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ECOWAS moves to correct imbalance in women participation in politics

A technical workshop opened at the ECOWAS Commission Abuja, on Monday 15 December 2015, towards the development of an ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategy, and a pilot Fellowship Programme for Women in Peace and Security as part of determined regional efforts to correct the imbalance of women’s participation in democratic elections and good governance.

The aim is also to harness women’s involvement in conflict management and peace building processes.

Addressing the opening of the meeting, on behalf of the Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, the Director for Gender, Youth/Sports, Civil Society Organizations, Employment and Drug Control, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, said the workshop is within the context of the two main activities of the 2014 Women, Peace and Security Work Plan, funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

The activities are the development of a Gender and Election Strategy which is key to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly with respect to the electoral processes, in parliaments and in political parties, and within electoral management bodies, and the provision of pilot Fellowships to train West African women to develop a better understanding of African Peace and Security issues in order to increase their participation in conflict management and peace processes in West Africa.

These activities will involve a research study in five ECOWAS Member States organizing major elections in 2015 namely Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea, with a critical analysis and subsequent validation that will result in the development of country specific and regional strategies, and a roadmap to effective participation of women in democratic elections and good governance in West Africa.

The study will also document best practices and success stories of women’s involvement in politics and conflict management in the region, as well as challenges and obstacles to women’s involvement in democratic elections from a gender perspective, for pre-election, during and post-election periods in the five countries.

While, the pilot Fellowships is aimed at increasing the expertise of women in gender, peace and security, it will focus on providing training women in West Africa to develop a better understanding of the African Peace and Security issues in order to play more informed roles in conflict management and peace processes in line with relevant ECOWAS Protocols and UN Security Council Resolutions relating to gender equality and women’s empowerment.


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