Wednesday, April 4, 2012

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Eye on iCON

When the Global Women’s Water Initiative organizes a training in a region, we identify a strong partner who will be our local host. They are GWWIs most important lens into the intricacies of the regional issues that women face. They also offer their expertise into the appropriate design of the program and ensure that we follow all cultural protocols with respect and reverence. In 2011, GWWI invited iCON Women and Young People’s Leadership Academy ( , a Ugandan civil society organization offers transformational leadership trainings to unleash the entrepreneurial leadership potential of women and young people (male and female) who have been socially marginalized to fully take the lead in developing innovative approaches to address poverty, violence, gender inequality and gender inequity in all areas of society.

Debbie Kaddu Serwadda, Executive Director, iCON
GWWI believes that technology implementation is only a piece of the puzzle. Technology solutions will not replicate themselves! Programs work because of people, not because of technology. Developing leadership is a key initiative in GWWIs program design. Debbie Kaddu-Serwadda, iCON Executive Director, spearheaded the leadership sessions at our training, greeting us every morning as “Water Champions”!  Our first course of action was to claim our leadership names!  You can do this too! Take the first letter of your name and find a word that starts with that letter that most exemplifies one of your best leadership qualities! For the rest of the workshop, we called each other by our leadership names to give vibration and voice to each of our sisters to acknowledge that we see them as powerful leaders. We had names like “Daring Dade” and “Inspirational Irene”!  Can you imagine how confident and relevant you feel when other people are seeing and acknowledging you as one of your most powerful qualities?
Ruth records her SWOTs for display
This set the tone for the entire week. Women had arrived feeling a bit intimidated – some feeling a little scared because they had never built anything before, others fearful about speaking in public. Debbie created an incredible safe and powerful space for the women to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) as leaders, a process that brought a profound sense of vulnerability and motivation. Each woman recorded and displayed their own SWOTS on poster paper and hung them all around our conference space.One of the most powerful moments during the training was the “gallery walk” where the women learned each others SWOTs. The women identified other women who had strengths where they themselves felt weak and connected to them for inspiration and support. By the middle of the week women were laying bricks, singing, collaborating, dreaming and standing up in front of their groups boldly declaring their vision for their community!

Elizabeth declaring that one of her strengths is having big ears to listen

As you’ve seen from the blogs, the women are stepping into their leadership with grace and power! Thanks to Debbie and iCON for unleashing our power!

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