Inside Look: Selecting New Rise Up Leaders in Nigeria

March 30, 2022

This month, we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the competitive selection process for our new cohort of Rise Up Leaders in Nigeria.

Theresa Kaka Effa, Rise Up Nigeria Country Director

Theresa Kaka Effa, Rise Up Nigeria Country Director, shared her expertise with us on how leaders are recruited, what she looks for in a prospective leader, and surprises about the new cohort.

The highlights from our conversation with Theresa are below.

How does Rise Up recruit leaders? 

Because we want to give as many leaders the opportunity to access the call for applications, we use multiple channels. In addition to Rise Up’s website and social media channels, we also promote the opportunity through partner websites and social media, NGO coalition group chat platforms, and WhatsApp channels. Word of mouth and our alumni base of Rise Up Leaders also play a key role. Many applicants cited names of Nigeria alumni who shared the call for applications directly with them.

How many people applied for the Nigeria Accelerator and how many people were selected? 

We received applications from about 100 NGO leaders. The selection process included two rounds of application review, which narrowed our applicant pool to the top 40. These finalists were then called for a virtual interview, and we selected 24 leaders to participate in the 2022 Nigeria Accelerator. Our selection team included two Rise Up staff members and two alumni of Rise Up programming in Nigeria.

What are you looking for in a prospective Rise Up Leader?

We focus on leaders who meet the following criteria: a commitment to the gender equity and advocacy fields; decision-making power within their organization; diversity (a leader who represents or is part of a marginalized group and/or who engages meaningfully with marginalized communities); and organizational capacity.

Is there anything that surprises you about this new Nigeria cohort? 

Our newest cohort of leaders has the most number of men – nine! – in comparison to our three past cohorts of leaders in Nigeria. There is a growing movement for male involvement in gender equity spaces and programming (e.g. HeforShe campaign), and we are excited to see more male participation and allyship to advance the lives of women and girls across our country.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a Rise Up Leader?

I would advise anyone interested in becoming a Rise Up Leader to read experiences shared by Rise Up alumni and see the transformation they have experienced, the alliances they have formed, the women and girls they have empowered, and how they have impacted their organizations, communities, and state.

Rise Up’s Nigeria Accelerator starts this week! Be on the lookout for more updates soon.