It is over two decades since Rwanda experienced one of the most brutal genocides in history. Now, as progress has been made in restoring law and order and improving governance, the country is emerging as a development and economic success story, not least because women are becoming increasingly more empowered. Rwanda has the highest share of women parliamentarians in the world at 68 percent.
However, only 8 percent of all leadership roles there are filled by women. Resonate’s Storytelling for Leadership, a training programme in the central African nation, is dedicated to teaching its women skills through public speaking: “If we want women to be at the forefront of a movement to build prosperity,” says founder Ayla Schlosser, “we must give them the tools to make their voices resonate.” The Californian knows that charm, humour and delivery are the attributes of a good storyteller that are crucial for any great leader and takes her inspiration from President Obama.
In 2008, the underdog in the race to lead the Democrats showed impressive oratory panache. Storytelling for Leadership is based on the work of Marshall Ganz’s grassroots platform behind that ‘Yes we can!’ campaign: “Organisers recruited local volunteers,” he says, “trained them in leadership, assigned them goals, provided them with the tools to mobilise the voters themselves, and coached them to success.” Resonate’s programme wants to empower women at a local level to lead Rwanda’s next generation – applying for a scholarships, becoming community leaders and running for government.
Ayla Schlosser, Founder