In an effort to make it for more women representation in the forth coming tripartite elections, six Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Karonga district have been equipped with skills on how to network with other CBOs at village level to drum up support for women who aspire for various positions during the forth coming general elections, thanks to two Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) which imparted the technical knowledge to them.
Pan African Civic Educators Network (PACENET) in conjunction with Youth and Society (YAS) told the CBOs’ representatives at a training workshop at Baka in the district to be vigilant in their approach if the project is to bear fruits.
Pacenet Media and Communications Officer Patricia Njatula said the aim of the workshop was to sharpen and equip the CBOs representatives with skill that could help reduce the gap between male and female representation and be at par, be it in the august house or Local Government.
Njatula therefore challenged the six CBOs at the meeting to rise up beyond everything else and approach the initiative with the aggression it deserves as time is already not on their side.
“We have banked our hopes in you. We feel you can help us relay the message to the people on the ground since you are closer to the electorates out there. Therefore, go and network with some other CBOs at village level and reach out to the traditional and religious leaders, this way we will achieve our objective of putting more females in the National Assembly and Local Government, Njatula said.
According to Njatula, her organization conducted a survey in Karonga, Mzimba and Dedza whose findings showed that female representation in top elective positions had dwindled due to among other things traditional norms that look upon females as people who cannot deliver and financial muscle that most of the times favour men.
She, however, was quick to say that for this to work, there is need to work with all political parties that are fielding candidates in the five constituencies and 10 Wards in the Karonga in 2019.
Approach all political parties and lobby for female representation. We do not want to leave any stone unturned. We want to close the gap that exists between ladies and men, therefore it should begin at village level and the earlier we start the better, Njatule said.
Speaking at the function, YAS Assistant Programs Manager Silvester Kapondera asked the participants to be agents of change in their areas, saying time has come for the country to make meaningful progress in as far as women empowerment campaign is concerned.
“Since CBOs have already permanent structures in their areas, it will be easy for them to mobilize people and drive the message of the importance of supporting female representation to people. We will be supporting them technically so that together we achieve this program, Kapondera said.
Kapondera urged chiefs, political leaders and the citizenry to offer maximum support to the initiative as doing so would mean giving hope to the nation through women who are the custodian of motherly love which will be translated to parliament and local government even to presidency.
Karonga District Gender Officer Martha Kalumbi expressed happiness, describing the initiative as fantastic and promised to support female aspirants through capacity building in public speaking, advocating for female aspirants to be voted into power in the 2019 general elections and offer civic education to the people of Karonga on the importance of voting for female candidates.
As a department I am extremely happy that Pacenet and YAS have considered Karonga CBOs in their plans. These are the people who know challenges that impede women participation in politics.
As such they are better placed to change peoples mindset of their fellow community members to start considering voting for women into power. Therefore, let me promise both NGOs and all CBOs here that I will support all of you within my capacity so that together we achieve more, Kalumbi said.
Speaking at the end of the workshop, Atusaye Sichale from Chaoteka CBO thanked the two NGOs for the project and assured them to take a leading role in drumming up support for female representation as men have failed them.
Time has come for ladies to be voted into power. Men have always disappointed us. Once voted into power, they desert us and go to town and come back during campaign period. Therefore, the skills that we have acquired here will be put into good use to campaign for female aspirants, Sichale said.
Pacenet and YAS are jointly implementing this project in Dedza, Mangochi, Salima, Mzimba, Dowa and Karonga districts with funding from UN Women.
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