GNN has again discovered another young Liberian who is making greater impact in the lives of many Liberians in all sectors of the Liberian society, His passion of helping his fellow compatriots has overwhelmingly won the hearts of Liberians and other nationalities.
Mr. Benedict Tokpa Danuweli, a PROSCI’s certified Change Management Practitioner, who holds a master’s degree in Public Sector Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration & a Leadership Expert (John C. Maxwell Team Member), with over seven years public and private sector experience in reform- currently serves as EQUIP Leadership Liberia’s Coordinator.
EQUIP Leadership Liberia is a subsidiary of EQUIP Leadership, a non-for-profit organization founded by the world’s best leadership expert, Dr. John C. Maxwell in 1996.
EQUIP Leadership International has trained over 6 million leaders in more than 196 countries around the world through its Beyond Success program, on effective value-based leadership and inspires them (leaders) to lead positive change in their different sectors of influence. The institution is dedicated to developing servant leaders who shoulder responsibility, face challenges with courage and creativity and never relinquish their God-given dreams.
He is indeed a rising Liberian change agents, mobilizing leaders from the different sectors of Liberia to lead positives change, the EQUIP’s ‘Beyond Success program’. He was recruited by the foundation, and inducted as Liberia’s Coordinator on April 10th, 2021 – succeeding Eric Nyuma, who was promoted to serve as the African Director for the EQUIP Leadership’s Beyond Success Program. In a chat with GNN with Mr. Danuweli over the weekend, on highlights from the impact of his leadership on Liberia, since his induction nearly two years ago. ( Please see: Equip-Leadership-Liberia Gets New Coordinator – FrontPageAfrica (frontpageafricaonline.com)
“I have played active roles in many different reforms in Liberia, but this is by far the most fulfilling. The best part for me has been being a part of a movement, that’s helping ordinary people identify values, adopting them, and doing extra ordinary things with these values in leadership as they in return add value to others. I see the urgency to introduce value-based leadership across the different spheres of influence in Liberia, as an opportunity. As a Liberian with no alternative home, I believe value-based leadership is our hope for development. I can’t thank the John C. Maxwell Foundation enough, for allowing us to impact our people with this wonderful program!” Benedict stated.
On asking him how has Liberians received his leadership, as a representative of the world’s number one leadership expert in Liberia, he added “The baton was well received from Eric, and so the instant impact we started making from the very beginning of my leadership was not a surprise. Liberians have been so kind. The team of volunteers and board of directors have given their all to this process. I guess it’s because we’ve had 100% of our worst days as a Country, and it’s a glaring reality that leadership is our way up.”
Since 2021, the EQUIP Leadership Liberian team under the leadership of Mr. Danuweli has been able to impact over 16,000 Liberians or leaders with the Beyond Success Program, a value-based personal growth and leadership development curriculum of John C. Maxwell. Impacts have been made on leaders and ordinary people from across government ministries, religious institutions, youth groups, civil society leaders, etc., and have watched beneficiaries take small steps towards positive change. Speaking with a country director (who prefers to stay unanimous) from one of the international civil society organizations impacted by Benedict’s leadership intimated: “before the training with EQUIP, my entire senior management team were always fighting amongst themselves, which stalled most of our operations. Today, they’re friends, learning values together, and holding each other accountable to take small steps at a time towards personal growth and behavioral changes. I have a better Senior management team than it was, six months ago.”
I curiously inquired about his beginning steps, why his leadership has been youth centered, highlighting a conference he did with young leaders in late 2021, collaborating with Liberia Unites (another nonprofit organization). During that young leader’s development confence like the many others he has organized, over 100 young people from 5 counties: Bong, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado, and Nimba, benefitted from a weeklong conference on “how to lead with Integrity and the importance of volunteerism” in Monrovia. It was an awakening moment for many of these young leaders to rethink leadership, and improve their relevance to their communities using volunteerism as a tool, because of this conference. He said, “I once visited a prison in Bong County, to assess the possibility to teach inmates values with the hopes that they will someday be freed men, and could utilize these principles from our program. Whilst engaging one of the inmates, his feedback shattered me. He said, “if I had learned these values earlier, I probably would not have been here.” I think if the young people are exposed to the right values earlier, the better our nation will be.” (EQUIP LEADERSHIP-LIBERIA trains 100 youth Leaders on Integrity and Volunteerism – FrontPageAfrica (frontpageafricaonline.com)).
Many Liberians profess to be religious. In April of Last year, EQUIP Leadership Liberia provided a two weeks’ leadership development session for over 150 pastors from 14 Counties in Liberia, on the Logos Hope Ship in Monrovia. This training provided an opportunity for the pastors to learn how to lead their people from the place of value, and were exposed to principles from the world’s best leadership expert Dr. John C. Maxwell. These selected religious leaders were inspired to apply these values to their lives, go back to their communities to inspire transformation. Speaking with one of the beneficiaries from that program over the weekend, Pastor John (preferred to stay unanimous) lamented “That program helped me assess how bad my attitude was, and how it was a major reason my church was not growing and how negative I was towards other people of different belief. I had to rethink and act differently. Today, my church runs two services, and also a community kitchen that serves as feeding point for hundreds of hungry community members weekly.” (please see Liberia: EQUIP Leadership Project in Partnership With LCC Certificates 150 Church Leaders in Transformational Leadership Development – allAfrica.com).
“From our assessment, we realized that leadership is not a positional thing. Many people don’t get this. We don’t often get leaders seeing their roles in the problem, and taking responsibility to solve problems. Without problems, there’s no need for leadership anyway. But until you learn to lead yourself well, you cannot lead others effectively, to solve problems – and this is where we come in.” Benedict intimated about how EQUIP team works.
In 2022, EQUIP Leadership Liberia team, under Benedict’s leadership developed a 5-year strategic plan, to be able to reach 125,000 Liberians across the different sectors – to learn how to lead from the place of value or take personal responsibility for their own leadership. The EQUIP’s Beyond Success program is structured in a way, where participants learn these values in small groups, self-assess their personal leadership gaps, take individual actions or small steps to bridge these behavioral gaps and being accountable to the rest of the small group members. The Beyond Success Curriculum covers some amazing topics written by John C. Maxwell, and run for seven to twelve sessions.
The strategy has guarded the EQUIP Liberian team to focus on supporting government institutions, civil society groups, religious organizations, youth groups, community structures, media practitioners, etc. with value-based leadership support.
In November 2022, EQUIP Leadership Liberia hosted the African Regional Conference for national leadership strengthening. The conference brought together over 40 foreign leadership experts from the John C. Maxwell team, who’re leading reforms in over 22 nations in Africa and the United States. The theme of the conference was: “Leading with Integrity, Transformation Begins with me”. Over 500 Liberians benefitted from this conference, as there were different breakout sessions where the topics were dealt with according to sector specifics (and their representatives) – having the John Maxwell trained leaders helping our different local conference delegates to reflect on how they can “Lead with Integrity, knowing Transformation begins with them’.
During the final day of the conference, the foreign experts were dispatched in the communities to work with students and vulnerable youths, helping them to learn values and their roles in Nation Building with integrity. ( Please see: Liberia Receives Leadership Development Support – FrontPageAfrica (frontpageafricaonline.com))
In 2023, EQUIP Leadership Liberia has a goal of impacting 20,000 Liberians – teaching them value-based leadership principles and inspiring participants to influence their spheres of influence with these values. Mr. Danuweli shared in part, what’s next for Liberia in 2023: “We are currently having active transformational activities in five of the Counties of Liberia: Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Nimba & Montserrado Counties. This year, we intend to expand our interventions to two additional counties. Probably, Lofa & Sinoe Counties. We intend to begin a radio program in Monrovia, to teach the public values, and mobilize participants to take positive actions towards personal growth and leadership.”
In his parting words, Benedict encouraged Liberians in Leadership position to see their titles as an opportunity to serve their people and make their lives better. He noted: “Having a position of any kind is great. It gives you the legitimacy to serve others and make a difference but it depends on what you use your position or title for. According to John Maxwell, that’s the least level of leadership. How you use your position or right to lead, to get the people’s permission or support matters, to get things done.”
The EQUIP Leadership Liberian team are opened to partnership with relevant organizations or individuals to support their efforts in grooming the next generation of transformational leaders, who should lead from the place of value.
For more information of EQUIP Leadership Liberia’s, engagements across Liberia, you can follow their work on Facebook: EQUIP.LIBERIA or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benedict, is a blessing to Liberia. Though Liberia doesn’t go for his kind of character, but he is a gift from God to Liberia. With his kind in our society, there is hope for a better Liberia. God will raise up leaders who will help make Liberia a better place. I pray that God Almighty will continue to blessed and increase Benedict in knowledge and wisdom. God will always be with you Ben.
Engaging the youth & training them as leaders challenges the idea that the younger generation is getting lazy. With Liberia having a very young population, it is very strategic to bank on the energy and talents of these young people so that they can fulfill their own destiny and that of the nation.
Thank God for such inspiration through a young who choose to see the positive in Liberia and plays his part in being the change we want. Benedict Tokpa Danuweli is indeed a hero and needs to be awarded for this unique service to nation.