WMO organized on 16-17 February 2019 the fourth Women`s Leadership Workshop in pursuing the Organization’s commitment to support and develop the leadership capacity of women working in weather, water and climate.
This was the first such event organized at the regional level in a series of workshops targeted at female delegates to WMO constituent body meetings. It took place on the margins of the seventeenth session of Regional Association I (Africa), bringing together 28 female professionals from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) and other national institutions.
Participants described the workshop as a “life-lasting experience”, “a significant and meaningful event”, “surpassing all expectations.”
Building leadership skills. The workshop aimed at strengthening the leadership skills of participants, with a focus on communication, negotiation, conflict management and consensus building. It was an interactive event, which featured practical exercises and situation scenarios.
Tity Simbo-Kamara, the participant from Sierra Leone, confirmed to the usefulness of the training material. She thought it was a hands-on workshop with case studies and examples that were a real life opener for her career path. It was an inspiring, informative and interactive event, according to Albertina Anderson, the participant from Namibia. “We walk away with a wealth of new leadership skills, experience and connections, which I can in turn share and implement back home,” she continues.
Networking and sharing experience. The female participants had an opportunity to share their experiences as well as discussing barriers and ways of moving forward. Kenza Khomsi from Morocco noted that the workshop was not only about learning but mainly about believing in what was learned. “I have attended a lot of workshops and genuinely this is one of the best. […] We have met as female voices from the field, sharing same interests, ambitions and challenges. We were impressed by each other and discovered all our capabilities. We have heard impressive life stories and inspiring experiences. Consequently, we have learned how to be better versions of ourselves.”
Having heard the different touching stories of women and their careers, Awa Camara from the Gambia realized that these challenges were not only hers. Manal ben Zaytoun from Libya left the workshop with concrete objectives and inspirational ideas. The event contributed to building a network of female professionals in the region.
An impactful event. Lumfuh Ngwa from Cameroon attested that the workshop impacted her personal and professional life. She improved her daily communication and is now better recognized in her workplace. She also transferred the knowledge acquired to her colleagues back home.
Ripple effect in the community. Other participants were also eager to share their knowledge with peers. Tity Simbo-Kamara from Sierra Leone noted that she is now able to reach out to women and girls in different academic institutions and communities where she works as a climate change coordinator. She would like to teach them not only what it means to be a female leader, but also encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) which seemed almost impossible a while ago.
It is worth noting that female participation in the proceedings of RA I saw a 7 percent increase, up from 21 percent in 2014 to 28 percent at the session in 2019.
“I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to WMO and the organizers for bringing this dynamic event to Africa and to continue empowering women in science for a better future,” concludes Albertina Anderson from Namibia.