This year’s UN theme for International Women’s Day is: “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for change.” Every year, the celebration of March 08 is an important milestone for the Local Elected Women’s Network of Africa (REFELA), UCLG Africa’s Standing Committee on gender equality, to highlight the actions and progress taken by these actors in local governance.
For International Women’s Day 2019, REFELA has seized the opportunity to provide an update on the deployment of its three main campaigns that are at the heart of its 2019-2021 Strategic Action Plan (SAP-REFELA). These are:
Ø The Campaign for African Cities without Street Children
Ø The Campaign for African Cities’ Zero Tolerance to Violence Against Women and Girls
Ø The Campaign for African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment
Campaign for African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment: Expectations of Women Entrepreneurs
As part of its exploration work for the implementation of its campaign, “African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment,” REFELA has made an initial, participatory assessment amongst women entrepreneurs invited to the exhibition of the HAPPY FAIR UNI-VERS-ELLES event, organized by LAB ETNIK on March 02 and 03, 2019 in Salé, Morocco.
Aimed at promoting women’s entrepreneurship, the testimonials collected from the participants highlight some of the difficulties and obstacles that lead women to be content with and confined to the creation of micro and small enterprises, which limit their entrepreneurial potential. “As a woman, I was confronted with different obstacles, those that a male entrepreneur might not meet and specifically, those related to my situation as a woman and a woman entrepreneur, which are often due to a lack of confidence and non-recognition of women’s capabilities as an entrepreneur; postures encouraged by the socio-cultural context.”
A significant obstacle, when it comes to starting a business, is one of access to financial aid. “ Concerning this point, women are victims of some prejudices that make them have no legitimacy and credibility with financial agencies (banking and other…), said one of the women. Other women entrepreneurs said, “Women are active and in favor of the economic growth of their city or municipality, but often remain invisible and receive little or no support from their city or town.”
To this end, women surveyed expressed their needs and expectations concerning the “African Cities that are favorable to Women’s Economic Empowerment Campaign,” being prepared and launched by REFELA, which consist of:
Ø Conducting a census of women entrepreneurs at the city / municipality level, where they are active and conduct business; their personal and professional profile, the type of economic activity and economic impact on the city or municipality;
Ø Broadening the scope of women’s entrepreneurial activity and raising them to a higher level of entrepreneurship;
Ø Facilitating women’s access to public markets, fighting male hegemony and enabling women, through affirmative measures, to participate and to invest their entrepreneurial potential for the benefit of their city / municipality and to have the opportunity to grow their company;
Ø Offering coaching and consulting on different themes, essentially, for the development of women’s entrepreneurial leadership;
Ø Gaining support to create a network that can bring women together and support their work to increase the visibility of women entrepreneurs at the local level.
The call for applications for cities wishing to join the Campaign of African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment will be launched at the beginning of April 2019.
See articles on:
– The Campaign for African Cities without Street Children;
Reports on the 3 campaigns are available here: