Given Africa’s skilled leadership gap in the social sector and small- and medium-sized businesses, strong leadership development training programs are essential to the continent’s social and economic progress.
An evaluation study of AAI’s signature Transformational Leadership Program, known as TLP, revealed that the training program is raising professional standards of the social sector and making a measurable impact in advancing sustainable development on the community and national levels.
Launched in 2007 with support from the Coca Cola Africa Foundation, TLP offers non-degree professional certificate and business degree training for African managers of Africa-based NGOs and small to medium-sized enterprises.
Released by AAI in an abridged version, the study The Transformational Leadership Program: An Evaluation of Impact in a Capacity Building Leadership Program for Africa’s Social Sector, said TLP graduates emerge from the training program with a “clear and strong sense” of how their work can and must impact their countries.
“This national level engagement, both formal and informal, represents an impact of the program that extends to the highest levels of society and trickles down through policy reform and legislation to affect every individual in each respective country,” the study cited.
Through the new skills and professional connections gained from TLP, the study noted that participants were able to identify and take on challenges in the broader civic life of their countries. TLP carries out its leadership development training through a consortium of world-class African business schools and service centers, including United States International University (USIU) in Kenya; the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan-Atlantic University (formerly Pan-African University) in Nigeria; and the University of Stellenbosch’s Business School Executive Development Ltd in South Africa.
Conducted by research team Sharon M. Ravitch, Ph.D. & Michael C. Reichert, Ph.D, the evaluation’s data was collected through surveys, questionnaires, individual interviews and focus groups with strategically selected stakeholder groups including university partner leaders, faculty, participants and alumni, women NGO and business leaders, among others.
Improving Local Communities
During site visits to communities served by TLP participant-led NGOs, the research team observed that the organizations, on a whole, are expanding and improving services to constituent communities and launching new initiatives to address emergent community issues.
Amini Kajunju, President and CEO of The Africa-America Institute, said the study’s findings confirm that African leadership development must be a high priority in Africa. “The training provided through AAI is making a significant impact on communities and providing unparalleled knowledge and skills development for African professionals in the business and social sectors.”
“Leadership development programs like the TLP need to be dramatically expanded to develop the next generation of leaders,” said Kajunju.
The 12-page study highlighted that the TLP training provides African leaders with professional development skills to improve the effectiveness and professional standards of their sector and fosters stronger connections between participants and experts and other professionals in their field.
According to the study, TLP graduates touted the significant personal and professional gains from engagement in the training program, which has parlayed into increased leadership acumen and capacity in focused and powerful ways.
“I am really transformed, the organization has been transformed,” a TLP alumnus from Nigeria exclaimed. “In one year, we see a difference between our job and what other NGOs do. Before the program there was no transparency or accountability… I want my staff to go, they need the knowledge; knowledge is power.”
Expanding Investments and Partnerships
AAI is launching a campaign to attract new partners and a $4 million investment to expand its programming to achieve a greater impact on African NGO and business leaders. The investment would enable AAI to quadruple its impact by training 1,000 additional leaders by 2017.
To date, nearly 400 African professionals from Botswana, Ghana, Gambia, Egypt, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe have benefited from TLP.
TO DOWNLOAD THE STUDY, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Learn more about the Transformational Leadership Program (TLP) and partnerships by visiting the TLP page.
This article first appeared on October 24, 2013 at www.aaionline.org