Local women join YSEALI WLA programme

Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the United States (US) government’s signature programme to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia.

YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) annually gathers women leaders from ASEAN to promote building economic capacity through international best practices. To date, the Brunei Alumni Network comprises 15 women leaders since Brunei’s first participation in the academy in 2016.

As part of this year’s Brunei YSEALI WLA Alumni Network follow-on projects, the Virtual Youth Programme on Women’s Leadership is ongoing from October 1-18. It is sponsored by the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.

The programme comprises core and optional sessions conducted by five local and three international (Malaysia and Singapore) speakers. The organising committee also acts as the facilitators and moderators for all the sessions. The core sessions include virtual workshops, a sharing session as well as in-person sessions; mentorship, networking activities. The optional session was a visit to the Women’s Prison Institution in Jerudong last Saturday.

Twenty applicants – women aged 19-29 from diverse backgrounds had been selected to participate in the programme. Their backgrounds range from currently not working, self-employed, working in the private and public sectors to students from local and international universities.

A screenshot of an online meeting during the opening session. PHOTO: YSEALI WLA

The programme’s opening session was held via Zoom on October 1.

In her opening remarks, the programme’s Project Lead and Brunei Country Lead at the YSEALI WLA Alumni Network 2020 Nazurah Noor said, “The programme aims to realise their personal capabilities and enhance their leadership knowledge and skills; empower by providing support for their personal growth and professional development; and foster collaboration between participants, speakers and the community.”

Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy Paul Estrada was present.

The opening session was followed by an ice-breaker session between participants. The programme continued with a workshop on Introduction to Gender Theory and Concepts by Malaysian speaker Professor Dr Noraida Endut.

The following week the participants underwent different workshops on Women’s Health: Leadership Matters by Professor Dato’ Dr Rashidah Shuib from Malaysia; Mindfulness 101 by local speaker Nadzirah Suhaimi from More to Bloom Mindfulness; Kepimpinan Wanita dalam Islam by Dr Hajah Ummi Fa’izah Rahman from Syababul Iman of Sultan Sharif Ali Mosque and Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA); and Sharing Session by Noorhafizah Rashid from Big BWN.

The second week concluded with a visit to the Women’s Prison Institution in Jerudong last Saturday where they learnt the roles and functions on the Women’s Prison Institution, witnessed demonstrations on canning based on Civil and Syariah Laws, tour around Women’s Prison and Prisons Department Gallery.

Representatives from Women’s Prison Institution Deputy Commanding Officer Hajah Rosni binti Kurus and Head of Reception and Release Section Siti Saharah binti Ahmad were present.

The programme will conclude this week with three virtual and one in-person workshops as well as three in-person activities over the weekend. The closing ceremony will be held on Sunday at Silaturrahim Hall, Youth Centre.