The Nigerian Women Trust Fund’s Strengthening Women’s Political Participation Project in Kogi State held a two-day workshop for female politicians and their young women protegees in Lokoja. The workshops focused on mentorship for leadership and political participation and capacity building for issue-based election campaigns and fund raising

CEO Women Fund, Olufunke Baruwa provided a conceptual background on women’s participation in governance in Nigeria and on changing negative perceptions. She emphasized the need for legal frameworks, alluding to countries to countries like Rwanda and Kenya where policies, political and strong legal frameworks have engendered women’s representation in parliament and the executive. The President of Women in Politics, Ebere Ifendu, also shared her experiences as a mentor, politician and Labour Party official. She reiterated that mentoring is key to improving women’s political participation and representation through inter-generational knowledge transfer.

Day two focused on practical election campaign strategies. Hajia Sarautu, the Special Assistant to the Kogi State Governor on Rural Women Development shared experiences and effective strategies for women in a male dominated space. The Chair of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Kogi State Hon. Ibrahim Itodo also shared some lessons. Emphasis was on the need for women to start early and form strong caucuses and pressure groups within parties. Women Fund’s communication coordinator, Anthony Abu, facilitated sessions on using social media for election campaigns and fund-raising strategies.

The project is aimed at equipping selected Kogi women with the right skills to mobilise women for women’s candidacy and contest elections in 2019. The project is supported by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).