A new scheme will empower young African women in Commonwealth countries by matching them with experienced professionals in their fields.
The Commonwealth Women's Mentorship Scheme is designed to help encourage and guide young women through the early stages of their careers.
It began with a six-month pilot in the Caribbean, the Americas, Africa, Europe, Australia and the Pacific, and successfully matched 50 women with experienced mentors.
The programme is now set to benefit 70 young African women, aged 18 to 29, who have demonstrated leadership potential in their careers or community projects.
The mentorship scheme was launched last month at the Commonwealth Youth Awards in Marlborough House, London, by the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Speaking at the event Patricia Scotland said: “Empowering our women is investing in the resilience and holistic success of our current and future communities and nations of the Commonwealth.
“This programme does just that - meaningfully empowering young women to realise their full potential and individual agency and to exercise their full citizenship.”
The project was developed at the Commonwealth Women Leaders’ Summit in 2016, and endorsed by Commonwealth Ministers responsible for women’s affairs at their meeting in Samoa later the same year.
It will be delivered by the Commonwealth Youth Council, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network and Rotary International this year.
Commonwealth Youth Council vice-chair for policy, advocacy and projects, Nafula Wafula, said: "Despite record numbers of women graduating from college and entering the workforce, data still points to a ‘leaky pipeline’– a large chasm between the number of women starting out on the professional track and those advancing to senior positions.”