African Leadership Initiative equipping young West Aussies with necessary skills


L-R: Violet Arrey (lawyer), Njeri Waithaka (finance/accounting), Ismail Omar (financial auditor), Mai Kutsanzira (law graduate), Julius Olayiwola (consultant accounting, media branding), Musa Kamara (student) and sitting in front sisters Kelly and Delmina Tabi (both nursing students). Picture: Marie Nirme
L-R: Violet Arrey (lawyer), Njeri Waithaka (finance/accounting), Ismail Omar (financial auditor), Mai Kutsanzira (law graduate), Julius Olayiwola (consultant accounting, media branding), Musa Kamara (student) and sitting in front sisters Kelly and Delmina Tabi (both nursing students). Picture: Marie Nirme

YOUNG African Australians will be equipped with leadership skills thanks to a new program rolled out by the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (MMRC) in Mirrabooka.

The African Leadership Initiative (ALI) program aims to empower participants to achieve their potential and address the complex needs of the 70,000 African-born people in WA.

The three-year initiative will receive up to $70,000 per year in Government funding through the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI).

ALI program co-ordinator and lawyer Violet Arrey , who was born in Cameroon, said the program would provide valuable leadership skills through a South Metropolitan TAFE partnership.

“I think one of the main issues that led to the creation of the program was most African’s had trouble integrating with mainstream communities,” she said.

“In partnership with TAFE we will have a leadership course which will include learning how to pitch, public speaking, project management and how t o apply for grants and we’ll get them mentors; all those things you would need to get great leadership skills.”

Ms Arrey said the community feedback had been positive.

“The greatest challenge we thought we would have was to get people to participate but actually we already have a waiting list,” she said.

“I realised many people lack those sorts of skills that you need to get yourself out there and even attend an interview.”

MMRC chairperson Iqbal Samnakay said the leaders of Perth’s African community had embraced the program.

“The success of the program is vital to developing future leaders, not only the African but for the wider community,” he said.

Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Mike Nahan said the program was important for community development.

“Leadership can make a big difference and we recognise that within local African communities, there are a number of aspiring leaders who want to contribute more but don’t currently have the skills and knowledge to do so,” Dr Nahan said.

“This initiative will provide the support and resources these future leaders need to achieve their potential and help unify the diverse African community groups in WA.”