Development and launch of a Pan-African Leadership Directory

Integrated Media Strategies has published a directory listing leadership initiatives across the continent, working closely with the African Leadership Institute (AFLI).  It can be found at the AFLI website in the grant-funded Project Pakati subsite.  The data for the directory was compiled by AFLI as part of a Ford Foundation grant-funded initiative to get more young leaders into real positions of power where they can impact the decisions being made on the continent.  Africa is the youngest continent on the planet - with more than 60% of the population under 25 - yet it's leadership is geriatric.  The data led to a report that was published and presented at an event in August 2018, titled An Abundance of Young African Leaders, but No Seat at the Table in Nairobi, Kenya.

The report outlined key findings.  Among them was the observation that for Africa to reach its potential, it must harness the potential of young leaders. That might sound obvious, but while a plethora of leadership development offerings exist on the continent, there was no place where one might find them.  By extension, one cannot collectively harness this cohort of young leaders for change. The study thus provided a solid foundational step towards filling gaps in extant knowledge.  The key criterion for inclusion in the study that led to the report were leadership initiatives focusing on young African leaders between the ages of 18-40 along with other specified criteria. 105 initiatives were found.

But a 36-page report doesn't easily allow one to find information easily across its pages. So Integrated Media Strategies developed for AFLI a directory built on the data in the report. It lists all of the organisations providing leadership development training to young African leaders.  The problem with many directories, however, remains the issue of finding anything useful. We took care to ensure that in this directory, it is possible to search by any piece of text, by programme type, region, country, alphabetically, sponsors or a range of other datasets - and get a list.  The directory was launched on 1 May 2019 and since then, metrics for the directory have been excellent.

The directory allows a visitor to search by a range of criteria including:

  • Leadership Development Programmes, which had the largest number of initiatives
  • Leadership Mentorship Programmes
  • Leadership Networking Platforms
  • Leadership Impact Platforms with 35 initiatives
  • Text search (any word or phrase in an entry listing)
  • Geographically
  • Alphabetically
  • By Name
  • Programme type
  • By number of programme participants
  • Region from which programme participants are selected
  • Country of programme delivery
  • Region of programme delivery
  • Women's only programmes
  • Mappable searches using integrated Google Maps API

For AFLI, which is seeking to help young leaders reach critical mass in obtaining a seat at the decision-making table, this directory acts as a key foundational step for a range of other activities that follow.  Integrated Media Strategies is assisting with follow-on activities and providing support and assistance in helping them implement their goals. And for readers who have finished reading this post and are wondering what Pakati means, it is a Bantu word – Shona, Ndebele and Zulu - which means 'centre'.  The objective of  Project Pakati on a continent that is disproportionally young, and where young leaders are woefully missing at the centre of leadership, is to raise their profile and to change this dynamic.


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