-AU seeks support for women’s participation in politics

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DAKAR – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been designated by the AU Commission (AUC) as a pilot country for a project aimed at increasing the participation of women in political and electoral processes.

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To this end, a delegation of the AU, led by Mrs Rose Mwebaza, the Gender Advisor to the AU Commission President is due in Kinshasa on Monday.

The delegation was scheduled to discuss with DR Congo’s government and women’s organisations on this project entitled “Building An Environment Conducive To The Participation And Empowerment Of Women In Politics.’’

Launched by the AUC and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the project aims to develop regional processes likely to accelerate the effective implementation of commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

This will be through training of women, the conduct of electioneering campaigns and experience-sharing sessions with other African countries.

At first, the project would identify women who used to run or are running for legislative or presidential elections in all African countries.

Together with institutions and non-governmental organisations, the delegation would work on the issue of emancipation and integration of women in political processes.

The project would then provide logistic and financial support to women participating in various elections.

Following the work of the Third Ordinary Session of their Assembly held in July 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Heads of State and Government of Member States of the AU had adopted a Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA).

Under the Declaration, African leaders committed to promote and expand the principle of equality between men and women, adopted at the AUC to all the organs of the AU.

Since then, many states had evolved mechanisms to deal with gender issues and ensure the implementation of the SDGEA and other commitments by governments.

Moreover, under Article 13 of the Declaration, the President of the AUC was called upon to submit an annual report on the implementation of principles of gender equality.

The report of the President of the AUC was partly based on reports received from Heads of State and Government, who were engaged under Article 12 of the Declaration.

Meanwhile, non-governmental organisations, including “Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS ), have agreed to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Solemn Declaration at the national and regional levels.

The campaign is called “Gender is my Agenda,’’ coordinated by Femmes Africa Solidarité. (PANA/NAN)


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