During the World Urban Forum, the Network of Locally Elected Women in Africa (REFELA) advocated for the involvement of women in more decision-making bodies. Mrs Fatna El Khiel, President of REFELA Morocco insisted on this aspect in her introductory remarks to the session organised by the network under the theme “Role of REFELA of UCLG Africa in the successful implementation of sustainable development objectives (SDGs)”. During the session, Ms. Khiel presented the 3 REFELA campaigns: “African cities without children on the streets”, sponsored by Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco; “African cities with zero tolerance for violence against women and girls” and the campaign of “African cities for women’s economic empowerment and women’s leadership”.
The local elected women present in Abu Dhabi have shown an interest in REFELA’s actions. Mrs. Bongile Mbingo, Ezulwini City Councillor, (Eswatini , Ex Swaziland) is in charge of setting up the REFELA country chapter in Eswatini. The official launch is hoped for March 2020. The number of women involved in local governance is very low. “There are not enough women elected to municipal councils. Most of them are appointed. In our municipal council we are 02 women out of a total of 10 members,” says Ms. Bongile. This situation can be explained firstly by the fact that women are afraid to go out and campaign. Therefore, she welcomes the existence of REFELA, which presents itself as an excellent platform to learn from other locally elected women on the continent and also as an opening to allow local women elected women of Eswatini to address issues encountered on the ground. For her, the priority REFELA campaign for her country is the “African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Women’s Leadership”.
Watch her video interview
“It’s time for women to take power”, Mrs. Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar
The mayor of Dakar, Mrs. Soham El Wardini has appealed to women for their involvement in local governance. “I call on women to get involved in local governance and even in politics. You know that in Africa, it is women who elect men. Why elect people who then leave you stranded? Women are powerful, they run the world. Because everything that men do, it is women who push them to do it. It’s time now for women to take power“.
Watch her video interview below: