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ECOWAS Commission Reiterates Commitment to Women’s Participation in Governance
Experts at the Technical Meeting on ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategic Framework , 21st to 23rd, June 2016, Lomé, TogoThe ECOWAS Commission has reiterated its commitment to the promotion of the participation of Women and their fair representation in the democratic process and governance in West Africa.

The commitment was given by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow during the three-day meeting of technical experts on gender development which began on the 21st of June, 2016 in Lomé, Togo.

Represented by the ECOWAS Director, Gender Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, the Commissioner commended the participants of the meeting for their willingness and availability to contribute their technical expertise towards the development of the ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategic Framework (EGESF).

The aim of developing the EGESF is to provide practical guide to addressing gender barriers and promoting women and men’s equal participation throughout the electoral process.

The Commissioner Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Hajia Halima Ahmed who was also on hand, informed the experts that ECOWAS already has legal instruments which provide the solid foundation for ensuring the full participation of women and men in the political and decision-making processes as voters, candidates, elected officials and electoral management body (EMB) staff. She noted however that, with political representation of women in West Africa still about the lowest in the world, there is the need to define concrete actions to address gender inequality.

Head, ECOWAS Commission’s Electoral Assistance Unit, Mr. Francis Oke, expressed the optimism about the potential of the EGESF to contribute to closing the gaps of women’s political participation in the region.

The experts’ meeting which among others was called to review the Draft of the ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategic Framework (EGESF), is funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and facilitated by Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE)

While commending the comprehensive focus of the draft EGESF, the experts provided valuable information about the contextual realities in Member states, and made key suggestions towards improving the coherence of the document and the formulation of the action plan.

The facilitators had representatives of the ECOWAS Directorate of Political Affairs and Gender as well as Gender and Elections Experts from ECOWAS Member states.


The three-day meeting is expected to greatly improve the structure and content of the EGESF, Identify the key challenges and the strategic pillars to address them as well as define the specific and realistic activities within a time frame. The outcome document would be presented for validation at a Regional Experts meeting holder later.

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