The Women in Political Participation (WPP) programme launched the Intergenerational Mentorship Programme on March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day. This was in a bid to encourage more women to take up leadership opportunities.
The event, which was graced by a number of female deputy governors and political leaders in Kenya and beyond, sought to co – create the Regional Intergenerational mentorship program. This comes at a time when women representation is still low.
“The programme is designed to not only teach each other but to also to learn from each other to improve women’s representation and participation in politics in Africa.” Dr. Pinky Mekgwe, Senior Regional Advisor: Africa and West Asia, IDEA.
Despite of the efforts that have been made in enhancing participation of women in politics in most African countries, women continue to be underrepresented in political seats and decision making in both political and public space. In order to change the narrative, there is need for raising and sustaining awareness in order to change prevailing attitudes, examine obstacles to and proposals for reform and change, empower identified champions of change, and share comparative evidence that could propel action.
“More often than not, the missing link is between a promising political leader and a successful one is mentorship. Notably, mentorship programs are more pronounced in the private sectors which to a great extent explains successes in creating new generation of leaders.” Said Ms. Martha Muhwezi, Executive Director, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE).
To improve the participation of women in politics there is need to avail avenues where young women can be trained and mentored for the purpose of next generation leadership development for advancing women’s political participation. Additionally, male political leaders and activists including the younger generations and traditional leaders need to be trained in order to build, renew and enhance their knowledge and enlist their support in increasing women political participation.
Speaking during the event, Taita Taveta County Deputy Governor, H.E Majala Mlagui said, “The mistaken perception that there are no enough women leaders for the public or private space stems from the notion that women are their own enemies.”
FAWE in partnership with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is implementing the Women in Political Participation (WPP) project for a period of 3 years. The project aims at increasing the political participation and representation of women in Africa in line with the Maputo Protocol of 2003, various associated sub-regional protocols and standards, and the SDGs. The project is being implemented in 8 African countries i.e. Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, and Zimbabwe through a consortium made up of FAWE, FEMNET, Gender Links, WLSA, IFAN – Gender lab, I-IDEA and PADARE.