Gender Promotion

REFELA Summary

UCLG Africa’s journey towards a fully decentralized and unified Africa needed to address the issue of gender participation. If 50% of Africa’s population is not included in the process then building unity can never be achieved. UCLG Africa’s membership encouraged the secretariat to engage and support women as representatives at local government level and the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa, REFELA (Réseau des Femmes Elues Locales d’Afrique), was created.

Following the first forum for locally elected women, which was held in Tangier, Morocco, March 8-11, 2011, the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), was created. REFELA has become an integral part of UCLG Africa and represents locally elected women officials within the global Women’s Commission of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG Women).

Through the network, REFELA members address issues in UCLG Africa by exchanging ideas and information and actively participating in debates. These dialogues involve discussions on issues pertaining specifically to locally elected women in Africa, as well as broader issues around local governance as a whole. Members of REFELA form part of the permanent committee of UCLG Africa and use their unique position to raise the profile of the network and campaign for development issues effecting municipalities and cities.

All women who exercise an elective role, or have been nominated for similar functions within a local African community, can join REFELA. The network is comprised of locally elected women from the five major African regions: North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa.

Mrs Macoura Dao

President of the Network of Elected women of Africa (REFELA), Mayor of Foumbolo, Côte d’Ivoire.

REFELA Structure

At the Continental level

REFELA mirrors the architecture of UCLG Africa and is structured as following:

  • A General Assembly held every 3 years at the fringes of the Africities Summit, the most important dialogue platform on Decentralization and Local Governance organized in Africa, which is the flagship event of UCLG Africa;
  • A Bureau elected by the General Assembly, composed by 15 members, 3 for each of the 5 Regions of Africa;
  • A Presidency elected among the members of the Bureau, and composed of 5 Vice Presidents, 1 for each of the 5 Regions of Africa, out of which the President of REFELA is elected.
  • The term in Office of the members of the Bureau and Presidency is 3 years.
  • The President of REFELA currently is Mrs. Célestine Ketcha Courtes, Mayor of Bangangté, Cameroon.
  • According to the Constitution of UCLG Africa, the President of REFELA is member Ex-Officio of the UCLG Africa Executive Committee with full voting rights.
  • The members of the REFELA Bureau represent Africa on the Standing Committee on Gender Equality at the World Organization of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) headquartered in Barcelona, Spain.

At the National level

  • Under the leadership of the REFELA Vice President in each Region, a systematic identification of female mayors, heads of executive or elected officials of subnational and local governments is conducted in each African country within the Region (at regional, provincial, county, district and city levels) in order to constitute the National Chapter of REFELA.

Click here for further information on ALGA’s College “Women and Territories”

  • The National Chapters of REFELA are the Gender Equality Standing Committee of the National Associations of Local Governments.

The UCLG Africa Secretariat General at the UCLG Africa Headquarters in Rabat, Morocco, carries out the role of the Secretariat of REFELA.

Our Campaigns

Blog & News

On March 15, 2015, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, paid tribute to a group of officials striving to reduce risks of natural disasters.

Among these champions, Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) and Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina in Mauritania represented Africa and REFELA.

Mayor of Victoria, Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, nominated for World Mayor Award 2014.

Mme. Nassénéba Touré is awarded Ivory Coast Best Mayor Award August 2014

Ketcha Courtes, Mayor from the Municipality of Bangangte, received an Excellency Award at the United Nations Public Service Awards 2014 for her work on a sustainable project in the water and sanitation sector.

National capacity building seminar for Local Elected Women in Cameroon

Take Action

Plan of Action that defines REFELA’s role:

Axis 1: Positioning, implementing and reinforcing the values of REFELA and the Women’s Commission of UCLG

  • Objective: Affirming the position of REFELA through good management, effective media strategies and capacity building programs.

Axis 2: Promoting the leadership and representation of women in politics and good governance

  • Objective: Promoting and supporting the political representation of women within local communities, as well as encouraging their contribution towards the decentralization process through the implementation of networking, negotiating, capacity building and lobbying mechanisms.

Axis 3: Contribution of REFELA towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa, in particular SDG 5.

  • Objective: Ensuring the contribution of the network towards the achievement of the SDGs, in particular SDG 5, through the partnership of social enterprises, the government and local communities.


Help REFELA raise money to support our campaigns for #AfricanCities. Your donation will support women in selected cities and municipalities find shelter for street children, capacity build and support women to improve livelihoods and gain leadership skills that will empower communities.