Eighty-Nine association professionals and nonprofit managers in Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria successfully completed the certificate course training in association management offered by the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). Gathered in Kigali in April, the association training and development workshop was sponsored by the Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) and facilitated by AfSAE. The training took place at Ubumwe Grande Hotel.
Premised on the veritable platform of AfSAE’s vision of education, advocacy, networking, and as a voice of the association profession in Africa, the three-day training was the most intense that the society has conducted since it was founded in 2016. Gregg Talley, CAE, FASAE, President and CEO of Talley Management Group, Inc. and Jeffers Miruka, AfSAE President and CEO of the African Association Management Company (AFAMCO) facilitated the training. The workshop was intertwined with several group discussions and short presentations from participants, all aimed at maximizing learning and promoting networking. Delegates were disallowed from sharing the same tables with similar faces during the training to foster free interactions.
The certificate program in association management course, that leads to a Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is a product of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) also known as the Center for Association Leadership. This was made possible through a grant of program license and faculty status agreement between ASAE and AfSAE. The courses covered included; essential practices in association management, effectively managing volunteer committees and task forces, membership development, communication and public relation, and developing your leadership potential. The first course of the program, essential practices in association management was first offered during Meetings Africa 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda and in February 2019 in Accra Ghana. It’s the intention of AfSAE to spread this training in Africa as it promotes the association management profession in the continent and give voices to associations, equipped the AfSAE president.
While opening the workshop, the CEO of Rwanda Convention Bureau, Nelly Mukazayire extoled her organization’s visionary partnership with AfSAE that made it possible for Rwanda to be the first country in Africa to offer this training. Mukazayire said that through such partnership, association events in Rwanda have spiked in the last two years, helping position Rwanda as a key association meetings destination in Africa. With the Kigali Convention Centre as Rwanda’s flagship venue, the country’s business events market potential has increased making it one of the industries with the highest foreign exchange earner eclipsing some of the traditional sectors, affirmed Mukazayire. With these happening, international brands like Radisson Blu, Marriott and the Serena Group have firmly set foot in the country. Rwanda derides itself as the most welcoming country to visit in Africa, and also easiest to start and do business in the continent.
Speaking after the training, Lady Justice Roselyn Nambuye, a Kenyan Appellate court judge, who is a founder member of Kenya Women Judges Association, Africa Women Judges Association, and International Women Judges Association, was full of praise for the training. She promised to rope in her colleagues and office administrators during all future trainings. Apart from honing her association management skills, she acknowledged a double harvest that will help her also discharge her leadership duties at her new workplace station and in making a positive contribution to her profession and associations. “The role of associations in impacting societies both socially and economically have become more pronounced during this training” she commented.
Pascaline Umulisa the Executive Secretary of Association des Guides du Rwanda, agreed that the training was a big eye opener to her, especially in capacity building. Each course, she said, was quite unique and impacted me differently, having lived through similar scenarios in my workplace. “Am now well prepared to reengineer my workplace to be better” she said.
Dr. Andrew Wetende, Chairman of the Kenya Dental Association was originally torn between canceling all his patients appointments at his clinic in Nairobi to attend the training or vice versa. He chose the latter and doesn’t regret it at all. He said this training will help him be a better leader and would recommend it to anyone managing similar organizations. Barely three months into her new roles, Jahou Faal, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) observed that the training was a great opportunity to reflect on how associations function and how to lead CAPA. “I have identified my own strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and the strategies I will deploy in my association” she observed. “As a new Secretary General of CAPA, this really helps me to settle down and quickly understand the environment and how to move forward and to communicate with my members.”
Meanwhile, McLean Essiene flew all the way from Nigeria to participate. As a member of the Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria, he was quite impressed with the level of in-depth training, networking and the value it has to the African association industry. He pledged to work towards making this happen in Nigeria.
Frank Murangwa, Director of Destination Marketing at the Rwanda Convention Bureau, said that associations have made his organisation set new targets for revenues earned from hosting business events from $74 million in 2018 to $88 million in 2019. With events such as Transform Africa Summit (TAS) and International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA 2019) lined up, Rwanda is well positioned to be a force to reckon with as a business events destination in Africa.