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A historic She Leads learning event

June 22nd, 2023

A historic She Leads learning event that fostered insightful discussions, reflections, and valuable learnings took place in Uganda in June 2023.

She Leads GYW advocates attending the launch event


The She Leads Joint Learning Event took place from 13th to 15th June 2023 in Kampala, Uganda. More than 55 participants, including members from the country, regional, and head office teams, local partners, and GYW advocates from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mali, Lebanon and Jordan graced the occasion.

During the event, participants engaged in a multitude of activities designed to foster knowledge sharing and collaboration. They had the opportunity to share their personal experiences, celebrate their achievements, discuss the challenges they faced, and highlight the good practices and lessons they learned during the first half of the She Leads program. This exchange of knowledge and insights served as a catalyst for growth and progress within the program. Reflecting on the current results, progress, and evidence generation, of the She Leads program was another crucial aspect of the event.

Learning event day one

Day one of the learning event kicked off with an opportunity for teams to connect and get to know each other. Notable guests, including the Regional Director Raphael Kariuki and the Ambassador, delivered powerful and inspiring remarks, setting the stage for the event's success.

In her keynote opening speech, H.E. Karin Boven, the Ambassador of the Netherlands Embassy in Uganda, acknowledged the potential of GYW in shaping socio-economic development and challenging social norms that perpetuate gender inequality. She emphasized that the effective participation of GYWs in decision-making processes is crucial for creating a more inclusive society that fulfils their interests and desires.

After the first session, GYW advocates from Uganda, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Kenya and Jordan, together with the country teams, shared their achievements and proud moments in advocacy, as well as the good practices, challenges and lessons learnt.

Learning event day two

On the second day, participants were divided into various groups and had an opportunity to go to visit Girls and Young Women (GYW) in Kampala and Bugiri.

During the field visit to Kampala, participants had engaging interactions with the GirlUp Initiative team and GYW, who have made significant progress in their advocacy efforts. They have been actively engaged in dialogues with various stakeholders including the Women’s Parliamentary group and the office of the Mayor of Kampala to raise awareness on issues affecting them and advocate for change. The GYW have also been working with the City’s leadership on The Kampala Capital City (Person with Disability) Ordinance 2021 which aims to enhance the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. The team also had an opportunity to visit one of the safe spaces where GYW shared their IGA activities which are part of the program’s sustainability activities.

During the field visit to Bugiri, participants interacted with the Mucobadi team and GYW. The team took part in the quarterly meetings held between GYW and duty bearers at the district level, where emerging issues were presented and progress in addressing them was reviewed. Additionally, participants had the privilege of listening to GYW who have conducted various activities such as community dialogues, dramas and public debates to sensitise parents and local leaders on various issues such as child marriage and teenage pregnancy. GYW and male champions have been able to fight for their rights and are more involved in eliminating negative social norms that deter them from participating in decision-making spaces. Their advocacy work has yielded positive results, including the passing of a bylaw protecting girls in the markets and more girls enrolling back in school. The team also visited their safe space, where GYW support each other and learn how to make mats, baskets, and books.

Learning event day three

On the final day of the She Leads Learning event, teams shared the experiences, best practices and insights from the field visits specifically focusing on GYW-led advocacy, movement building and sustainability.

Thereafter, an insightful session on building a social movement was held, followed by a reflection session on the effective collaboration within the She Leads programme and an overview of the key learnings and key takeaways.

Speaking of their experiences GYW advocates from Ethiopia and Uganda stated:

¨As it was my first time leaving for abroad, I have learnt from the event that l am able to see what countries have done differently from us and what we have done differently from them. l took a lesson from the problems that we need to fix in our country. In addition, I have got an opportunity to get to know other young women and shared experiences. I have also learnt a lesson on the importance of working with different government institutions.¨ Aster Kebede, 24 years old, She Leads GYW Advocate, Ethiopia.

¨I learnt how collaborations yield quick results. I learnt that we ought to involve local leaders to influence change and that GYW's fully own the She Leads programme.  I learnt how to use media for advocacy such as Twitter, radio, and Tv. I learnt that advocacy works hand in hand with economic employment, and more about movement building ie strengthening GYW-led groups. I was truly inspired by the film industry shared by Gyw from Kenya.¨Resty Kagoya, 12 years old, She Leads GYW Advocate, Uganda.

Overall, the She Learning event was a resounding success. Throughout the event, it was evident that Girls and Young Women possess immense power and potential. They play a critical role in amplifying their advocacy work and driving their own advocacy agenda for change. 

This learning event holds great significance as it serves as a crucial platform for building and documenting knowledge and best practices. The insights gained during the event will inform future program decisions, ensuring that the voices of Girls and Young Women are not only heard but also valued in decision-making processes.


She Leads Learning event

GYW in the safe spaces
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