Women candidates in Senegal undergo leadership capacity building training

Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fifty women vying for seats in Senegal’s forthcoming legislative polls scheduled on July 30th participated in a three-day capacity building workshop towards sharpening their campaign strategies. The workshop was hosted by Alliance for Migration, Leadership and Development (AMLD), in partnership with the national unit of the Peace and Security Network for Women in the ECOWAS Space, on Tuesday 4th July in Dakar. Among the facilitators, were a team of academics in electoral sociology, electoral cycle, legislative process, political communication, political coaching and journalists.

"The equal participation of men and women in all areas of society is a prerequisite for the development of our country. It also construes the Senegal Emergent Plan (PSE) which is the framework of reference of the public policies in Senegal,” said AMLD’s Chairperson, Pr. Ndioro Ndiaye, a former Minister of Women’s Affairs in Senegal and former Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “The PSE places the promotion of equity and gender equality as well as the integration of gender in public policies- at the heart of the emergence of our country,” Ndiaye added. In her opening remarks, Prof. Ndiaye emphasized on the overall objectives of the workshop and the need to strengthen the political and communication skills of women candidates as well as their leadership skills.

Dakar 3

Ms Diana Ofwona, Regional Director UN Women West/Central Africa and Pr. Ndioro Ndiaye Chairperson AMLD, at the workshop opening |Photo credit: UN Women, Mariam Kamara

Ms. Diana Ofwona, the Regional Director for UN Women in West and Central Africa, appealed to all stakeholders to renew and consolidate their commitment to ensuring that the full participation of women is a reality for women across the country and region. She cited the many challenges hampering the participation of women in public and political life.

"Today, women's leadership and participation in politics is threatened. Women are underrepresented as voters as well as in leadership positions, in elected assemblies, in public administration, in the private sector and academia. This is still prevailing despite their right to participate equally in democratic governance, even with their demonstrated skills as leaders and agents of change in their communities.

Ms. Ofwona further explained, “Women face barriers to political participation. The structural barriers are caused by discriminatory laws and practices when it comes to voting or running for political office and due to the scarcity of resources, women are less likely than men to undergo training which will equip them to establish contacts hence becoming performing leaders.”

AMLD’s aimed to have the workshop convene resilient and engaged participants, with representation covering various localities, political parties and groups. Among the participants is 25-year-old Mariam Sira Ndiaye, the youngest candidate running for parliament. She is representing the coalition- Dare the future. “We must seize the opportunity to open this great door instead of sitting in a waiting room. This is because it’s certainly more difficult to settle in a room than to open its door,” Mariam said.

Dakar 1

Women participants after the capacity building workshop in Dakar | Photo credit: UN Women, Mariam Kamara

With the support of UN Women, AMLD and partners are committed to supporting and encouraging the full participation of women in decision-making processes in both local and national governance. According to former Governor, Amsata Sall, a representative of the National Electoral Commission (CENA), “Tomorrow’s Senegal is that of a winning woman.”

Ms Diana Ofwona, Regional Director UN Women West/Central and Pr Ndioro Ndiaye Chairperson AMLD, at the workshop opening |Photo credit: UN Women, Mariam Kamara