and beyond, to guarantee equal representation for women at the highest levels of leadership. Ranging from publishing sector reports, to continued support and mentorship of women leaders, the milestones are a reflection of The Center’s ambition to see even more African women succeed in decision-making roles, and to access the support, knowledge-base, and tools that allow them to create positive change in all fields of public and private life.
During the period under review, the Center published a landmark ‘Shifting the Landscape: 2022 in Review’ report which was unique in its approach, giving voice to remarkable African women leaders who are at the forefront of public governance.
“The latest edition of this annually published report highlights women leaders who have made their mark in public leadership and pushed boundaries in order to drive progress toward justice and equity. It presents some of the most prominent African women who have recently marked exceptional achievements in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
“We invite you to read first-hand accounts of the successes and challenges of women leading high-level careers in public governance in Africa. From cabinet ministers and chief justices to members of parliament and county representatives, these women leaders have had a transformative impact on public life in their countries. The report is also a reference for those who wish to chart the recent progress in women’s representation in all branches of government across Africa.
“This year, we are also complementing the annual ‘Shifting the Landscape’ report with a special publication that highlights the women who are pioneering climate action on the continent. The ‘Shapers and Shakers on Climate Change’ report offers a glimpse into the work of remarkable women who are changing the rules of the game when it comes to confronting climate change in Africa.
“Through this report, we aim to highlight women and girls at the forefront of climate decisions that will affect the future of the continent. We believe that they are key contributors to the solutions and innovations that help confront the climate crisis and that take into account the needs and realities on the ground. This is why this report spotlights leading women’s voices that are shaping discussions and shaking up communities in response to the climate emergency.
“We are delighted to present this report to you as a tribute to these women changemakers and to the millions of other women and girls whose daily actions contribute to mitigating and reversing the effects of this overwhelming crisis.
“Each year, we also publish the progress that we are making in our mission to advance women’s public leadership in Africa. The latest publication, the ‘2022 Progress Report,’ offers a retrospective view of our most recent achievements and of how our work continues to grow in scope and reach.
“Here, you will uncover the latest progress of our flagship program – the Amujae Initiative – as well as the significant growth in our media presence, in addition to pioneering projects that we successfully launched across the continent,” the EJS Center said.
The Amujae Leadership Forum
Earlier this year, the EJS Center proudly announced the 2023 Amujae Leaders – a new group of 12 accomplished women leaders from 10 countries across Africa. By joining the Amujae Initiative, these talented women became part of a growing support network including the first two cohorts of Amujae Leaders and a distinguished group of Amujae coaches.
Taking their first step along this exciting new journey, the 2023 Amujae Leaders took part in their first Amujae Leadership Forum in Nairobi, Kenya in April. Through a series of workshops and discussions, these talented women reflected on their individual journeys as public leaders, and accessed new opportunities to benefit from the guidance and experience of Amujae coaches and their fellow Amujae Leaders from previous cohorts.
The resultant video offers inspiring perspectives from founder, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Amujae coaches, and the Amujae Leaders on their experience at the 2023 Amujae Leadership Forum.
Harvard Library Partnership
Recently, the Center announced a new partnership with Harvard Library to steward and provide access to former President Sirleaf’s personal and professional archives.
Through this innovative partnership agreement, the personal archives that document former President Sirleaf’s life before, during, and after her twelve-year tenure as President of Liberia will be made publicly discoverable and accessible online. The archives will also be available at the Harvard University Archives reading room for a period of at least 25 years, with a plan to return the collection to the EJS Center in Liberia at a point in the future.
Commenting on this new partnership and her long relationship with Harvard University, former President Sirleaf said:
“Having my papers at a premier higher-education institution will make them much more available around the world.
I am pleased that the digitization will enable researchers from anywhere in the world, including Liberia and Africa, to access my papers and help them carry out their work – whether they are seeking leadership positions, studying history, or looking to write a book on me or another African leader.”
The partnership will bring former President Sirleaf’s legacy to life and help to preserve it for the benefit of future generations in Liberia and beyond.
Meanwhile, the EJS Center founder, former President Sirleaf has been travelling for engagements spanning Africa, Europe, and North America. Most recently, she joined Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, at the Global Black Economic Forum (GBEF) in New Orleans, Louisiana. There, former President Sirleaf reiterated her commitment to championing gender equality and women’s leadership in Africa, and celebrated the announcement of the Global Black Economic Forum’s support of the EJS Center, pledging $100,000 over the course of three years.
The EJS Center is currently partnering with IDinsight, following the successful launch of the West Africa section of the EJS Center’s Data Hub for Women’s Leadership in Public Governance in 2022.
“As an evaluation partner, IDinsight will be engaging in research-gathering activities, with outputs that include expanding the Data Hub by gathering and incorporating data on women in leadership in public service from more African countries; and conducting a rigorous landscape assessment to map organizations that address the subject in the region in order to enable a better understanding of the state of women’s participation in public service in Africa.,” the Center said.
Not to be left out of the information superhighway loop, the EJS Center unveiled a brand-new EJS Center website, featuring an easier-to-navigate layout and a more user-centered design. The site is can be assessed on the EJS Center: www.ejscenter.org.