Learning to Lead, Danish Style!

Investing in young women’s leadership has always been a core priority of the YWCA movement. Here in Ireland, YWCA provide opportunities at national level for young women to build their leadership capacity by serving on our national board. Today 50% of our national board is comprised of young women age 35 and under. YWCA Ireland also equips women for the challenges of leadership through international leadership training opportunities. In January, four young women from our national board traveled to Copenhagen to learn about governance and project management from our partner Association YMCA/YWCA Denmark. Lauren Shaw, our national Vice President and young woman, reflects on her experience of the training:

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the YMCA/YWCA Denmark International Committee meeting in Copenhagen. As the name suggests, the committee has a strong emphasis on global citizenship and an international outlook.

The International Committee plays a vital role in implementing the vision of the YMCA/YWCA in Denmark through a number of projects. This includes Local to Local”, a project which encourages participants to form a specific partnership with a local YMCA or YWCA in another country in order to make global initiatives more locally relevant, and “Minglabar Myanmar” which supports young volunteers in Myanmar to provide training activities throughout the country, particularly for young women and girls. We had a full agenda for the meeting which covered a number of topics including a focus on promoting gender equality throughout the activities, and an action plan for reducing our carbon footprint and supporting more environmentally friendly meetings and events.

After the committee meeting we attended a training session on governance and project management to support us in our role in implementing YWCA Ireland projects  and planning the European Regional meeting which we will be hosting in October this year.

Aside from the practical skills I developed during the trip, I was most encouraged by the enthusiasm, energy and dedication of the members of the International Committee and the warm welcome we received. Throughout the meeting they often emphasized that the organisation exists not for itself but for the good of the community both locally and globally.  It is this vision that is central to the work of YMCA/YWCA and was a timely reminder to continue to look outwards as we seek to serve the community in Ireland and beyond.


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