International Women’s Day was celebrated at the headquarters of UCLG Africa with an exchange meeting held by women staff on the afternoon of March 8. Proceedings began with UCLG Africa paying special honor to the organization’s female staff presenting each with a rose as a symbol of appreciation and camaraderie in the struggle for women’s rights.
International Women’s Day message from the Secretary-General of UCLG Africa, Jean-Pierre Elong-Mbassi, denounces violence against women .
The Director of the Cabinet and of operations at UCLG Africa, Mr. Souleymane Idrissa Maiga, and the female staff shared the Secretary General’s International Women’s Day message. “Our Secretary-General is holding marked the celebration of 8th March. He would certainly want to be with us, like the other women of the staff currently on mission. Today I would like to congratulate all the women of UCLG Africa on behalf of the Secretary-General and on behalf of all men. This is a special day for women’s rights. We have almost achieved gender parity within our staff with 16 women staff out of thirty.”
The new project manager of the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), Ms. Malika Ghefrane Giorgi, said she was proud to join the organization at this particular time, “I am glad to have this opportunity and I count on the support of all to achieve the objectives of REFELA so that local government do not stay on the sidelines of these equality actions. Without the inclusion of women and young people there will be no sustainable development.”
The meeting, which was also attended by the Administrative and Finance Director, Mr. Youssef Tanart, reviewed the new vision of REFELA, adopted in December 2015 at the General Assembly and staff shared experiences about working with gender issues as well as working as a woman in the organization. Speeches were heard from elders, Mrs. Soumia Benlebsir, who is the oldest female member in the organization and Ms. Souad Bendimya, as well as Mrs. Fatima Razouki, the personal assistant to the Secretary General and Mrs. Sara Houmada, who is the youngest member to have joined UCLG Africa. Among key messages was the desire to meet new challenges to achieve the organization’s objectives in promoting decentralization and local development.
The meeting ended with cocktails shared by all staff members at the Rabat headquarters.
“As an African woman, we must continue to struggle to wrest more rights while preserving our African values. I express my pride in belonging to the UCLG Africa family”, Mrs. Soumia Benlebsir.
“We need to help young people to take over by staying true to the values we have set up within the organization,” Ms. Souad Bendimya.
“I have learned a lot since my eight years in this organization. I thank all my supervisors and all my colleagues. Thank you for your mutual respect, “Mrs. Fatima Razouki
«I have learned from each of my colleagues after my first year in UCLG Africa. In this world it is difficult to have a place as young people. We are complementary with men, it is together that we will be able to achieve the goals we are aiming for.” Ms. Sara Houmada