Devolved Aspire: A capacity-building model by community, for community


(inspiring music) – So the Aspire Program
is a leadership program for young Muslim women. And it’s run by the Sir
Zelman Cowen Centre. And it’s been funded by the
Lord Mayors Charitable Fund. This program is targeting young
Muslim women across Victoria who demonstrate a capacity and a desire to want to lead effectively
both within their internal communities but
also within broader society. – [All] Two, three, Aspire! – I think the devolution
model that the Aspire program presents is actually ‘walking the talk’ of what a leadership program does. The Associate Program
Managers of the Aspire program are past graduates who
are now being skilled to the next level to
actually run the program. – Yeah, day one, we had
our orientation day. – The first time we
worked together properly. – Literally. – All six of us. – In action, in action. – All of the APMs, we had
an idea of what our role was going to be in the Aspire program, but not entirely sure where
we were each going to fit and how each of our strength or skills will play a part in it. – We realised that dividing
our tasks into three categories would be a lot more efficient. So myself and Merjam managed the media in advocacy portfolio, so you know photography, videography, the normal stuff. – Oh you can do that? – I learnt so much. – And then we’ve got event management which Teba and Aya had a handle on, and then the last category was evaluation which Natura and Marija were a part of. – Knowing how to facilitate a workshop that’s really engaging and inclusive and at the same time
allows people to feel safe to share their thoughts
and share their opinions. I think that’s one thing that we’ve, all of the APMs have
developed and grown on. – I think one of the biggest
personal challenges for me was remembering that
I’m not a participant anymore. And during discussions, rather
than actively participating I have to facilitate and
shape and mould the discussion without impeding on the
integrity of the participants. – Look, no matter how much training we get with facilitating, every
time with a different group, you’re gonna need different skills. – There was a lot of engagement
with external stakeholders including people who are going
to teach the participants about governance, about
skillsets, whether it was in program design, and just the kind of
knowledge that you need to have a very holistic
approach to leadership. – So one of the bigger events
that we’ve got on this year was the iftar dinner. For me, it was about
developing the soft skills. – Cool, what needs to be done? – [APM] We need a centerpiece, – A coat rack? – And waiting for the flowers! – Flowers. – Just picking up some stuff like the professional way to communicate with an external organisation. Or just the skills that I feel like I can’t really learn in school. – You’re very lucky to be
able to be sitting in a room with highly competent
and accomplished CEOs. In a room with women who themselves are on a fast tracking to be highly
accomplished themselves. So it was kind of like
watching the future evolve, It was pretty cool. – Towards the end at
graduation, we had a focus group with the participants. All of the feedback that we’ve received personally, I anticipated it. We’re a previous
participant of the program, so we know how it feels when
you’re feeling overwhelmed with a project and you
don’t know what to do. And I think it’s, as an APM, your role is to troubleshoot issues before
they bring it up themselves. – I knew that they had
stressed a lot about the governance project, and
so for them being able to present their work at the end of the year at the graduation, yeah we were very proud, we were very proud of the girls. – What we’ve learned about leadership it’s not about my own
growth and development as a leader, but also how
do we empower and support our team so they can grow as well. – I think there’s merit in
having leadership programs that are created by
communities for communities. So whether you have young Muslim women, whether you have young African women, whether you have young
Sudanese women, for example. Whatever that particular
cohort and group is, providing them with the
infrastructure to lead, the resources, the networks, I guess the manual or the
almanac of how it’s done, both in theory but in practice, I think ensures that all
those minority communities are actually going to have
the best possible opportunity. (inspiring music)




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