Call for applications -Training course on Feminist Leadership – Zimbabwe


Course Description

This training course on feminism and public policy provides a broad conceptual and practical understanding of feminism by locating it within in a pan-African discourse. Engaging in discursive debates and interactive analyses, it is envisioned that participants will be able to redefine the idea of feminism to symbolise young women coming together to share knowledge, skills and good practice, so that they may lead fulfilling lives with self-assurance and passion. By understanding the dynamics of gender inequality and crafting advocacy strategies aimed at promoting women’s rights, interests and issues it is hoped that the targeted advocates will embrace the vitality of being female and championing their cause through robust network connections to future generations.

Why is this course necessary?

Quite often women as radicals or reformers or as objects of reform have always differed over ideology and strategy. Feminists have also always vigorously contested the effects and policies aimed at ameliorating women’s oppression. This course therefore provides a forum to critically examine some of these differences by looking at the historical tenets of feminism and its evolutionary progression, feminist perspectives to politics, power and power relations, patriarchy, gender-based violence, sexuality, women’s rights and justice. The course further analyses the claim that public policy is gendered, implying that public policies affect men and women differently and that men and women participate differently in public policy making processes. The course takes public policy as both an important component in the construction of gender differences and as a site where gender is critiqued, resisted and renegotiated. Thus, the training course explores these claims through a feminist lens and engaging in the analyses of the impact of public policy on women’s issues.

Participants will examine feminist activism, a grass-roots movement approach that seeks to cross boundaries based on social class, race, culture and religion. Locating these issues in historical contexts will also help in de-mystifying the negative connotations attached to feminism and feminist advocates with a view of helping women claim their identity as feminists. Also by placing these issues in contexts of feminist theory and discourse, the course offers an analysis of women and public policy as contested and complex domain rather than offering simple recipes or formulas for the feminist policy makers and advocates.

Course aim and objectives

This innovative course is designed for young women who are motivated to play a critical role in promoting women’s issues through advocacy and lobbying. Using examples and experiences from their own lives, it is hoped that participants will gain a deeper understanding of a feminist analysis of issues affecting women in the SADC region. The aim of the course therefore, is to provide participants with knowledge and practical skills to engage with feminist discourses and feminist approaches for effective lobbying and advocacy on gender and women’s rights. The objectives of the training course are to:

  • Familiarise participants with key tenets of feminism and the most influential works in the evolution of feminist theories and ideologies.
  • Give the participants a sound grasp of a fundamental and central body of feminist philosophical thinking. 
  • Engage with young women who are working with gender focused organisations and are at the forefront of best practice in the field.
  • Situate and examine the gender question in relation to emerging disciplines.
  • Help participants use feminist approaches to analyse, critique and participate in contemporary public policy debates on women issues.
  • Facilitate the development of feminist research skills to carry our policy oriented research on issues that impact on women’s lives.

Course Content

The training course consists of 12 modules, to be delivered by different facilitators over a 12-day period, and will use a variety of teaching styles, tools and methods, especially participatory and experiential learning models. The following thematic areas will provide a starting point for the discussions:

  • Feminist the ory and history
  • Schools of thought and feminist ideologies
  • The politics of feminism and gender
  • 4. Women, law and policy
  • Feminist public policy discourse and engagement 
  • Feminist knowledge production and management 
  • Feminist research and epistemology 
  • Feminist youth empowerment models
  • Feminist leadership in practice
  • Civil society and feminist movement-building
  • Sexuality and sexual reproductive health rights
  • Governance and citizenship

In addition, there will be evening and side sessions, focused on coaching on key competencies such as self awareness, confidence-building, public speaking among many others.

Course Dates and Duration

The course will be offered over a 12-day period in Mutare, Zimbabwe. The training course will be hosted by OSISA and the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University in Mutare beginning 16 August and ending on 28 August, 2010. Travel dates will be 15 and 29 August 2010.

Certificate of Competence

Participants who successfully complete the course and fulfil the requirements which include attendance and active participation will receive a certificate of competence from Africa University and OSISA.

Cost and Sponsorship

OSISA will be fully sponsoring this training course. Sponsorship will cover tuition, course materials, airfare/transport, accommodation, teas, lunches and dinners during the course. Participants are however, advised to take out personal and health insurance as the organisers cannot take liabilities in this regard.

Admission Requirements

Prospective participants are expected to meet the following criteria:

  • Possess an undergraduate degree in a relevant field.
  • Must be a young woman of between 18 and 30 years of age.
  • At least 1 year work experience in civil society and /or gender and women’s rights related area.
  • Currently employed, or working in an area where feminist or gender policy advocacy and lobbying is important.
  • English proficiency (as the course will be delivered in English).
  • Commitment to participate for the duration of the full course.
  • Be from any of the following SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Application Procedures

Young women who wish to apply for the training course are required to submit the following:

  • Completed application form.
  • No more than one page motivation letter stating. How your participation will add value to the course and how you envision using the training in your work, community and/or personal life.
  • Commitment form completed by employer (attached at the end of this document).

Please submit the completed application form, motivation letter and endorsement letter electronically or by fax, to both OSISA and IPLG at the following addresses:

Ms Tsitsi Mukamba
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA)
Tel: +27 (0) 11 587 5000
Fax: +27 (0) 11 587 5099


Mrs Susan Musiyiwa
Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance (IPLG)
Africa University
Tel: +263 20 66788

NB: Those who participated in the 2009 course need not apply.

Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, 09 July 2010.