Ghana’s Saajida Shiraz Named Among Africa’s Most Outstanding Emerging Women Leaders

Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa proudly announces the 2014 MILEAD (Moremi Initiative Leadership and Empowerment Development) Fellows. The twenty-six selected MILEAD Fellows represent Africa’s most promising young women leaders with the courage and commitment to lead and shape the future of Africa.

The Fellows were chosen through a highly competitive selection process with criteria based on their outstanding leadership promise, community service accomplishments, and commitment to the advancement of women in Africa.

Ms. Shiraz Saajida of Ghana was selected for her remarkable track record as a passionate advocate for the advancement of women and girls in Ghana. Saajida for the past several years has actively provided leadership in pertinent issues of the day ranging from women empowerment and HIV/AIDS to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and the political participation of women in Ghana.

In 2012, she graduated with a first class degree in Political Science from the University of Ghana, where she is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree in Political Science. She has served in many leadership capacities, including as the Women’s Commissioner of the National Northern Students Union in 2009; as Volta Hall JCR Legal Advisor from 2009-2010 and as the chairperson of the JCR constitutional review committee.

Saajida as the proud winner of the African Women’s Development Fund’s HawaYakubu Legacy Fund Essay competition and Scholarship Awards, founded the Gender Advocacy Groups in Senior High Schools in Tamale to mentor young women for leadership positions. She is also co-founder of Hopes and Dreams Foundation, a Non-Governmental organization engaged in social, political and economic sensitization, Health Education and Youth leadership

The 2014 MILEAD Fellows

Representing twenty-six African countries and the Diaspora, the 2014 Fellows epitomizea Pan-African diversity with multi-disciplinary academic, professional, and social backgrounds. Women’s economic empowerment, innovations inenvironmental justice, andpolitical participation provide proof to this new generation of African women leaders withbold and inspirational leadership needed to lift Africa to its rightful place on a global stage. The 2014 Fellows are between the ages of 19 and 25, but are already actively leading change on pertinent issues, both at a grassroots and international level. Here are the honoured2014Fellows:

Ms. MarliseMontcho [Benin]
Ms. Nicole KhumoSenuku [Botswana]
Ms. KadijaSimboro [Burkina Faso]
Ms. Ongbile Yoko Nadege[Cameroon]
Ms. Yelli M. Poda [Cote d’Ivoire]
Ms. Gloria RamazaniMikala [DRC]
Ms. Marta TsehaySewasew [Ethiopia]
Ms. Patience Annankra [Ghana]
Ms. Faye Jainaba [Gambia]
Ms. Shiraz Saajida [Ghana]
Ms. SianahNalikaDeShield [Liberia]
Ms. Patricia Chiumia [Malawi]
Ms. WillieeChonguiça [Mozambique]
Ms. Mofolasayo M. Adeniyi [Nigeria]
Ms. ChristelleKwizera [Rwanda]
Ms. YacineNdiaye [Senegal]
Ms. Irene Jacobs [Sierra Leone]
Ms. RahmaElmiDu’ale [Somalia]
Ms. Kim Harrisberg [South Africa]
Ms. Deborah Akech [South Sudan]
Ms. Jihad Abdelgadir [Sudan]
Ms. Catherine Fidelis [Tanzania]
Ms. Rim Bettaieb [Tunisia]
Ms. Faith Namalwa [Uganda]
Ms. TafadzwaBeteSasa [Zambia/ Zim]
Ms. Sinqobile S Ndlovu [Zimbabwe]
Ms. DelphineKonda [Diaspora/ Cameroon]
Ms. Bernice Ofori [Diaspora/USA]

From over 1,260 applications from 42 countries, the selected Fellows of 2014will become part of the growing MILEAD community of a powerful Pan-African network of change makers- a new generation of young women leaders. We salute all the applicants for their tremendous work and sacrifices, often under extremely difficult circumstances. Although only 28 candidates could be selected, we truly admire the courage and commitment of all of these leaders. We look forward to collaborating with all applicants through other platforms and future programs as we strive to create opportunities and attain dignity and justice for women in our communities and across the continent.

The 2014 MILEAD Fellows Institute The MILEAD Fellows will converge in Accra, Ghana to kick-start the 2014 MILEAD Leadership Institute- a three-week intensive training program, whichwill be hosted by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. The Institute will serve as a platform for Fellows to cross-examine concepts of leadership in a broad African context, cultivate the skills and experiences necessary to occupy and excel in leadership positions, and gain knowledge on cutting-edge issues critical to African women and their communities. In addition to knowledge building lectures, skills-training workshops, teambuilding activities, role plays and other interactive activities, Fellows will be mentored by experienced and accomplished women leaders who are committed to supporting and nurturing the next generation of African women leaders.

About The MILEAD Fellows Program
The MILEAD Fellows Program is a uniquely designed initiative committed to the long-term leadership development and promotion of Africa’s most promising young women leaders. Fellows go through a yearlong training and mentoring program, designed to build skills, strengthen networks, and support women’s leadership on critical issues. Over the course of the year, the selected Fellows progress through three phases.

The first identifies and prepares Fellows through leadership development, networking, mentoring, and training. The second promotes the visibility and accomplishments of Fellows through media coverage and networking. And lastly, the third phase supports Fellows through career planning, management, and access to opportunities and resources. Moreover, Fellows will benefit from a lifelong solidarity and support through the MILEAD Network.

About Moremi Initiative
Founded in 2004, The Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa strives to engage, inspire, and equip young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs, and change agents- leaders who can transform and change institutions that legitimize and perpetuate injustices and discrimination against women. We firmly believe that the full and active participation of women in leadership is a pre-requisite for positive change and development in Africa, and addresses the current problem of leadership imbalances. Moremi engages, inspires and equips a new generation of African women leaders.

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