Empowering Women in Politics: Insights from 9th Cohort

As the 9th cohort of ICLD’s Women’s Political Leadership Programme concludes, reflections from former participants highlight its profound impact. With a collective voice, participants express gratitude for the invaluable lessons that underscored personal growth as political leaders and decision-makers.

Selma Kadhila, Mayor of Tsandi Village Council in Namibia articulates:

A good leader must be a good follower. On the road to success there is always a “we” not a “me”. Never forget that, never.

Meanwhile, Cornelia Nkalitshana, Mayor of Emalahleni Municipality in South Africa, offers a distinct perspective, declaring:

I have grown so much as a leader. I will be the next South African president. Mark my words. I am the president in waiting. The sky is not the limit.

Both appreciated the Women’s Political Leadership Programme for equipping them with valuable tools to implement in their municipalities. The emphasis on networking with like-minded women in similar positions is also valued. Additionally, they cherish the mentorship provided by their Swedish counterparts, fellow local female politicians carefully selected by ICLD’s partner SALAR (Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions).

Participants from the 9th cohort in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: ICLD

Moreover, these women have actively engaged in diverse change processes with a focus on women empowerment at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. Selma, Cornelia and their fellow participants have initiated various initiatives aimed at uplifting women in their communities. These projects include but are not limited to:

  • Women’s Economic Empowerment Programs: Implementing initiatives to provide women with access to economic resources, training, and opportunities for entrepreneurship, thereby enhancing their financial independence and autonomy.
  • Gender-Inclusive Governance Policies: Advocating for and implementing policies within their municipalities that promote gender equality, representation, and participation in decision-making processes.
  • Educational Initiatives: Launching educational programs and campaigns to raise awareness about women’s rights, gender-based violence, and the importance of girls’ education.
  • Healthcare Access and Awareness: Establishing projects to improve access to healthcare services for women, including reproductive health services, maternal care, and awareness campaigns on women’s health issues.
  • Political Empowerment Workshops: Organizing workshops and seminars to encourage more women to participate in politics, providing them with the necessary skills and support to pursue leadership roles.

Through these change projects, Selma, Corneli and their peers are actively contributing to the advancement of women’s empowerment within their communities. Now armed with newfound insights and empowered by their experiences, they stand poised to serve as authentic change agents, dedicated to the people, champions of local democracy, and committed to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Women Political Leadership Programme

  • The programme started in 2013
  • Only open to women who hold an elected seat in a local or regional government in
    any of the OECD-DAC listed ODA-countries
  • So far 220 elected women have been strengthened
  • WPL is active in over 20 countries
  • The programme span over a 12 month period

Project Area
Inclusive leadership and governance