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Advancing Women’s Leadership in the Economy


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August 17, 2009 — In Equatorial Guinea, Carmen Botaho Siboko is president of a cooperative of seamstresses that make uniforms for local village schools. In Brazil, Valeria Lopes Moreno is working improve economic opportunities for Brazil’s at-risk youth. And, in Colombia, Alicia del Socorro Meneses is funding local projects to develop rural areas.

Though their backgrounds are quite different, these women are all determined to improve the economic prospects for families in their communities. But, all face similar obstacles to achieving their goals. On a professional level, most lack opportunities to develop their management skills or mentors to help guide their way as they seek to improve their organization’s effectiveness.

Carmen, Valeria and Alicia have joined 24 other determined women leaders in Brazil for CEDPA’s latest Global Women in Management workshop. The four-week program improves the skills of leaders working to advance economic participation in their societies.

The participants have come from 12 Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries to increase their skills in leadership, strategic planning, communication, advocacy and fundraising. They will leave the workshop with strategic plans that will help them apply their learnings in their day-to-day work.

Global Women in Management participants working on a group exercise.
In the workshops participatory learning environment, participants learn not only from the facilitators, but also from each other.

Alicia del Socorro Meneses says that her workshop experience will help her realize her dream to broaden her organization’s impact in Colombia.

“In 10 years, I want the microcredit fund Semilla de Mostaza (Mustardseed) to have a network of offices throughout Colombia that promote local projects and give the local entrepreneurs autonomy, a tool for social and political organization, and a sense of solidarity,” Alicia said.

Others have plans to build the internal capacity of their organizations.

“I want my organization to run better and be successful, so we can not only help empower our seamstresses, but also help other people in need,” said Carmen Botaho Siboko.

Participants are paired with a professional coach upon completing the Global Women in Management course so they can receive guidance from a seasoned professional as they apply the lessons they learned. CEDPA’s alumni coaching program matches each participant with a CEDPA alumna who will coach them for a year, helping them to stay on track with achieving their goals and achieving their plans.

CEDPA has over 5,200 alumni in more than 150 countries around the world. Since 2005, the Global Women in Management program has been generously funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation’s Educating Women and Girls program, which has sponsored over 250 participants. In 2009, ExxonMobil is sponsoring four Global Women in Management workshops, including programs in Brazil, Egypt, Cameroon and at CEDPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about CEDPA’s training programs.