BAOBAB serves as IWDN’s Regional Focal Point in Africa.
On February 7-13, 2011, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights held a political education training for young women in Kogi State, Nigeria, using Women’s Learning Partnership’s political participation manual Leading to Action. The training promoted gender sensitive culture within academic institutions, shared the principles of horizontal leadership, promoted women’s visibility and involvement in strategic decision making positions, and contributed to building the self-esteem and confidence of participants to act as leaders in challenging situations.
Thirty young women from Kogi State University and Kogi State Polytechnic and thirty women politicians in Kogi state participated in the training. Participants identified critical political issues such as thuggery during election periods, the exclusion and sidelining of women from decision making positions, and gender discrimination as a result of patriarchy and tribalism in all sectors. In a bid to address these issues, participants set goals to sensitize their fellow students and other political aspirants in their various communities on the need to put aside their differences and embrace unity in diversity for development of Kogi State. During one of the breakout sessions, one of the groups devised a plan to build the first airport in Kogi, an endeavor that all the participants agreed was essential for the development of the state.
A session on “mapping out our political scene” had participants brainstorming and acting/dramatizing on how to formulate and implement their campaign strategies in innovative ways. Another session encouraged participants to be proactive and to re-strategize in order to gain the confidence and support of members of their constituencies. In the process, informative and educative slogans were developed and the participants shared possible strategies for networking with the media.
As a result of the political participation training, participants gained strategies on political campaigning, increased their confidence to work towards their political ambition. Some participants envisioned themselves as the first female governor in Kogi State or as ministers, counselors, or chairpersons. They also acquired additional skills and confidence in making presentations during political rallies, with many of the participants having no prior experience in this area.
This post was originally published on WLP’s website. WLP is IWDN’s Secretariat.