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Why the STAWISHA approach?
A realization of the personal barriers keeping women from participating fully as leaders in their community was a path that that led the Women Empowered for Leadership (WE4L) program into finding ways to support women’s emotional and social well being through the Stawisha approach.
“Women usually juggle many tasks between the workplace and home, yet and they are expected to cope with these different roles without complaining. Since I began working on WE4L in 2016, I have heard stories of how women have forgone opportunities for career advancement because they could not balance working life with the demands of their homes and families.” Tambudzai Madzimure.
Taking the STAWISHA approach to the women
Between March and August 2018 WE4L developed the Stawisha Women’s Leadership approach to support female leaders. Tambudzai Madzimure, Hivos’ Project Manager for WE4L Zimbabwe, coordinated the ‘Realizing my full potential’ curriculum of Stawisha and participated in its development from inception.
The Stawisha approach opens up space for women to appreciate and celebrate who they are. It inspires women to re-activate hopes and dreams for who they could still become; affirm the leadership roles they already hold in families, churches and communities. The full experience aims to challenge women to take up leadership roles in other spheres.
The effects of the STAWISHA approach
“The most significant changes that happened to me during the process of developing the leadership approach, is that I am now able to differentiate between things that I can change within my sphere of influence and how to work around those that I cannot,” Tambudzai shared.
Finding balance in your work, family and personal spheres is a struggle for most. Knowing when to step aside, ask for help and let someone else step in is particularly difficult for women. Women have to perform well and prove themselves in the office, be a mother at home and keep a cool, calm and collected demeanor through it all. Stawisha empowers participants to pay attention to issues of wellness which are critical if women are to succeed.
Tambudzai got to experience the full effect of the Stawisha approach through the WE4L partners when she co-facilitated her first 3-Day Stawisha workshop in Harare which started on the 6th of May 2019. 25 women went through the training that proved to be life changing.
Stawisha borrows from the Look in Look out (LILO) approach and takes the participant through a journey that rediscovers their past and projects into their achievable future. Stawisha is a lifestyle, best experienced through sharing it with others around you.
Here were some of their reactions after the workshop;
“I have realized that I cannot tell others what I want when I do not know what it is I want either,” Kudzanai.
“As I walk out of this place, I am a changed person, a changed leader, a changed employee,” Sipatisiwe.
“When I see I easily forget, but when I do I remember. That is the beauty of this process,” Juliet.
WE4L is a program that seeks to increase women’s participation in decision making. We aim to increase the number of women leaders in both national and sub-national levels.