On the occasion of the International Women’s Day this March 8, 2016, the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) wishes a great day to all girls and women in the African continent.


The theme for the celebration of the 2016 Women’s Day is “Parity in 2030: Advance faster towards Gender Equality”.

Advance faster towards Gender Equality is to start acting, first and foremost, at the level of local and regional authorities in order to banish all discriminatory practices against women.

Advance faster towards Gender Equality also means, as from now, to take concrete initiatives to “achieve gender equality and empower women and girls by 2030” (Sustainable Development Goal number 5).

For its part, the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) is determined to launch a powerful campaign in 2016 to promote female leadership at the level of local authorities in Africa. This campaign will take many forms. It will first target the inclusion of women in the local political life, notably through raising the awareness of political parties so that there is at least 30% of women enrolled in an eligible position on the lists of candidates during local elections. It will then be the call to implement “affirmative action” for the recruitment of a greater number of women among executives of local administrations. It will also involve promoting women’s entrepreneurship by giving the priority to businesses created or run by women in the choice of suppliers or service providers during tender calls issued by local authorities. It will finally concern the creation from 2017 of an award celebrating the local communities who have demonstrated excellence in the promotion of female leadership.

This is the modest contribution that our network wishes to make concretely so that the present and the future of our mothers, sisters and daughters is more viable and more reliable, beyond the petitions of principles.

Happy day to all.

Celestine Ketcha Courtès Mayor of Bagangte, Cameroon 

President of the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa, REFELA