Today, many companies such as Renault, Microsoft and GDF SUEZ have developed Women In Network platforms to promote gender equality, through, coaching and mentoring sessions.

But do we groom our girl learners to lead? Do we equip them to challenge the power relations they witness in their daily lives?

Last year, Valued Citizens Initiative launched iNSPIRE, a year programme which develops young girls as aspiring leaders. Our successful pilot in Empangeni District in KwaZulu-Natal, involved 85 committed girl learners from 9 high schools guided by 18 educators to lead a school project focused on addressing gender issues in schools which involved boy learners, School Management Team members, parents and School Governing Body and reached 8751 students.

This year iNSPIRE will expand in KwaZulu-Natal thanks to GDF SUEZ Foundation and WSSA and in Gauteng thanks to Renault. INSPIRE involves 100 girl learners from 10 high schools, including Ndlovana Secondary School; Ntabazuka Secondary School; James Nxumalo Secondary School, etc, from Ulundi in KwaZulu Natal. iNSPIRE programme entails two journeys of four days in nature. The first journey will take place on the 24thto the 27th of April 2010, at Babanongo Valley and will focus on the alignment of beliefs, values and behaviour. This camp is strategically coordinated to equip girl learners with:

  1. The ability to set their own goals;
  2. The ability to take responsibility for their own actions;
  3. Analysis of relationships within a social context;
  4. The ability to draw self-portrait to reflect on self.

Then, educators will encourage and guide learners to plan projects that will strive to eradicate the challenges facing school learners, especially girls. These projects will be carried out by these girl learners in their respective schools through the iNSPIRE Clubs and monitored on a regular basis by Valued Citizens facilitators.

The second journey which will take place in September 2010, will focus on reaffirming leadership identity, consolidate key leadership skills and knowledge in the presence of leaders from various spheres of society, and evaluate iNSPIRE school projects. Among other issues to be covered in this journey is: leadership styles; leadership roles; qualities and trait of a leader; emotional intelligence, etc.

In South Africa, Social Justice and Gender Equality are intertwined in many girl learners’ challenges so, with iNSPIRE, Valued Citizens Initiative strive to develop character and a strong sense of values within girl learners, to allow them to stand for these values of equality, accountability, respect and dignity without perpetuating the victim syndrome which make many of them loose hope and loose themselves.


The District of Ulundi after the experience of Empangeni has selected 10 high schools which are:

  • Ntabazuka Secondary School – Ulundi
  • Nsikayendlu Secondary School – Ulundi
  • Imbilane Nsikayendlu Secondary School – Ulundi
  • Masibumbane Secondary School – Ulundi
  • Ndlovana Secondary School – Masolana Ulundi
  • James Nxumalo Secondary School – Ulundi
  • Impumelelo Secondary School – Mahlabathini
  • Ekudubekeli Secondary School – Mahlabathini
  • Mahlabathini Secondary School – Mahlabathini
  • Dikana Secondary School – Mahlabathini