The Young African Women Congress (YAWC) is the flagship event of the ExLA Group Gender Programme and it brings together over 200 young African women from across the continent in a 5-day residential engagement. Activities which take place within the period include keynote presentation, panel discussions, group discussions and presentations, brainstorming sessions, career fairs, survey among others which ultimately produces a congress whitepaper for major stakeholders.
On the side, there are exhibition stands of products and services, fitness for health sessions, health screening, pitching for budding projects and businesses of which have been initiated by the participants.
There is also a full-day trip within or outside the host city to discover the history, beauty and awe of the host country.
The maiden edition of YAWC took place in December, 2016 in Accra, Ghana. Its main collaborators were Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) of African Union (AU) and UN Women through the West and Central African Regional Office (WCARO).
The second edition also to be held in Accra, Ghana promises to be rigorous and more impactful with an outline of exciting new segments, with keen focus on projecting and promoting the effectiveness of women in leadership.
The vision for this programme is to nurture the young African woman for active leadership that would inure to their personal as well as national development by removing/reducing/eliminating all hindrances of women leadership.
The Young African Women Congress (YAWC) provides the context within which young women get to meet and interact with accomplished women leaders of different sectors of life as they obtain insight to develop their own path to greatness. Through keynote presentations, plenary discussions, speeches of personal perspectives as well as career fairs, a milieu is established for delegates to have their concerns addressed while re-strategizing for greater exploits.
The YAWC Mentorship Programme is an extension of the career fair session of the bigger umbrella. The career fair sessions provide young delegates deeper insights into the various fields of endeavour they have already chosen to embark on. Nonetheless, in order to ensure that the flame of awareness ignited during YAWC congresses remain perpetual, every delegate is recruited into the YAWC Mentorship Programme (voluntarily) for a period of twelve (12) months where she is assigned to an accomplished modern woman leader in her chosen field of endeavour as an influence in making informed choices.
The YAWC Mentorship Programme will produce at least 400 well groomed women leaders at the turn of every decade across Africa who will be directly involved in the development choices of the continent.
Among other important goals, the programme seeks:
- To nurture young women leaders through a more direct supervision
- To monitor progress of delegates of YAWC congresses
- To create a sense of unity of purpose for developing Africa as a continent through empowering women
- To help delegates secure scholarships for higher learning/exchange programmes where necessary
- To assist delegates to secure funding for start-ups and expansion of existing businesses
One of the most refreshing things about the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) is the commitment by the team to carry out to the latter, recommendations which are proffered from various interactions during the congress. Post-YAWC projects take place in a community-based/grassroots approach.
The projects rely immensely on the efforts of volunteers and donor funding to carry out blue prints to bring real value to the congress whitepaper.
Over the years ExLA Group Gender Programme has come to be known for its role in advancing human rights and promoting landmark achievements of women in various sectors of the continent. Through press releases, arguments are advanced and the appropriate quarters called upon to take the necessary actions. These acts of advocacy are usually in harmony with the ideals of YAWC and are usually in preparation towards the event or based on outcomes of the event.