2019 M.W.F RECIPROCAL EXCHANGE COMPONENT: LEARN MORE ABOUT AN UNCOMMON PARTNERSHIP
In June 2019, Sènou, an Awardee of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders met Lorraine at the University of Delaware (U.S.A). She was the American professional hired to lead strengths-based Common Leadership Curriculum (CLC) and Leadership Development and Action Plan (LDAP) sessions.
A few months earlier before their meeting, none of them would ever imagined any collaboration. “In life, there are meetings which encourage us to give the best of ourselves, there are also meetings which undermine us and which can end up breaking us’’ said Marie-France Hirigoyen. Today, they are excited to introduce their friends and colleagues to the Alpha Strengths Coaching Program, piloting in Benin, West Africa from January, 23rd to February 3rd of 2020.
The Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange component sends U.S. participants to Sub-Saharan Africa to build upon strategic partnerships and professional connections developed with African participants during the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States.
Where did the idea of collaboration come from?
“I wish, as a college student, I would have had the chance to search for patterns in my actions, to learn from them, and to use them to understand and direct my life experience 17 years ago” were Sènou’s words after discovering the CliftonStrengths® philosophy.
Sènou Samson Francis DEGBEGNI is a young Beninese committed to empowering young people to make better decisions regarding their health, education, and careers.
In his country, self-discovery is not commonly promoted in families, schools, or even in companies. Worse, students lack guidance and assistance in evaluating and choosing future options, putting them in situations where they regret their choices later on.
Through Alpha Strengths Coaching Program, Sènou wants to introduce the strengths philosophy to young people in Benin, to begin the process of building a strengths-based culture in Benin.
What are the specific goals of this pilot project?
The Alpha Strengths Coaching Program is designed to give students the opportunity to identify, know and use their talents so that they can:
1) see themselves as unique and gifted;
2) increase their self-confidence while studying or choosing a career;
3) allow them to reach their full potential earlier; and,
4) equip them to contribute to the development of Benin in the future.
The ultimate objective is to create a sustainable and easily replicated program that could ultimately be introduced to different universities, cities, and even countries across Africa.
What are the steps you’re taking to make this collaborative project successful?
Lorraine will spend 2 weeks in Benin working with the founding group of volunteer coaches recruited on site. The 2-week culminates with a 2-day workshop for approximately 40 university students who will then partner with a volunteer coach for a 90-day period. Also, James Jones, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and academician from Omaha, Nebraska, is helping the core team measure the results of the pilot in order to obtain future funding for this initiative.
What best describes Lorraine?
Lorraine McCamley lives in the Philadelphia metropolitan area in Pennsylvania and helps leaders understand, celebrate, and develop their unique natural talents. She first learned about the strengths philosophy in 2010 when she took the Clifton Strengthsfinder® (now CliftonStrengths®) assessment and began to understand the importance of intentionally focusing on strengths and managing—not trying to fix—weaknesses. This understanding and passion ultimately led her to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach when she started her company, Boldly Quiet Consulting.
Someone once said: “A good networking cannot be evaluated in relation to the number of business cards received or people met, but rather to the number of people who decided to go on board with us”. We hope this collaboration opportunity unlocks strategic partnerships and professional connections as targeted by the Fellowship.
Good luck to Alpha Strengths Coaching!
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