Oley Dibba-Wadda

Founder, President, & CEO, Gam Africa Institute for Leadership

“Education Leadership through Crisis” is a multi-week video series featuring wisdom from a diverse group of education leaders.

Below, watch highlights from host Mubuso Zamchiya’s interview with Oley Dibba-Wadda on using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to look at education differently, including how we prepare children for life after school, the prevalence of gender inequality, and the need for holistic education.

Scroll down to watch the full interview.

“I think this an opportunity for us in the education sector to really look at education differently. As opposed to preparing our children for exams, let’s prepare them for life after school.”

Oley Dibba-Wadda

President & CEO, Gam Africa Institute for Leadership

Additional links:

Oley’s website

GAIL

FAWE

Meet Oley Dibba-Wadda

Oley Dibba-Wadda is a social development executive and strategic analyst with over 25 years of leadership and management experience. She is an expert in African and international policies on education, gender equality and youth development. She is the Founder, President and CEO of the Gam Africa Institute for Leadership (GAIL). Prior, Oley was the Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank. Before joining the African Development Bank, she was the Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). Oley also worked as the Executive Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) based in Nairobi, Kenya as well as the Executive Director of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS).

Oley has held several senior management and advisory roles across various international development agencies, including Oxfam Great Britain, the Commonwealth Education Fund and Concern Universal. Between 2011 and 2013, she chaired the Gender is my Agenda (GIMAC) Campaign Movement across Africa and is the current Chair of the Executive Committee of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa; the current Chair of the Advisory Council of Teach for All Africa and a Global Ambassador for 10X10 and Concern Universal.

A certified life coach, Oley has, over the past 20 years been providing coaching and mentoring support on emotional life skills to several youths across the African continent. Oley has travelled extensively to over 50+ countries globally and been invited to speak at several international forums as guest and keynote speaker. She is the author of “Memoirs of an African Woman on a Mission.”

In recognition of her exemplary contribution towards human capital development globally, Oley was awarded the “Inspiring Woman of Excellence” in 2012 and the “African Woman Leadership” in 2013. She was one of the nominees for the 2017 New African Woman in Education and one of the nominees for the 2020 “She Awards” for Outstanding Woman Writer. In March 2020, Oley was selected amongst the first cohort of 15 African women leaders across Africa for the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf “Amujae Initiative” which seeks to inspire and prepare women to take up roles in the highest echelons of public leadership across Africa.

View the Full Interview

Question Breakdown:

1. (00:40) Tell us about your childhood—how did your own education influence the path that you took as an adult?

2. (04:12) Why the focus on gender, women, and girls throughout your academic and international development career?

3. (07:45) What are we missing as a society? Why does gender inequality exist?

4. (13:21) Are there also supply-side barriers or challenges in the system that add to the range of issues that prevent girls from going to school? Or do you think it is largely on the demand side?

5. (15:12) Tell us about your time at the Africa Development Bank (ADB): what did you focused on? What leadership lessons did you gain while working there?

6. (20:03) Why did you leave ADB and returned to the Gambia?

7. (29:58) How does education fit into your theory of change? What are the education manifesto milestones that you established?

8. (37:03) What would you do differently for girls with the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to reset the education system?

9. (39:13) What advice would you have for incumbent or emerging education ministers and other leaders?

10. (42:00) What other women leaders are inspirational to you at this moment?

11. (46:01) Can you tell us about your book, “Memoirs of An African Woman on a Mission?”

12. (51:22) What books inspired you as a young reader?

13. (54:30) What parting words or encouragements might you have for our viewers and listeners?

“We need to start looking at education beyond the classroom. Beyond just teaching and learning. I think we need to be bold enough to engage with other non-education actors.”

Oley Dibba-Wadda

President & CEO, Gam Africa Institute for Leadership

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