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About Us

The Women Leadership Institute (WLI)

is an international leadership development organization.

WLI provides a professional and non-partisan platform

for women in Nigeria and across Africa to develop their

leadership capacity so as to be able to take on

constructive roles in the political and economic development

of Nigeria and African in general.


Conceived by Ambassador Dr. Kema Chikwe,

WLI was duly registered in 2017 by the

Corporate Affairs Commission Nigeria and was formally

launched in June 2018. WLI offers a broad spectrum

of programs uniquely designed to enhance the leadership

ability of women in various stages of development.


These programs include but are not limited to:

executive leadership programs, vocational training, bespoke

leadership interventions, specialized Master-Classes and

courses in three categories: Certificate, Diploma and

Advanced Leadership Diplomas.


All across Africa women encounter entrenched perceptions, biases and challenges in varying degrees. The vast majority of African women are deprived socially, economically, and politically in relative terms to their male counterparts. Available data shows that there are three African women below the poverty line for every one African man and there are anywhere between ‘six and nineteen times as many men as women in managerial positions, depending on sector.’ In a broad sense, the challenges African women face include but are not limited to: lack of access to education and poor retention of girls in schools; limited participation in political and public life; economic discrimination and exclusion; financial systems that perpetuate their discrimination; harmful cultural practices and norms; lack of support networks and resources; sexual harassment and gender-based violence; poor reproductive and maternal health rights; self-limiting factors, etc. These and many other challenges are the pathologies that hinder a demographic base that accounts for more than half of Africa’s population from fully contributing their quota to the continent’s political and socio-economic growth and development.



WLI understands that difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations and that every challenge presents hidden opportunities and possibilities for progress. Therefore our philosophical premise is to leverage creative and pragmatic strategies to turn obstacles into opportunities - opportunities to liberate the African woman from myriads of artificial shackles that limit her from optimizing her innate leadership ability. WLI locates much of the challenges working against women in Africa in outdated cultural and religious beliefs/norms as well as diffidence which years of discriminatory practices in a largely patriarchal environment have engendered in African women. We believe in the axiom that knowledge banishes fear – specifically, the fear which years of unfavorable religious and cultural norms have built up in the hearts and minds of African women. Knowledge is therefore an invaluable resource in the quest to empower the African woman. Which is why at WLI, our approach draws heavily from the principle and premise established in the wise words of Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 


Operationally, our strategy is to establish a specialized institution, WLI, where: African women can acquire/develop/enhance relevant education, knowledge, competences and skills in leadership to enhance their confidence and create in them a dynamic disposition to excel in any capacity or level that they function; active advocacy on issues affecting African women will be undertaken; partnerships with relevant local and international organizations, private, non governmental and government organizations, individuals and other stakeholders will be forged to advance and add value to WLI’s mission; African women will be mobilized and encouraged to play more meaningful roles in Africa’s transformation; the narrative about African women can be redefined to showcase their strengths, abilities, talents and productive capacity; African women can come to assess credible resource and network support; and the profile of African women will be raised through a sustained series of integrated interventions.


Many compelling reasons can be adduced to explain why WLI was established at this time and why it is even necessary to establish the first and only women leadership institute in Nigeria, but four significant facts suffice: 


One, 2010 – 2020 was declared by the African union (AU) as the second phase of the “African Women’s Decade”. The African Women’s Decade is the AU’s implementation framework which aims to advance gender equality through the acceleration of the implementation of global and regional decisions on gender equality and women’s empowerment. To demonstrate the premium which the AU places on the subject, it has twice adopted themes that focus on women. It’s theme for 2015 was “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, and in 2016 the theme was “2016 African Year of Human Rights, with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. So, for two consecutive years, gender equality and women’s empowerment have featured as the highest priority on the continental agenda. By implication, women’s rights and empowerment issues have become the centerpiece of the African continent’s attention for the decade 2010-2020. This is therefore a very auspicious time for WLI to be birthed.


Two, women represent more than half of the over 1.2 billion African population and also more than half of Nigeria’s estimated 190 million population. Obviously, such a huge demographic base of our continent and nation respectively deserves and demands greater institutional resources like WLI to help effectively mainstream them and harness their potentials for more inclusive development.


Three, a seminal research by Joseph Egwurube 2016, found that a fundamental part of the challenge facing African women is the dearth of credible and active support networks and institutional resources. Egwurube identified only three types of women organizations in a country like Nigeria: “national umbrella organizations such as the National Council of Women’s Societies; those inspired by successive First Ladies; and local level women’s associations.” From Egwurube’s research findings, it became clear that the strategy for accelerating women’s advocacy and empowerment in Nigeria must include a thoughtful expansion of the resource and support base for women to include viable and sustainable institutional platforms like WLI. In the context of this empirical understanding, WLI, which is a pioneering initiative, the premier and only women leadership institute in Nigeria, speaks, on a general scale, to an expansion of the institutional resource support for African women and indeed a new typology of women organization in Nigeria.


Four, the narrative on African women indicates that the story is not all somber. There are isolated pockets of good news and encouraging progress in some countries in the continent. A recent report by Ventures Africa chronicles the exceptional progress a few African countries have made in mainstreaming women in leadership positions and strengthening women’s rights.   Illustratively, ‘Rwanda is regarded as the country with the world’s highest number of women in government; ‘in South Africa, women hold about 44 percent of parliamentary seats, making it the country with the third highest proportion in the world. The country has also made giant strides upholding women’s social rights over the past 15 years; in Namibia an equal gender representation called the “Zebra System” has been adopted by the government in order to ensure that half of the parliament seats are filled with women. Currently, the number of women in the parliament has increased from 25 to 48. Article 10 of the Namibian constitution validates equality and the right to no-discrimination on the basis of gender.’


These are compelling examples of progress in mainstreaming women into leadership in Africa. Concomitantly, there is a growing list of African women, such as, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Kema chikwe, Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma, Joyce Banda and many others who have demonstrated and are still delivering inspiring leadership in diverse sectors in and outside the continent. The immediate implication of these sparse but gratifying developments in the continent is that, Africa is now at an inflection point where, more than ever before, there is an urgent need to work strategically to sustain and continue to push forward these modest signs of progress through institutional frameworks and interventions like WLI.


To be nationally, regionally and globally recognized as the leading and preferred institute for gender expertise in advancing women leadership development and training in Africa.



To shape a future of shared prosperity for African women by empowering and equipping them with the leadership knowledge, skills, competences, confidence, and values that will enhance their capacity to make meaningful contributions to the socio-economic and political transformation of Africa.



To work with local, regional and international development and donor organizations to facilitate the execution and attainment of the mission of WLI.


  • Diversity

  • Excellence

  • Confidence

  • Integrity

  • Discipline

  • Expertise

  • Social Responsibility


WLI’s portfolio includes masterclasses, courses, conferences, workshops, colloquiums, symposia, seminars and webinars covering a wide range of topics in areas such as:   



  • Civic Leadership

  • Entrepreneurial Leadership

  • Public service leadership

  • Future Leaders Master class 

  • Politics & Campaign Management

  • Policy & Resource Management

  • Professional Development

  • Economic and social Development


Our Services:

  • Adult Education for Women

  • Skills Acquisition for Women

  • Agro allied interventions for women

  • Consultancy and Program Management Services

  • Partnership Interventions

  • Research Projects

  • International Study Tours

  • Mentorship framework

  • Bespoke Solutions



  • Governing Board – Amb. Dr. kema Chikwe, Board Chair

  • Lecturing/training faculty

  • Consulting, training & facilitating team

  • Technical/development/ funding partners



  • Women in Government

  • Women in Business

  • Women in agriculture/farming

  • Women in Politics

  • Women in Non-Governmental organizations

  • Professional/Career Women in Private/government/NGO sector

  • Future Women Leaders

  • Women Organizations/Associations/Groups,



WLI offers seven disaggregated levels of membership:

  • Associate Member

  • Full Member

  • Associate Fellow

  • Senior Fellow

  • Hall of Fame



Becoming a member of WLI has compelling advantages. Membership of WLI will help you develop, learn and be part of a truly inspiring and results-driven program. Whatever your career level, your leadership and management experience, aspiration or goal, becoming a member gives you a wide range of valuable benefits: 

  • Become part of a fast growing network of professional women

  • Improve your career prospects and stand out from the crowd

  • Gain professional recognition with post-nominal letters 

  • Enjoy special discounted fees on local and international events and trainings

  • Gain access to our nation-wide events program, including guest speakers, round table discussion groups, seminars and more. Follow up and continue the conversation in our social media platforms

  • Read and be profiled in our periodic publications

  • Be inspired by engaging content, debate and events

  • Build your network  and leverage opportunities for partnerships at our Events

  • Gain access to unlimited leadership resources, advisory and mentorship support from world class professionals

  • Collaborate with like-minded members and industry peers. Share and learn from others in the field

  • Stay ahead of the curve  with industry experts

  • Learn from the best with our expert research teams

  • Opportunity to participate in our international study tours

  • Discover your leadership capability

  • Join trending conversation on African women on our Webinars 




The 2018 Women Leadership Conference and Exhibition was conceived to bring together leading women from different countries of the African continent to cross fertilize ideas on mainstreaming women in leadership in Africa and to also speak to the specific conference theme: ‘Transforming Africa through Women Leadership’.


The one-day conference which held in Abuja, Nigeria, at the National Universities Commission (NUC) main auditorium at 9:00am on the 28th of June 2018 attracted over 500 participants from various countries in Africa and afforded them the opportunity to gain new insights from thought leaders and industry experts.


The conference was WLI’s first official outing and also marked the formal launch and opening of WLI for business. The conference featured two important panel discussion sessions which addressed, amongst other issues, the following:   


  1. Delivering Value for Women’s Work/Time (Policy/Politics)

  2. Essential Keys to Building a successful Career (Professional Development)

  3. Creating & Innovating Value(Entrepreneurship Development)

  4. Moving from Thought to Action(Future Leaders)

  5. Leading Change(Civic Leadership)


We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.

Our Mission

To shape a future of shared prosperity for African women by empowering and equipping them with the leadership knowledge, skills, competences, confidence, and values that will enhance their capacity to make meaningful contributions to the socio-economic and political transformation of Africa.

Our Mission

Our Vision

To be nationally, regionally and globally recognized as the leading and preferred institute for gender expertise in advancing women leadership development and training in Africa.

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