Kampala, Uganda – AWEPA organised a workshop for the leadership and members of the Somali Women Parliamentarian’s Association (SOWPA) on 17 -20 March 2015, in the framework of the AWEPA “Supporting Legislative Institutions in Somalia” Programme.
The training was aimed at strengthening the knowledge base and skills at both individual and peer level of the Somali women Parliamentarians. The meeting was opened and closed by the First Deputy Speaker of the House of the People, Rt. Hon. Jeylani Nur Ikar.
The first session of the training focused on building the leadership skills and confidence of the women parliamentarians and was facilitated by Hon. Evelyn Mpagi, a Member of Parliament in Uganda. Hon. Mpagi emphasized the important role women play in Parliament due to the heavy burden they carry in representing the rights of women and children as well as their community/constituencies, while a special focus was placed on the qualities of a female leader in parliament.
Furthermore, the participants had an open discussion on whether they feel powerful or powerless in their current position as parliamentarians. There was also an interesting dialogue on the need for unity among women parliamentarians, in order to overcome the challenges they face and effectively influence legislation in terms of upholding women’s rights and human rights.
During the second session of the training, facilitated by Hon. Rose Seninde, the lobbying and advocacy skills of women parliamentarians were enhanced. Hon. Rose Seninde talked among others about lobbying and keeping women’s issues high on the agenda of the Parliament. Furthermore, she illustrated several strategies for effective advocacy including how to persuade male MPs to support women’s causes as well as persuasive communications tools when communicating with your constituencies. Special attention was given to developing successful networking as a tool for action.
The third session increased the knowledge and skills of women parliamentarians in regards to gender budgeting. This includes the gender-equal distribution of resources as well ensuring that parliamentarians execute their oversight function from a gender-perspective. The facilitator, Ms. Jill Kyatuheire, shared some good practices in regards to implementing gender budgeting from the Parliament of Uganda.
In light of the upcoming elections, the fourth session was dedicated to providing a general review of the key areas of legislation that should be engendered, including the Electoral legislation. The facilitator, Hon. Winnie Masiko, illustrated the different stages before a bill becomes law. Moreover, she formulated strategies the women parliamentarians can utilize to influence the decision-making as well identifying the stages wherein women can do this through lobbying and advocacy.
The final session of the training looked at the role of MPs in post legislation monitoring and scrutinizing. The facilitator, Hon. Betty Amongi, emphasised the important role of Parliamentarians in this process, as MPs are required to monitor and analyse if passed laws are having the desired effect and take action to amend legislation accordingly if needed.