From September 13-17, 2021, IGE’s Center for Women, Faith & Leadership (CWFL) hosted the 2020 and 2021 Hybrid Fellowship Cohorts in Washington, D.C., for their first week-long leadership development workshop. A total of 12 Fellows participated, six in-person and six remotely. 

The five-day workshop focused on three core areas of leadership development: Identity Formation, Practical Skill-building, and Sustainable Leadership/Self-care. Workshop sessions covered a variety of topics including: Personal Leadership Development Planning, Public Speaking, Negotiation Methods, Compassion Fatigue, Trauma Informed Yoga & Meditation, and Supportive Mentorship. One Fellow from Afghanistan, who is now an asylee at Fort Dix, is already applying these models when liaising with the U.S. military about the needs of Afghan women in the camps housing refugees.

One of the key elements of the CWFL Fellowship program is the Capstone Project in which Fellows address an issue facing vulnerable and marginalized populations in innovative ways. The Capstone Project gives Fellows an opportunity to apply their newly acquired skill set for the benefit of their own leadership development and the vulnerable populations they work on behalf of. During the workshop, Fellows engaged in one-on-one sessions with a Monitoring & Evaluation consultant to receive feedback on their project design.

During their time in Washington, Fellows also met with officials from the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Office of International Religious Freedom, as well as USAID’s Office of Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Fellows were able to provide briefings to these officials about the urgent issues faced by the vulnerable populations they served in their countries.

CWFL looks forward to the next in-person workshop in 2022, where Fellows will continue to connect with their global network, build on their leadership skills, and present their capstone project. CWFL will be accepting applications for the 2022 Hybrid and Distance Learning fellowships in December 2021. CWFL encourages all interested women of faith leaders to apply (subscribe to receive application instructions). 

The CWFL Fellowship program has trained 86 women of faith across 32 countries to date.