REFELA webinar on the occasion of the International Women’s Day: “Promoting the Charter for Gender Equality in Africa”

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, on May 8, 2023, the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) organized a webinar under the theme: “Promoting the Charter for Gender Equality in Africa”. 

In order to address the breach of the rights of some of the female population of Africa, the UCLG Africa through its REFELA Network, in partnership with CEMR-PLATEFORMA, have produced the “Local and Regional Governments’ Charter for Gender Equality in Africa”. This document’s main objective is to raise awareness on the rights for gender equality and implement actions to promote and protect human rights through gender sensitive and inclusive local governance.  

After the adoption of the Gender Charter on May 20, 2022 in Kisumu, (Kenya), during the Africities 9 Summit, its membership and implementation by elected officials is now in progress. 

In order to facilitate communication and implementation of the Charter, and with reference to the theme for the International Women’s Day 2023; “Digitalization for Gender Equality”; REFELA has produced digital advertising materials for the promotion and implementation of the Charter. 

These digital tools will support elected officials in their promotion and their communication strategies of the Charter for Gender Equality in Africa. 

The Webinar was launched by the opening speech of UCLG Africa’s Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, followed by the greeting message of Ms. Fatimetou Abdelmalick, the President of UCLG Africa, through a video message that she sent while she was in New York to attend the CSW67 session of the UN in her capacity as Chairperson of the UCLG World Committee for Gender Equality.  

From New York as well, Honorable Rohey LOWE, the President of REFELA, addressed the participants in the REFELA webinar by extending her greetings on the occasion of the celebration of the International Women’s Day as an annual commemoration of the women’s social, cultural and economic as well as political achievements and a call for action to women’s equality.  

Such achievements for the REFELA leaders are reflected in the request of sister organizations to get support from REFELA Africa to create their own local elected women’s networks as proof of recognition and source of pride. Furthermore, the President of REFELA asked each of the REFELA members to subscribe to the Charter for Gender Equality, whose implementation will contribute in developing territorial policies that promote gender equality in all aspects of local life. 

At the end of her speech, President Lowe reminded the REFELA priority actions and the need for a permanent mobilization to implement them for tangible advances in gender equality in local Africa.  

The webinar also questioned the REFELA members about their actions to promote gender equality in their territories and the way they advocate to adhere and implement the provisions of the “Local and Regional Charter for Gender Equality in Africa”. These points were elaborated through the intervention of Ms. Maria Helena Langa, REFELA Vice-President for the Southern Africa Region, and by Ms. Marie Angel Meyanga Noah, the REFELA Vice-President for the Central Africa Region who both presented their experiences with the implementation of the Gender Charter through actions engaging institutions representing the central government, NGOs and actors from the civil society. 

The REFELA Celebratory webinar ended by the announcement of Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of Development and African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) of UCLG Africa. She gave details about the 5-day free training offer that the REFELA Commission members can benefit from to learn about the Territorial Coaching Program through the ALGA e-learning platform.