Leading to Choices, developed by the Womenâ€™s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP) in collaboration with its partner organizations in the Global South, is based on a conceptualization of leadership as horizontal, inclusive, and participatory. WLP views leadership as a process that leads to greater choices for all by fostering communication among individuals who learn from each other, create a shared vision, and reach a common goal forged by consensus. The alternative leadership model presented in the handbook responds to the need for leaders who aspire to create egalitarian, democratic, and pluralistic societies based on collaborative decision-making, coalition-building, and gender equality.
Leading to Choices features a contextual chapter, twelve workshop sessions, and an appendix containing culture-specific scenarios relevant to the cultivation of effective leadership skills. At the heart of each workshop session is a case study or scenario. These scenarios depict individuals who discovered personal leadership skills that enabled them to address a challenging situation in their community. The scenarios also feature the innovative work of organizations from around the world that emphasize participatory decision making and communication, both internally and with their target constituencies. The scenarios span the globe, from Jordan where attorney Asma Khader spearheads the campaign to eliminate gender violence in her country; to Brazil where NGO Communication, Education, and Information on Gender uses communication technologies as a vehicle for women to express themselves and promote gender equality; to Pakistan and Afghanistan where the Afghan Institute of Learning works to educate, train, and empower Afghan women and children living in refugee camps; and to Nigeria, where BAOBAB for Womenâ€™s Human Rights employs technology - from the copy machine to e-mail - to share information with women in sub-Saharan Africa and enhance their ability to participate fully in their communities. The sessions are organized as a progression in learning to encourage participantsâ€™ involvement in decision making processes and to promote a participatory and dialogical leadership style.
Leading to Choices is a prototype handbook with a flexible curriculum that may be adapted and customized to suit the diverse cultural, political, and socio-economic needs of women and men around the world. Designed for use in interactive workshops, the handbook includes "Guidelines for Facilitating" that enable the user to create a stimulating environment that promotes mutual respect, dialogue, and collaboration. Leading to Choices has been used in leadership training workshops in Afghanistan, Brazil, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Tanzania, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe. Participants have included women, young girls, and men; Muslims and Christians; and human rights activists, university students, women NGO representatives, refugees, and domestic workers, among others.