The Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) Programme in partnership with the Gender Research and Documentation Centre ( GRADOC) University of Sierra Leone with funding from GELD/ UNCDF (United Nations Capital Development Fund has embarked on female leadership skills training in Kenema District.
The two days training which ended at the national Pastoral Centre in Kenema brought together women advocacy groups, female political party executives, female councillors and female ward Development committee members and other women organisations in the Kenema District.
In her remarks the Director of Gender and Children's Affairs in the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children's Affairs (MSWGCA) Fatou Y. Kargbo said leadership is from the mind of an individual.
She also said after the war the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) looked into the issues that caused the war most especially the plight of women and recommendations were made to address these issues for sustainable development. Fatou Y. Kargbo also said the government of Sierra Leone and United Nations organisation has since resolved to address these challenges to alleviate the status of women in developing countries.
As a way of enhancing these challenges the Gender Ministry is working with partners like GELD to increase the participation of women in the development of the country especially in leadership role.
She noted that the leadership training will help women to change their perception and work alongside the men at all levels taking a look at the 30% quota for women which the Ministry is advocating for.
Giving an overview on GELD programme and the objectives of the training the National Coordinator GELD David E. Lahai said it is a programme jointly implemented by UNCDF/UNIFEM/ UNDP and it is being implemented currently in five countries including Sierra Leone.
Lahai said it is anchored within the Kenema District Economic Recovery Programme (KDERP) in support of the Decentralization Programme.
The general aim of GELD is to increase women's access to Local Development Resources and induce them to participate in Local Governance. Adding that the objective of the training is to provide requisite skills on how women can effectively serve as leaders in both their political spheres in advocacy and to induce them to be assertive in agitating for their political and socio economic rights.
In her statement the Political Affairs Officer UNIPSIL Mary Bindi thanked the organisers for giving the opportunity to women in building up their capacity to take part in all leadership roles.
She explained that UNIPSIL in Sierra Leone is mandated by the Security Council to support the government in promoting peace consolidation and the advancement of development in the country.
Adding that their mandate also includes supporting the government in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security), which urges the UN family; state and non state actors to support and increase women's participation in decision making pertaining to the prevention and resolution of conflict and reconstruction.
Mary Bindi further stated that Sierra Leone is among 19 countries globally and the 4th within the sub region that have completed a national action plan on UN Security Council resolution 1325 since it was adopted 10 years ago.
She added that Gender Equality simply tends to create space for women in all spheres but the thrust of it all borders around women's empowerment and advancement which is clearly demonstrated in such a programme that is increasing women's access to local development resources and service delivery.
It is quite in place to work out strategies or set up framework that will enhance the participation of women in politics, governance, decision making and other positions of trust. It is but wise for women to be given the right based approach that will increase their knowledge and skills for better performance”, Mary Bindi added.
She said such training deepens women's self awareness and empower them to improve performance and get prepared to meet the difficult challenges in today's politics and governance. “In like manner, the training helps fulfil women's potential in areas like team building, strategic planning, decision making and more”. She encouraged all participants to be very attentive and digest all that they will receive during the two days to prepare them to take the next step.