The inaugural cohort of the Amujae Initiative and program coaches

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development

The Big Win
Advancing women in public leadership benefits everyone. There is a strong link between women in leadership and better health, education, environmental, and healthcare outcomes.1

Involving more women in public life is also essential to creating more inclusive societies. Across the globe, an increased number of women in public life is correlated with legislation related to anti-discrimination,2 lower levels of corruption,3 and a lesser likelihood of using violence when faced with potential international conflict.4

By supporting the next generation of women in public leadership through training, advocacy, and mentoring, we can support countries across the continent to accelerate their development.

30 accomplished women leaders in the two Amujae Initiative cohorts
16 African countries represented

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Center for Women and Development—Big Win Partnership

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) is the premier institution for the advancement of women in public life across Africa. Building on the legacy of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Nobel Peace Prize Winner and the first elected woman head of state in Africa – the EJS Center was founded to be a catalyst for change across Africa, by helping unleash its most abundant untapped power — its women.

Through a unique blend of programming, advocacy, research, and exhibitions, the EJS Center advances women’s public leadership and social development.

Its flagship program, the Amujae Initiative, was conceived and launched in partnership with Big Win Philanthropy. Amujae, pronounced ӓ mōō jāēē, means ‘we are going up’ in Kru, a Liberian language. Launched on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020, its mission is to inspire and prepare women to unapologetically take up roles and excel in the highest echelons of public leadership and to bring other women along with them. The initiative has four goals:

  1. Enhance the capacity of women in public leadership, helping them to increase their effectiveness within their current roles.

  2. Embolden women as they navigate career paths in public leadership, supporting them to aspire to the highest positions.

  3. Strengthen ties among a growing, experienced, and capable network of women public leaders.

  4. Positively influence public perception of women’s leadership across Africa, building a wave of support for greater women’s representation.

Each year, the EJS Center selects accomplished women with backgrounds in public service, elected office, or policy to become Amujae Leaders. The programming includes integrated and tailored activities, training, and support from a network of women leaders from across the continent including former Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, and Catherine Samba-Panza, among many others.

Big Win's Support

The EJS Center and the Amujae Initiative are dedicated to challenging the status quo and changing the public perception of women in leadership across the continent, moving from a culture of tokenism to one that values women leaders.

Big Win has worked with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from the inception of the EJS Center and its flagship initiative, working to design programming, identify participants and coaches, raise awareness, and measure impact.

Salami, Minna. “On parliamentary equality the UK is 48th. It could learn from No 1: Rwanda”. The Guardian. (2017)

“From Victims To Leading Actors”. Government of the Republic of Rwanda. (2017)

Dollar, David, Raymond Fisman, and Roberta Gatti. “Are Women Really The “Fairer” Sex? Corruption And Women In Government”. Policy Research Report On Gender And Development. World Bank. (1999)

The United States National Action Plan On Women, Peace, And Security. The White House. (2016)