Akili Dada is an international award-winning leadership incubator. The Akili Dada mission is to nurture transformative leadership in girls and young women from underserved backgrounds to meet the urgent need for more African women in leadership. Their vision is to live in a world in which African women leaders are actively participating in key decision-making processes across sectors.

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Akili Dada was founded in 2005 by Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in Africa. 

During her dissertation research on women’s rights in Kenya, Wanjiru realized the extent to which women’s voices – particularly those from underserved backgrounds – were missing in the policy and decision-making processes affecting women’s lives in Kenya and across the continent. As her own experience had taught her that access to such positions typically required a university education, strong mentors, and leadership experience – all beyond the reach of most underserved young women – she set out to bridge that gap. Having earned scholarships for her own degrees in higher education, Wanjiru knew the power of scholarships to open doors for young African women.

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We Dream Of: 
A world in which African women leaders are actively participating in key decision-making processes across sectors.

We Exist To: 

Nurture transformative leadership in girls and young women from underserved backgrounds to meet the urgent need for more African women in leadership.

Our Values:

Akili Dada’s values are composed of a set of five values, whose acronym is spelled out as STILE. A “stile” is an arrangement of steps that allow people to climb over a fence or wall – a perfect metaphor for what Akili Dada does.

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