SIERRA LEONE: National Democratic Institute Schools Female Politicians

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Western Africa
Sierra Leone
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

Female aspirants for the November 17th General Elections drawn from all four Districts of Bo, Moyamba ,Pujehun and Bonthe have benefited from a two day training under the sponsorship of the National Democratic Institute.

The training, which was held from Monday April 23rd to Tuesday 24th at the Sahara Hotel in Bo, was aimed at meaningful participation of women in National, Local and Community leadership role, has become an important focus of global development policy.
Women political participation results in tangible gains for Democracy, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines and more sustainable peace.

Given an overview of the training, NDI Program Manager Katie Croake said womens' participation in politics helps in the advancement of gender equality and affects both the range of policy issue that get consideration, and the types of solution that are proposed.

Katie further stated that womens' leadership and conflict resolution styles embody democratic ideals, and that women tend to work in more collaborative way than male counterpart.

The Programme Manager said that research has shown that law makers tend to see women issues possibly as a result of the role that women have traditionally played as mothers and caregivers in their communities, and that more women see Government as a tool to help solve under representation or minority group. He added that women lawmakers therefore have often been perceived as more sensitive to community concerns and more responsive to constituency needs. Moreover, the NDI Program Manager said women are deeply committed to peace building and post conflict reconstruction, and have a unique and powerful perspective to bring to the negotiation table.

In particular, she stated that women suffer disproportionately during armed conflict and often advocate most strongly for stabilization reconstruction and the prevention of further conflict. In her opening statement NDI Trainer Harriett Sia Turay said when women are empowered as political leaders' positive development can be seen in the areas of education infrastructure, health and that concrete steps are taken to help make democracy deliver. She called on the trainees to make proper use of the ideas learnt so far. The NDI Trainer explained further the topic under discussion which included an over view of the electoral time table, getting ready to run , lunch and campaign photos, negotiation and persuasion, message development , public speaking amongst many others.

However, it was noted that additional training will be held in all provincial headquarter towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and in Freetown.