One of the vital components of the international training programmes is the presence of experienced mentors who are familiar with the specific conditions in the countries in question. And who are also experts in the thematic field of the programme, Gender mainstreaming, Local Financing, Political Leadership or Holistic Urban Planning to mention some.
The national mentor’s main responsibility is to act as a sounding board and support the participants in shaping their change process during the 18 month long programmes. Mentors usually have a commitment over three cohorts in a programme and comes from all countries that are engaged in ICLD:s trainings.
We like you to meet some of our mentors. First out are the mentors of the Gender mainstreaming programme with special focus placed on Sustainable development goal nr#5 – Gender equality. Every local government participating in the programme is expected to carry out a change process using the gender mainstreaming method with continuous support from the mentors. The mentors participate in the several workshops and further meets with the participants in their respective municipality throughout the training.
From Tanzania comes Aggripina Mosha. She currently works as an independent consultant, having spent over 25 years working with CSOs to promote women’s place political leadership through advocating for institution of quarter system of women and physically challenged people’s in the Constitution, building and mentoring capacities of potential women and youth leaders. Aggripina recognizes that in most African countries’ women are more in numbers but generally less than 30% are presented at national leadership and decision-making positions and even fewer at local level leaderships. She believes that this is due to cultural and traditional norms that discriminate women from education, economic power and eventually from positions of power but presents optimism for local democracy.
– Local governments are closer to people and are duty bound to enforce implementation of International, Regional and National Gender Equality agreements and laws e.g. the SDGs mainly Goal-5, Beijing Platform of Action, CEDAW etc. In so doing, there is high possibility of equitable development between men and women in all spheres of life.
Danny Chibinda, mentor from Zambia, adds that the biggest challenge for gender mainstreaming is the lack of understanding and knowledge on the importance, as most officials view it as a marginal issue pushed by external players.
– Most local authorities have very few elected female policy makers that can champion the inclusion of women in the development processes and programmes. This stems from both cultural and structural practices that disadvantage and discourage women from participating in politics and economic activities.
Danny is a Sustainable Development Specialist with over 13 years’ experience in development planning and coordination at community, district and national levels. He has experience in managing elections at district level and promoting good governance through capacity building municipalities on matters of decentralisation and mainstreaming of cross-cutting issues.
The Gender programme aims to increase knowledge of strategic planning connected to gender mainstreaming and institutionalize, through policy assessment and implementation of new tools, gender equal services to all citizens. Gender equality needs to be integrated and operating in all plans and policies, not be designated as project alongside everyday activity. On this note the mentor from Kenya, Joan Kariuki, emphasizes that any significant positive change starts with a small step or a series of small steps.
– This training and subsequent trainings build the technical capacity of the participants as well as create vital networks among the participants and between the participants, ICLD and the mentors. Both are vital in equipping them to promote gender mainstreaming at the County level.
Joan is a lawyer with over 15 years’ experience of policy influencing who has dedicated much of her efforts to promoting women’s and girls’ access to justice through various civil society organizations in Kenya and East Africa and to promoting the inclusiveness rights of women and young people.
Our last gender mentor to introduce is Joseph Ossyia, from Uganda, who over the last decade been a principal technical reference for both state and non-state actors in Uganda and the Great Lakes region in strengthening the strategic intent and response capabilities around gender mainstreaming, child protection and anti-human trafficking mechanisms. When asked which are the key entry points for local governments to improve in gender equality Joseph answers;
– Local governments have to mainstream gender in their internal processes by promoting equitable access to power, work with affirmative action to increase women participation and work with gender budgeting. It is also important to ensure gender parity in the provision of public goods and services as well as in in formulation of laws, regulations and resource allocations.
We thank the gender mentors for these great insights and are looking forward to presenting more mentors from our various international training programmes.
More information about the Gender Mainstreaming Program:
Watch the videos to hear more about the mentor’s thoughts on the program and gender equality in local governance.