Pan-African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) has called on development partners and managers of the 50:50 national campaign to support a grassroots engagement approach if enough support for women in 2019 elections is to be gained.
Pacenet executive director Steve Duwa made the call on Friday in Zomba during a two-day training of trainers (ToT) from Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mulanje, Phalombe and Thyolo on engaging grassroots communities to support women aspiring for political positions in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The ToT was organised with support from the Elections Cycle Support Project, funded by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through UN Women.
During the training, the trainers were drilled in the Gender Transformative Manual for Grassroots Engagement Towards Women’s Political Empowerment which Pacenet, with support from UN Women, recently developed and launched.
“Through their work in the communities, we hope and trust that these trainers will facilitate a process of transforming the generally negative perceptions based on culture and religion grassroots communities have about women aspiring for political leadership.
“Funds permitting, we expect to roll out these trainings to all districts in the country in preparation for the 50:50 Campaign ahead of the 2019 elections. It is also our hope that all the CSOs [civil society organisations], including government ministries, will find the manual handy in their work to engage communities for support towards women in politics,” said Duwa.
In an interview with one of the trainers, Merina William, a member of Luchenza Transparency and Accountability Committee, she said the training has equipped her with skills to mobilise and civic educate people in her community on the benefits of putting women in political leadership positions in the 2019 elections.
Another trainer, Antony Mkupira from Gender Support Programme in Phalombe, said having been trained in the various factors hindering women from rising to the top in politics, he now has the skills and capacity to campaign for women candidates as well as mobilise women to have an interest in politics.