Gender stereotypes are still very present in Benin and represent an obstacle to the emancipation of women, particularly in professional circles. The ADAPAMI support project for developing, professionalizing and revitalizing microfinance, conducted by DID, is helping to reduce the impact of these stereotypes on women in Benin. Through training to equip women for leadership roles, ADAPAMI helps promote inclusive administrative governance and policy in microfinance institutions.
In concrete terms, the training provides techniques to:
- Be comfortable speaking in public
- Lead and participate in meetings
- Facilitate teams
- Develop their personality
- Achieve work/life balance
The project also aims to help women become aware of their rights. Training therefore includes a component on the internal bylaws and regulations of microfinance institutions, service proposals, human resource policies and procedures and codes of conduct.
Participants’ feedback has been very positive. “It was like a fresh breath of air, a new start. It really motivated me to remain a leader and work with the tools we learned. [...] This training opened my eyes,” said Hortense, who attended the training in May.
To meet specific needs, two types of training are offered: one for employees at microfinance institutions and another for their elected officers.
Before starting, several participants were wary of the training. They wondered what they would be learning and how they could apply it. Some wondered whether men would be open to this new female leadership.
They quickly realized that it was possible. As Josiane, one of the participants, explained: “The training is a good initiative for women to feel capable, to feel empowered. […] We can rightfully take our place alongside men in the workplace. We can lead an all-male or mixed team. The training reassured us and gave us this confidence.”