In their effort to encourage women to participate in the forthcoming local council election, the 50/50 group in collaboration with Action Aid yesterday organised a one day seminar to empower grass root women to effectively participate in politics, across the country, at Bamboo Hut Wilkinson Road in Freetown.
Speaking at the opening of the seminar under the theme “A woman’s place is governance” the Founder and first president of the 50/50 Group Nemata Eshun Baiden expressed thanks and appreciation to all those who are contributing to the empowerment of women in Sierra Leone particularly Action Aid for the expertise and financial support to kick start a talent based data project for women and the training of women facilitators at various communities in the country.
She intimated that the training is part of the Madeleine K. Albright Grant which is part of NDI‘s Initiative of Win with women Global Initiative which promotes women in political leadership, and also commended the APC government for giving more powers to women at parliament and cabinet ministers but appealed for the involvement of grass root women in all matters of governance.
Dr. Baiden categorically stated that the Local Government Act of 2004 provides a statutory 50/50 gender balance affirmative policy for ward committees but it has not been implemented in most wards in the country, adding that the political parties have not given the 30% quota that was promised, “we only have 11% of women in Local Council” she complained.
She however noted that more women in politics means better policies for women and children and electing women decreases corruption in government while pointing out the need for women to work better for their constituencies and build peaceful and stable societies.
The Country Director of Action Aid Tennyson Williams briefly gave an over view of their programmes to empower women to effectively participate in politics, through community based approaches, adding that they are helping women to overcome the barrier that prevents them from participating in politics.
Mr Williams urged the participants of the seminar who were drawn from all parts of the country to make good use of the political campaign skills and also encouraged them to share the knowledge and experience learnt at the training.
Participants of the training also briefed the press about Local council related problems, affecting them in their various locations and appealed for more capacity building programs for grass root women to enable them generate the necessary support, from government and NGO’s.