HERS has an exceptional connection to our three “Sister Organizations” in Africa. Through a grant made by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2000, HERS began working with women in South Africa during the period of transition to democracy and the integration of previously segregated institutions of higher education. HERS-South Africa (HERS-SA) was formally established in September 2003 as the first HERS Affiliate supporting the professional development needs of women in leadership positions in universities and universities of technology in South Africa. Since then, and with the support of HERS and HERS-SA, two additional Affiliates on the African continent have been established: HERS-East Africa (HERS-EA) in 2014 and HERS-West Africa (HERS-WA) in 2015.
HERS Affiliates meet shared guidelines including HERS-approved curriculum, HERS Alumnae involvement, and institutional affiliation with a legally recognized organization or university. The Affiliates are otherwise independent and provide different programs and services to women in their regions.
In developing these affiliations, HERS has been able to draw on a long history of women from Africa participating in HERS Institutes. HERS Affiliates in Africa broaden the HERS Community and provide meaningful connections and collaborations on leadership development training for women in higher education around the world.
We invite you to contact the leaders of the HERS Affiliates if you or your institution are working in regions of Africa. The programs offered by the HERS Affiliates are open to international participants.
As a registered nonprofit organization, HERS-SA has supported the advancement of over 1,000 women in higher education throughout South Africa, Africa and beyond.
- Between 2000-2004, over 70 women traveled from South Africa to the U.S. to attend a HERS Leadership Institute at Wellesley College; an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- In 2003, HERS-SA held its first ACADEMY for women leaders in Cape Town, South Africa. As its premier event, the HERS-SA ACADEMY is a residential program that takes place in September each year. After completing the HERS-SA ACADEMY, alumnae are then eligible to apply to the HERS-SA mini-ACADEMY.
- Between 2003-2011, 71 women from countries of Africa participated in HERS-SA ACADEMY with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to encourage development of similar programs in the region.
- In 2008, HERS President Judith S. White led a study tour to South Africa, jointly sponsored by the Association of Black Women in Higher Education (ABWHE); HERS Alumnae, Board Members, and ABWHE members attended the HERS-SA ACADEMY.
- Dr. Sabie Surtee has served as the Director of HERS-SA since 2010. She attended the 2011 HERS Denver Summer Institute.
HERS-EA was first proposed by Margaret Khaitsa as her Leadership Project when she attended the 2011 HERS Denver Summer Institute. Khaitsa, a Professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine at Mississippi State University, was able to work directly with Sabie Surtee, Executive Director of HERS-SA, who also attended HERS Denver that summer, and draw upon support from other HERS-SA Alumnae in East Africa. HERS-EA is hosted by the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development (AFRISA) in Makerere University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB).
- HERS-EA 2012 Planning Conference was the end result of three years of planning between HERS, HERS-SA, advocates and partners in the region, including Khaitsa, Chair of the HERS-EA Planning Committee, and Naomi Lumutenga, HERS-EA Vice-Chair and 2015 HERS Denver Institute Alumna.
- On August 5, 2014, with the support of Makerere Univeristy, HERS-EA was launched. The Launch Conference was attended by over 150 participants from universities in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Also attending the conference and representing HERS was Raymonda Burgman, Director of the HERS Institutes, who delivered the keynote speech as the Guest of Honor.
- February 15-17, 2016, the Executive Committee of HERS-EA was funded to present at the annual conference of Tuskegee Auburn Women’s Leadership Alliance. HERS President Judith S. White joined the group to talk to leaders of Auburn University’s Global Outreach Program about joint projects with HERS-EA, supporting broader access to education for women and girls in the East Africa region.
HERS-WA was the direct result of participation by Aderonke “Ronke” Akeredolu, the Bursar of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Nigeria at the 2006 HERS-SA ACADEMY and a subsequent Consultative Workshop organized for participants sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. At the end of the workshop, which HERS President Judith S. White also attended, Akeredolu and Oludolapo Amole were mandated to start planning for the establishment of HERS-WA.
- In 2008, Akeredolu attended a planning workshop organized by HERS-SA Alumnae in Ghana, at which a concept paper was developed and presented on the establishment of HERS-WA. In June 2011, Akeredolu met with HERS staff in Denver to present the work she had done on establishing HERS-WA. As a result of this visit, the first guidelines for HERS Affiliates was developed.
- Akeredolu participated in the 2015 HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, during which she finalized the formal proposal for recognition of HERS-WA as the third HERS affiliate. Affiliate status was approved by the HERS Board in 2015.
- HERS-WA is hosted by and based at OAU in the Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies with further support from the Bursary Department.
- HERS-WA Launch and International Conference took place on November 9-13, 2015 at OAU. Approximately 100 men and women attended the Conference representing various institutions and agencies from across the region. Also attending the conference and representing HERS was Raymonda Burgman, Director of the HERS Institutes, who delivered the history of HERS.
- The first HERS-WA Academy will be held in Fall 2016.