One of the focal points of the Trust Fund is to increase Women’s Political Participation through Effective Training. The full and equitable participation of women in public life is essential to building and sustaining strong, vibrant democracies. Accordingly, the meaningful participation of women in national, local and community leadership roles has become an important focus of global development policy. In view of this, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) with funding support from the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria and the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Bureau through the Africa Regional Democracy Fund (ARDF) organized a three (3) days Capacity Building Workshop for Women Leaders of Political Parties from 12 – 14 August 2020 at Treasure Suites and Conference in Abuja. The capacity building held in collaboration with Women in Politics Forum.
The training workshop became paramount holding on the fact that the decrease in the number of women who won elective positions and who are appointed into appointive positions especially since the return of Nigeria to democratic practice in 1999 has become alarming and requires urgent intervention. The capacity building of woman leaders of political parties focused on gender mainstreaming, communications, organizing, mentorship of young women politicians and mobilizing support for women within political parties. Training capacity building availed the consultants on the project (Ms. Wahirat M. Aliyu – Gender Consultant and Professor Sadeeque Abba – Department of Political Science, University of Abuja) to provide a platform for woman leaders who had been supported to develop a gender workplan based on the party Gender Roadmap for their respective parties to finalize the work plan through an all interactive session.
The capacity building workshop was structured on the following themes: Introduction to Women, Leadership and Political Participation; Gender Concepts (Definitions of Gender and Gender Stereotypes and the implications for women’s Political Participation);Gender Mainstreaming in Political Parties (The meaning of Gender Mainstreaming and Best Practices and Strategies for Gender Mainstreaming);Introduction to Gender and Transformative Leadership (Overview of Gender and Transformative Leadership and identifying the political issue and mapping the political scene);Demonstrating Leadership( Experience sharing on Practical Leadership Examples); Advancing Team Building within political parties (Understanding Women’s Rights and Skills in Breaking barriers in leadership and Team Building Skills in Political Parties); Communication: Use of Orthodox Media to Promote Political Agenda: Gender Road Map and Mobilising for Action(How do we mobiles action); Mentorship of young women in political parties; Cooperating with other women and acting collectively on issues of mutual concerns; Engaging party leaders for ticketing; Mechanisms to address the imbalance of women in political parties; Mobilising Resources for a political campaign and Finalisation of Gender Work Plan for Political Parties. The training pulled together resource persons who are well respected and experienced. They include Professor Sadeeque Abba (Department of Political Science); Ms. Mufuliat Fijabi (CEO NWTF); Ms. Toun Okewale (CEO Women Radio); Ms. Wahirat M. Aliyu (Gender Consultant); Barr. Ebere Ifendu (President, Women in Politics Forum) and Adetunde Ademefun (Development Consultant). The training was moderated by Ms. Lois Chinedu, Programme Officer, NWTF,
The workshop was an all interactive and expository sessions as female political leaders from different political parties demonstrated a good knowledge about the underrepresentation of women in politics and are willing to change the narrative as they go back to their various parties to work towards effecting the change towards all-inclusive process.
It is important to note that women’s engagement is crucial, and it is important to recognize that women are not a homogeneous group. Depending on whether women are young or older, educated, or uneducated, live in rural or urban areas, they have very different life experiences that lead to different priorities and needs. Women’s representation is not the only factor, but it is a critical factor for the development of inclusive, responsive, and transparent democracies.