If you are a young woman aged between 16 and 21, wherever you are in the world, you can apply to join a three-month online leadership development program designed to give you a head start on your life’s journey. The EveryonesWorld Leadership Foundation program (ELF) is a dream come true for its founder, Yene Assegid (PhD) who wants to give the tools to realise your ambitions and learn how to lead effectively. Ethiopian-born Assegid will teach the key insights from the over 20 years she has presented leadership training around the world. Raised in Belgium, Yene Assegid completed her university studies –– from Bachelor degree to PhD –– in the United States of America. She holds the level of Master Certified Coach (MCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a credential held by only five percent of ICF members worldwide. Fluent in English, French and Amharic, with conversational German, KRIO, Spanish and Mandarin, Yene Assegid has worked in a wide variety of cultures, training executives, managers and individuals in private companies and civil society organisations as well for European Union and United Nations’ agencies. The ELF program is the culmination of her long-held goal to create a leadership program entirely for young women. Now it is here, and open for applications from 15 September for the first intake in January 2021. Only 100 Founder Members will be accepted as participants in the inaugural course and the intake will build up to 200 each in the second and third intakes of 2021. She talked to Capital about her programme. Excerpts;

Capital: Can you tell us about The EveryonesWorld Leadership Foundation program (ELF)?
Yene Assegid: ELF is the only global online Leadership Development Program dedicated to young women aged between 16 and 21. It is designed and delivered by seasoned coaches and leadership practitioners. Each course is three months long and there will be three in a year. The ELF program aims to help young women discover their own expression of leadership and learn to apply it. They will learn competences such as emotional intelligence, conflict management, time management and be given the opportunity to explore their life’s vision, to reflect on their life’s purpose and engage in an intentional life path.
All the learning in lectures, coaching and in peer group discussions will be framed by the four pillars of self-responsibility, environmental responsibility, social responsibility and financial responsibility.
ELF will provide a space where young women – along with their peers from around the world, will be able to harness their own potential and evolve in accordance with their own vision of their lives.
The ELF Program will also support young women to expand their career and professional paths by holding regular talks with various guest speakers who will share about their own life paths, the challenges they faced, and what keeps them motivated.

Capital: What are the benefits of joining this training?
Yene Assegid: The ELF program is a space where young women will be nurtured and developed; they will be introduced to leadership development, professional coaching and will be exposed to other cultures and individuals from around the world.

Capital: Why do you limit the number of participants to 100? Do you have plans to increase the number of girls that participate in the programme?
Yene Assegid: The first intake in January 2021 is the inaugural cohort; we call those participants Founding Members. They will be pioneers in a brand new program which will certainly grow course by course. Our Founding Members will always be the ones that new participants look to for guidance and inspiration as they embark on the journey.

Capital: You said the age limit is from 16 to 21, why only this?
Yene Assegid: We want to have young women who are between the age of finishing secondary school and before finishing college. This is a very special age and we feel that if we can equip young women at this age with leadership skills, it will have the most impact. I am sure all of us, at some point, have wished that at that age we were given better guidance about our futures, and more practical wisdom to help us tackle those tricky years of moving from one phase of our lives into the next. It will be a bit like being taken aside by older, successful women who will tell you what they wished they had been told at that age.

Capital: Do you have any plan to reach girls in sub-Saharan Africa who do not have access to Internet or smart devices?
Yene Assegid: The program is fully online and is available to all young women everywhere. It is a requirement to have Internet access. Part of the reason why we are developing a scholarship system is to assist participants who are unable to pay the tuition fee and may need some help in Internet access. It is our dream to have the funding for at least 50% of the participants and we are encouraging corporates and other donors to become involved by sponsoring groups of participants, Platinum sponsors will cover the fees of 75 and above participants; Gold sponsors between 50 and 75; Silver between 25 and 49 and Bronze between 10 and 24. Ideally there will be sponsors who will be able to add some extra funds for certain participants to have Internet access. We are reaching out to certain companies in different regions with this in mind.

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