LYF Leads Africa provides a safe and empowering community for young women to develop practical life skills and address challenges with confidence. We provide Self-Love and Leadership coaching, counseling and workshops through with awareness and an experienced lense . The organisation’s leaders Keyonna Monroe and Isobel Afful-Mensah have extensive global experience working with vulnerable women/survivors, consulting businesses, managing personnel, digital marketing and nurturing young potential leaders. Our current focus will be geared towards Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and the US.
Problems we recognize. address and solve:
Young African women are inherently ambitious, but this ambition is often truncated due to:
Poverty and disease, in particular in the rural areas which disproportionally affects the girl child.
Reduced access to education especially after basic primary education especially for the girl child.
Lack of confidence, due to societal norms requiring women to limit their ambition to traditional roles.
Cultural/traditional impositions, such as early child marriage.
Lack of representation at senior leadership levels – although 24.3% of African board seats are held by women, this is still below the global average (Brookings Institution)
Higher risk of gender-based violence (1 in 3 women) and ensuing emotional repercussion of experiencing violence/abuse)
Program Structure and Goals:
The focus of LYF Leads Africa is to build a global community of empowered female leaders who are positioned to lead global change and committed to create impact at the grassroots level. The bifurcated program will be delivered as follows to our core beneficiaries:
Intensive training female participants (aged 17 to 25), with a focus on emotional awareness and global leadership, who will eventually serve as mentors for Impact focused practical skills training.
Impact focused practical skills training for women (aged 14 to 40) in the local community with focus on economic empowerment to improve social conditions and GBV advocacy.
Intensive Empowerment training:
We will provide training of up to fifty female leaders (aged 17 and 25 through) per cohort in partnership with African Leadership University (Rwanda). Women will be trained by the LYF Leads Africa team across three cohorts each year, with a focus on 1) Emotional Intelligence; 2) Global Business Leadership; 3) Commercial Awareness; 4) Cultural Leadership; 5) Ethical Leadership; and 6) gender-based violence Advocacy.
Empower young leaders to be emotionally intelligent and globally focused with a strong a commitment to engage in the local community
Transfer skills from young leaders who undergo Intensive Empowered Leaders training to women in the local community
Developing sustainable and economically viable businesses for women in the local community through practical skills training
Improve economic and social welfare of women in local community through engagement of alumni of Intensive Empowered Leaders training
Ensure strong awareness of gender-based violence and provide the necessary support to any survivors in collaboration with other relevant advocates
Why emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence are important for young Black female students while building a community with each other:
1. Self-Awareness: Emotional intelligence starts with self-awareness. Encourage students to develop an understanding of their own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals. This self-awareness helps them navigate their experiences and develop a strong sense of identity within the community.
2. Empathy and Understanding: Emotional intelligence allows students to develop empathy and understanding towards others. Cultivating empathy helps them appreciate and respect the diverse experiences, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds within their community. It fosters a sense of unity and inclusivity by recognizing and valuing each other's unique contributions.
3. Effective Communication: Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in developing effective communication skills. By understanding and managing their own emotions, students can express themselves clearly, assertively, and respectfully. This helps them build strong and healthy relationships within the community, promoting open dialogue and collaboration.
4. Conflict Resolution: Conflict is inevitable in any community. Emotional intelligence equips those with the skills to manage conflicts constructively. By practicing active listening, understanding different viewpoints, and finding mutually beneficial solutions, they can resolve conflicts peacefully and maintain a harmonious community environment.
5. Cultural Intelligence: Cultural intelligence refers to the ability to understand and navigate cultural differences effectively. This helps them build bridges, overcome stereotypes, and promote cultural exchange and understanding.
6. Resilience and Well-being: Emotional intelligence enhances resilience and well-being among students. It enables them to manage stress, setbacks, and challenges effectively. By cultivating emotional self-care strategies, they can prioritize their mental, emotional, and physical well-being, promoting a supportive and healthy community.
7. Leadership and Advocacy: Emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence empowers students to become leaders and advocates for themselves and their community. By understanding their own emotions and cultural backgrounds, they can confidently represent their needs, amplify their voices, and address systemic challenges and inequalities that affect them.
Female empowerment and leadership amongst Black women is crucial for several reasons:
1. Intersectionality: Black women often face multiple forms of discrimination and marginalization based on their race and gender. Empowering Black women advances the understanding of intersectionality, acknowledging that their experiences are unique and different from those of other groups. Recognizing and addressing the specific challenges faced by Black women is essential for achieving true equality and justice.
2. Representation and Visibility: When Black women are empowered and take on leadership roles, they become visible examples of success and achievement.
3. Breaking Stereotypes: By demonstrating their competence, intelligence, and leadership skills, Black women can challenge preconceived notions and reshape societal perceptions. This helps to break down barriers and promote a more inclusive and equitable society.
4. Community Development: When Black women hold leadership positions, they can advocate for policies and initiatives that address the unique needs and concerns of their communities. This includes issues such as education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and social justice. By empowering Black women, the overall well-being and development of the community can be improved.
5. Reducing Disparities: Black women often face significant disparities in various areas, including education, employment, healthcare, and income. Empowering Black women means addressing these disparities and working towards creating a more equitable society. By having access to education, economic opportunities, and leadership positions, it can help narrow the gaps and contribute to a more just and fair society for all.
6. Diverse Perspectives: Leadership positions should reflect the diversity of the population they serve. Black women in leadership roles brings diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the decision-making table. This diversity leads to more innovative and effective solutions to complex problems. By ensuring that Black women have a voice in leadership, we can foster inclusive decision-making processes and create more robust and sustainable outcomes.
First and foremost, fostering connections and collaboration between young women in Africa & America is crucial due to the shared historical experiences of these communities. Both African and African American women have faced and continue to face unique challenges and barriers, such as systemic racism, gender inequality, and limited access to quality education and opportunities. By bringing these two groups together, we can leverage their shared experiences to build solidarity and amplify the voices of young female leaders who are striving to make a difference.
Furthermore, supporting the bridge between these communities of sisterhood can lead to the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and perspectives. African students bring with them rich cultural heritage, diverse experiences, and innovative approaches to problem-solving. On the other hand, African American students bring their unique perspectives shaped by the historical struggles and achievements of the African American community. By facilitating cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, we create an environment that nurtures creativity, innovation, and empathy, enabling young women to develop the leadership skills necessary to address the complex challenges of our time.
Empowering young female leadership is not only a matter of social justice but also an investment in the future. When we provide opportunities for young women to thrive, we unlock their potential to become catalysts for change in their communities. By investing in their education, mentorship, and skill development, we equip them with the tools to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and drive positive transformation. As these young leaders rise, they become role models and inspire others to follow in their footsteps, creating a ripple effect that uplifts entire communities. By understanding the significance of this endeavor, we can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. By fostering emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence among young Black female students, you can create a strong, supportive, and empowering community that celebrates diversity, encourages self-expression, and promotes the overall well-being and success of its members.
Lastly, by supporting the bridge and building a safe community for young black students, we contribute to a more inclusive narrative of empowerment. Intersectionality recognizes that one's experiences and identities intersect and influence each other. By embracing this concept, we acknowledge that the struggles faced by young women are multi-dimensional and interconnected. By working together, we can challenge the patriarchal systems, racial bias, and discrimination that hinder progress and create a more equitable society for all. It is imperative we foster solidarity, promote cross-cultural understanding, and invest in the empowerment of young female leadership. Together, we can create a future where all young women have equal opportunities to thrive, contribute, and inspire positive change in their communities and beyond.
Meet our founders
& Program Directors
Isobel Adjoa Afful-Mensah (nee Acquah)
Isobel Afful-Mensah is a dual qualified transactions and corporate advisory lawyer with a background in investment banking. She is a multilingual professional (French, German, Spanish & English) with over 15 years business experience across a range of industries and jurisdictions.
Her work experience includes the financing of assets (corporate jets, marine assets, Technology), preparing SMEs for investment and providing strategic structuring solutions to corporate clients. She is a product of Bank of America Merrill Lynch (UK), CMS Cameron McKenna Law (UK/Belgium), the Whitaker Group (Ghana) and AB & David Law (Ghana). She is currently an Associate Partner at Globetrotters Legal and Operations & Legal Affairs Director for growth equity fund (under formation), Yaro Capital.
Isobel is a founding member of International Women's Forum (IWF) Ghana and an executive director of Blackstar Brokerage Limited.
She is a passionate gender advocate and philanthropist. She is the founder of the Lady Initiative, which provides holistic training and empowerment to young ladies aged 15 to 30 in Ghana. She is also a co-founder of the Pearl Safe Haven, which is constructing Ghana's first purpose built shelter for survivors of gender-based violence in addition to carrying out advocacy and managing a mobile application ("Safe Place") to share survivor stories and monitor and report incidences of violence.
She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law from University College London, UK (with German law experience from University of Cologne, Germany) and a MA in Intercultural Communication from Birkbeck University, UK. She is qualified to practice law in England and Ghana.
Her hobbies include reading, art, travel, gender advocacy and youth empowerment.
Keyonna A Monroe
Keyonna Monroe teaches extensively on emotional intelligence and collaborates with several companies and institutions including Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Californian Board of Judges Association, Whole Foods, The Obama Foundation, NAACP, and DOVE. Monroe discusses topics around emotional & spiritual wellness, mental health, and ethical leadership development. She has spoken at national and international conferences, companies, and universities such as ColorComm, WAGS, NYU, USC, Loyola Marymount, Berkeley, Misericordia University, and UCLA annually, and is tapped by companies such as Job Corps, Bank of America, VyStar Credit Union, Amazon, Raytheon and Boeing to share her unconventional insights on leadership, and business.
Well-versed in the development and facilitation of technical and educational training in the non-profit, academic, corporate, and governmental industries. Keyonna applies adult learning theories and methods to develop creative and interactive presentations to inform and motivate audiences using a wide variety of platforms, including one-on-one and group sessions, webinars, online programs, and correspondence courses.
Certified Emotional Intelligence, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Neuro-linguistic Programming and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
With an amiable and structured background in Counseling, Ms. Monroe generally employs NLP and EQ techniques, while integrating interpersonal approaches to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. She believes that the therapeutic relationship is vital to success, and is respectfully attentive to cultural factors and the unique history and circumstances of each client. With compassion and understanding, Ms. Monroe works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing. She views counseling as a partnership in which she works with clients toward this goal.