COADY International Institute – ST. FX University

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership


About the Program

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership is an award-winning program offered by the Coady Institute’s International Centre for Women’s Leadership. It supports First Nation, Métis and Inuit women in building their capacities to be empowered leaders and agents of change capable of strengthening and contributing to the development of their communities.

In operation since 2011, the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program provides successful candidates with a full scholarship that includes tuition, travel, accommodations, meals, and a three-month community placement stipend. Program participants also benefit from the guidance and mentorship of accomplished Indigenous women leaders throughout their learning journey.

Program participants are also provided with the opportunity to receive a small leverage fund of up to $1000 to offset costs incurred while undertaking the course work required during the community placement.  Upon graduation, IWCL graduates are able to submit a proposal for access to a community leverage fund. This is to undertake a community-led initiative championed by the graduate with an in-kind contribution from the community and/or partners.



Program Components

The Indigenous Women in Community Leadership Program consists of three main components:

  1. A three-week on-site intensive course at the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Topics include Indigenous herstories and politics; leadership models and skills; participatory project management; Asset Based Community Development (ABCD); strategic planning; conflict analysis and management; and Indigenous approaches to research. IWCL curriculum is rooted in indigenous ways of knowing and doing, and draws heavily from traditional cultural teachings.  During the three-week course, IWCL Mentors will visit with participants where possible.
  2. A three-month community placement is undertaken by the participant which includes required course work and the development of a community-based project.  The IWCL participant will choose a community project which helps her develop leadership skills while working with community. Participants are guided and supported by their mentor during the placement.
  3. A second residency at the Coady Institute which includes additional skills building, as well as review and presentation of the participants’ community placement project and graduation from the program.



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