The Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI) is a feminist centre of excellence where adolescent girls and young women, aged between 11-35 years, are equipped with knowledge and skills, which enable them to be transformative leaders. Since its inception and registration in 2002, YWLI has developed a feminist leadership curriculum for adolescent girls, led in creating safe spaces through unconventional feminist platforms, and embraced and collaborated with embryonic groups to champion change and elevate the voices of young women.
Some innovative programmes and approaches that facilitate empowerment and development of leadership among young women that have been used by YWLI include:
- A Bi-annual Feminist Leadership Institute;
- Self-empowerment sessions;
- Feminist Internships; and
- Feminist Leadership Training.
We have been at the forefront in challenging retrogressive cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation, child, early and forced marriages, honour killings, and shaming, which relegate the role of women as leaders. Consequently, YWLI has pushed for laws and policies at the national, regional and international levels including, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women empowerment, and gender equality. YWLI acknowledges diversity and respect for human rights and recognizes that adolescent girls and young women’s issues cannot be addressed in silos. We continue to engage the Kenyan government and policy makers to address young women’s and girls’ needs comprehensively.
At YWLI, we acknowledge that young women need to be empowered and educated on their rights thus making them able to advocate for the actualization of linkages between national policies and international frameworks. Our mission of nurturing leadership in young women and creating spaces for their participation in policy processes is being accomplished mainly through:
- Equipping them with feminist leadership skills;
- Creating spaces that facilitate them to lead social change; and
- Sharing information and resources to build their leadership capacity.
As a centre of knowledge on the rights of young women in Africa and the Diaspora, YWLI produces formal research reports, academic papers for publication in journals, and blogs.