ICIMOD staff participate in AWARD Women's Leadership and Management Course

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Dr Mandira Singh Shrestha, Programme Coordinator of the HYCOS Initiative and Senior Water Resources Specialist, and Nira Gurung, Senior Communications Officer, attended the AWARD Women's Leadership and Management Course for Partner Organizations 2–8 June 2013 in Diani, Kenya. The training was hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre. Altogether, there were 29 participants from diverse backgrounds – scientists, communication; administration, finance and travel – representing 13 organizations. The course was conducted by four qualified trainers.

Since 2011, ICIMOD has been sending representatives to the AWARD Women’s Leadership Management Course for Partner Organizations. The course is organized annually by the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) to encourage, empower, and build the capacity of women professionals to perform better in their workplace. Eight women professionals from ICIMOD have attended the AWARDS course.

Learning from the training

The women’s leadership course introduced theory, and then provided participants with the opportunity to put the theory into practice in an all women environment. The training methods used included group work; hands-on-team exercises, role playing and theatre, and interaction sessions.

A variety of valuable tools – including the 360 Feedback Inventory, Myers Briggs Type Inventory, and Lenses of Diversity – were shared during the course that could help the individuals participating develop managerial and leadership skills while at the same time learning to appreciate their own values, those of their team members, and improving and overcoming shortcomings in an amiable manner – all crucial in assuring an effective and efficient working environment. Some skills developed included facilitation, providing valuable feedback, effective team building, assertiveness, conflict management, and ways to exert strategic influence. Thought provoking and insightful articles were also provided to the participants, including Working with Diversity: A framework for action by CGIAR Gender and Diversity Program and What leaders really do by John P Kotter; What makes a leader? by Daniel Goleman; and Personal Renewal by John W. Gardner. Networking through various types of group work, team building exercises, partner assignments, and informal sessions was also an important part of the course. 

Recommendations

  • The leadership and management training could benefit both women and men to improve their management and leadership skills. 
  • For women professionals this training can be a change agent.
  • Women professionals from all different fields can be included in this training to empower them and build their capacity
  • The training should be tailor made for the HKH region, which is under discussion at ICIMOD