About

Oct15 Returning Group

Women Sharing Wisdom Institute was founded in 2014 by Dr. Olivia Herriford who after four visits in four years to Kenya as a volunteer doing similar leadership development as she’s done for years in the San Francisco Bay Area, decided to take this work to the next level. Colleagues began to join her, experiencing the same story – finding connections with other women deeply appreciative of the wisdom of their gifts in helping them raise the quality of their lives.

WSWI has developed partnerships with eMentoring Africa and The Youth Banner, two East African nonprofits serving women and youth in the development of their entrepreneurial and career skills. We seek to add more partners, local and East African, to support a common mission to empower those seeking positive social change in their lives and communities.

Why start in Kenya?

Kenya leads the East Africa Union in women’s right with the adoption of a new constitution that should be a model for developed and developing nations! The UN reports that when women are 30-35% of the government, healthy societal change occurs. It’s proven in the Scandinavian countries and we’re seeing that change in Rwanda where the Parliament is over 50% women. The New Kenyan Constitution makes it law that a minimum of at least 1/3 of elective public bodies must be women and that women and men will have the right to equal treatment and opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres.

Of course, the challenge is in the implementation in a world where women do 70% of the work and earn only 5-10% of the income; own less that 1% of the world’s wealth and land; and are 70% of the illiterate and poor. Yet statistics also show that when women achieve economic independence a community’s health improves; literacy improves, infrastructure is cared for, the local economy prospers, and children thrive. This is a global phenomenon, just as true in Nairobi and it is in Oakland.

Who We Serve

Individuals, communities, and organizations that wish to build their capacities for making social change happen. We deliver this work as a WSWI team or in collaboration with community-based organizations, schools, and other capacity-building non-profits. WSWI also leverages technology for making education, training, and personal connections accessible and possible for all via the Internet.