Empowerment, Training and Capacity-Building in Women’s Leadership within Local Governments

UCLG Africa, together with Echos Communication and in partnership with the Oriental Regional Council, the Oriental Development Agency and the Province of Nador, organized from May 20 to 24, 2024, in Nador (Morocco), a seminar on Empowerment, Training and Capacity-Building in Women’s Leadership within Local Governments.    

This seminar is part of the implementation of the partners’ action plans and the activities of the Project for the Promotion of Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment (PEG).   

The program targeted female mayors who are members of the Network of Locally Elected Women in Africa (REFELA), in particular those from the three partner countries of the PEG project: the President of REFELA-Morocco, Mrs. Fatna El-K’hiel; the President of REFELA-Senegal, Mrs. Thérèse Faye and the President of REFELA-Burkina Faso, Mrs. Rasmata Compaoré. The training also targeted representatives of Associations of Local and Regional Governments; mayors, local officials; female civil servants and territorial managers; representatives of the consultative bodies of the Oriental Region, the Province and the Municipality of Nador; and representatives of civil society.   

The program is based on an approach combining peer learning through the sharing of experiences and best practices with role-playing, practical exercises and group work, to ensure exchange and interaction during the various training segments.   

The program’s official opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Salah Elaaboudi, Vice-President of the Oriental Regional Council, along with Ms Meryem Naoui, Senior Manager, International Cooperation, Events and Communications, Agence de Développement de l’Oriental and the personalities representing the Oriental Development Agency, the Province and City of Nador, as well as the President of REFELA-Maroc, representing UCLG Africa and REFELA Continental and Mr Alexandre Delvaux, Director of the NGO Echos Communication (by videoconference).

Following the opening ceremony, the first three days of the program were devoted to introductory sessions on the fundamentals of leadership in general, and women’s leadership in particular. This was followed by sessions presenting the reference framework for gender mainstreaming in public policy, and gender mainstreaming in local governance.   

An information and awareness-raising session presented the Local Authorities Charter for Gender Equality in Africa, set up by the UCLG Africa Secretariat through its REFELA network. The objectives of the session were to raise participants’ awareness on the importance of taking into account the principle of gender equality in local authorities, and to present the Charter’s key concepts, encouraging participating elected women to adhere to it and commit to implementing its provisions in the governance of their territories.   

Day 4 of the programme began with a session devoted to the territorial coaching approach as a lever for promoting inclusive and sustainable local governance. This session was led by an experienced territorial coach, jointly identified by the Oriental Regional Council and the Oriental Development Agency.

Site visits enabled seminar participants to discover local development projects such as the “Marchica” site, and social project initiatives such as “Dar Al-Oum”, a centre for mothers dedicated to education and training. The city of Nador was also keen to share the inauguration ceremony of the reception and listening centres for Moroccans living abroad, one of which is located within the municipality.  

Training and capacity-building needs were identified and the seminar was evaluated by the participants before the presentation of certificates and the closing ceremony. The Closing Ceremony was organised during the Gala Dinner with the presentation of Certificates of Participation and Recognition to the beneficiaries.

This programme has helped to strengthen the leadership and management skills of women elected representatives and local authority executives, share good practice and equip participants to integrate gender equality into the governance and development of their local areas. It has thus contributed to the strategic objectives of the partners and of the PEG project to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in the spheres of local governance.