The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University’s first Next Generation Professionals program focused on the conflict-ridden North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by developing strong, ethical female leaders through leadership and professional political training to support the country’s electoral process.

In partnership with The International Republican Institute, the NGP program developed the professional capacities of five female politicians competing in the DRC’s first local elections in 2015. Training explored ethical dilemmas in election campaigns, negotiating skills, violence mitigation, gender politics, the democratic process, campaign development and media outreach. The women were trained so that they could increase the impact of their new knowledge by sharing their insights with a wide circle of engaged women in the DRC. While in Washington, program participants interacted with senior government, private sector professionals, and top policymakers in public and private life.

After leaving the program, the women returned to the DRC to focus on their political campaigns. With the valuable skills they learned while participating in the program along with toolkits of training materials, graduation from the program enabled them to prepare other women for public service.

“I am prepared and have the experience for the national legislator, all of which comes from the training I received at the McCain Institute, which inspired me to defend my country at a higher level.” – Prisca Kamala Luanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, NGP program participant.