Submitted by the 2013 Leadership Club, which is comprised of 16 students from Senior 3 (1st year students) & Senior 4 (2nd year students); supplemented by the club coordinator Assumpta Byukusenge and long-term volunteer Shira Liff-Grieff

On June 2, 2013 the Leadership Club at Agahozo-Shalom opened the 2013 Leadership Week. This opening launched a week full of discussions, programs and events, all around the main theme of the week: “Youth embrace hope and strive to become responsible, good leaders.” 

During Leadership Week many subjects were prepared by the Leadership Club team members and distributed to the Village community. The expectation was that throughout the week, students would explore their understanding of the meaning of leadership and the difference between the characteristics that make an effective leader versus those that make an ineffective leader. “As a club, we also focused on what is needed to become a good leader, the impact of good leadership and the wide benefits such leadership can have for all in a country,” one team member noted.

When asked about why leadership mattered, a staff member overseeing the leadership club said, “Without leaders, things drift along. They go where they want to go, following the path of least resistance. When this is not desirable or acceptable you hire, elect, appoint or become a leader. The leader’s job is to overcome resistance and make things flow in a different direction. His or her job is to create a different reality.” 

All members of the Leadership Club engaged in additional activities with the Village leadership throughout the week. They took advantage of this opportunity by asking the questions that were on their minds, challenging their Village leaders and promoting additional conversations to take place.

Several Village Mamas also engaged in Leadership Week during a Learning Community meeting, and contributed their thoughts on ways in which the staff might best inspire leadership among the youth of the Village. “Give students opportunities to lead and help them find the opportunity to take initiative in something they care about,” one Mama noted. Many expressed the importance of emphasizing that there are different kinds of leaders and that their job as Mamas is to help students think of leadership in a “big way.” Students “can be leaders in whatever they choose.” When asked whom she considers a strong leader in her life, one Mama noted, “For me, great leaders in my life are my kids, both here in the Village and my grown kids at home. They have encouraged me to take responsibilities. I think of them as my teachers.”

A student in the Leadership Club who hopes to be an entrepreneur expressed, “I don't think too many entrepreneurs ask why leaders exist. They know things need to be done, they see opportunities for change all around them and they know that nobody else will do it quite the way they do. They take positions of leadership because it’s the only way things get done.”

The Leadership Club identified the characteristics of a leader for the broader population of the Village as someone who can: 

• solve problems, 

• think of the big picture, 

• be proactive, 

• make decisions, 

• take responsibility and accept consequences, 

• share a vision, 

• always remember that it is not all about you 

As we closed the week on Friday June 7, the weekly Village Time assembly was dedicated to the topic of Leadership. The Leadership Club offered a lecture to the entire Village population about leadership, focusing specifically on the outcomes of the many conversations that had taken place. 

Have you ever given any thought to what qualities make a good leader?  Think about it!