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East African women MPs attend seminar on Women’s Participation in Politics and Society

10 May 2014

From left to right: Dr. Jan Nico Scholten, Mr. Rana Tiampati, Hon. Betty Amongi Ongom and Hon. Mohamed Osman Jawari.

From left to right: Dr. Jan Nico Scholten, Mr. Rana Tiampati, Hon. Betty Amongi Ongom and Hon. Mohamed Osman Jawari.

Mogadishu, Somalia – AWEPA organised a seminar on Women’s Participation in Politics and Society on 10 May in Mogadishu. Members of the Federal Parliament of Somalia, the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KeWoPa), the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWoPA) and representatives from the civil society participated in the seminar. The event was organised by AWEPA in the framework of its Somalia Programme aimed at supporting legislative institutions, with support from the European Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

The seminar was designed to bring together women parliamentarians and civil society representatives from Somalia, Uganda and Kenya to address the issue of gender and politics as well as discussing a way forwards towards promoting human rights and women’s rights within the Somali Parliament and the advancement of women’s role in politics and civil society. Hon. Jeylani Nur Ikar, the First Deputy Speaker of the Somali House of Parliament, gave the opening speech. The keynote speech was provided by Hon. Nadifa Mohamed Osman, Somalia’s Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction. She touched on the main discussion points of the seminar and argued that African women parliamentarians should take advantage of foreign knowhow to achieve their goals.

The event also included workshops given by Hon. Mishi Juma Khamisi, member of KeWoPa and Hon. Betty Amongi Ongom, Chairperson of UWoPA. They spoke about the experiences and lessons learned as a female African MP, as well as on how to lobby for women’s issues in the Parliament and pioneering women’s involvement in the political sphere.

The seminar concluded with an open discussion among the participants on the obstacles faced by female MPs, how to overcome these challenges as well as conceptualizing ways to further stimulate gender sensitive legislation. The seminar ended with a speech by Hon. Mohamed Osman Jawari, Speaker of the Somali House of Parliament, who asked AWEPA to execute a capacity building programme for the Somali women MPs. Dr. J. Nico Scholten, Founding President of AWEPA and Political Coordinator for Somalia, responded positively to this suggestion.

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