Samoan woman becomes Commonwealth mentor

Samoan academic and writer Letuimanu’asina Dr Emma Kruse Va’ai has joined a group of 25 high profile women, who will act as mentors to a girls and young women-focused Commonwealth mentoring programme.

The Canada-based intergovernmental organisation Commonwealth of Learning (C.O.L.) has announced the selection of the first cohort of mentees, which includes 82 women and girls from 10 Commonwealth countries.  

Over 25 prominent women – from the Caribbean to Africa, to Europe, Asia and the Pacific – have already joined this initiative as mentors, including Samoa’s Letuimanu’asina Dr Emma Kruse Va’ai.

The impacts of globalisation, technological advancement, climate change and now COVID-19 have challenged organisations to find ways to contribute to sustainable leadership, while working towards gender equality. In an effort to help young women and girls become successful in their field of interest and build the future generation of leaders, C.O.L. has launched CommonwealthWiseWomen platform.

According to a statement released by the C.O.L., the new mentoring programme will offer networking opportunities to women and girls from underserved communities across the Commonwealth. 

And by pairing mentees with successful and influential women in leadership roles for a period of at least six months, the C.O.L. will help the women and girls to map their future path through seeing (what leadership looks like), doing (using tools and skills recommended by the mentor) and networking (engaging with others).

The CommonweathWiseWomen platform will provide mentors and mentees with access to a safe forum where they can share ideas and learn from each other.

C.O.L. President and C.E.O., Professor Asha Kanwar, said the CommonwealthWiseWomen platform will empower young women to become leaders as well as influence others. 

“Through CommonwealthWiseWomen, C.O.L. will influence change and empower young women not only to become leaders themselves but also to influence others in their communities to become leaders,” she said. “We will leverage tools and resources to support the empowerment of young women and build the foundation of their success.”

Since its establishment in 1987, the C.O.L. has supported governments and educational institutions in the Commonwealth to establish robust distance teaching institutions and build competencies for quality online learning practices. Over the years, it has created many resources, including courses, policy briefs, how-to toolkits, as well as guidelines on online learning and related areas that are downloadable for use by policymakers, teachers and researchers around the globe.  

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