Hivos East Africa partners in a TV reality show to strengthen women leadership

February 12, 2019

By Caroline Wahome

When women lead, the whole society benefit.


Hivos East Africa’s Women@Work Campaign has partnered with Media Focus on Africa in a leadership reality show, Ms President. The show premiered on January 30 in Nairobi and will see approximately 70  women compete to win the ‘Presidency.

“Women lead even without knowing they are leaders. Many women take on roles at their work place and communities which would normally be identified as leadership positions. A lack of belief in women’s own value, worth and ability through our patriarchal structure tempers women’s ambitions,” noted Mendi Njonjo, Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director.

“Any response to leadership challenge, especially of women, resonates with Hivos’ mission of addressing inequality, ensuring diversity and social justice hence the reason we are pleased to be part of this TV show,” added Ms Njonjo

The overall objective of the reality show is to empower and strengthen capacities of women to enable them to take up leadership and management positions.

As part of the program, Hivos will train contestants on various aspects under the Women@Work Campaign among them what constitutes good labour conditions, fair income, security at the work place, participation of workers in decision-making and leadership of women including improvement of women’s voices in workers’ committees and trade unions.

Ms President is a 26-episode reality television series, with 71 women going through a series of tasks and challenges designed to display their leadership capacity and ability. One of the challenge or mission will be fully on Hivos’ thematic area.

Approximately 1,000 women across Kenya applied to take part in the reality show. The women will have to survive through viewers’ votes and judges’ decisions, until the last one emerges as the “Ms President”. The winner and the 12 finalists will receive additional leadership mentorship opportunities and a surprise prize.


Virginia Munyua, HivosEA W@W Campaign manager at Ms President pre-launch meeting outlining what the programme is all about


About the Women@Work Campaign

The leadership project under Women@Work seeks to provide opportunities to women workers to bring an understanding of their leadership role and develop their leadership skills, recognition of their leadership style, including inbuilt personalized strategies for upcoming women leaders in the sector. Hivos believes that empowering more women can help call out bias when they see it, put themselves forward for elective positions including in union leadership, develop courage to voice their opinions and provide the much needed role models and mentors to inspire other women and girls.

Hivos East Africa’s Women@Work Campaign is implementing the leadership project in partnership with Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Uganda Workers Education Association (UWEA), Uganda Horticulture industrial, Service Providers and Allied Workers Union (UHISPAWU), FEMNET Kenya, Rwanda Workers Trade Union Confederation (CESTRAR) and Rwanda Women’s Network.