Kampala, Uganda – A five-day workshop for Somali women Members of the Federal Parliament as well as Ugandan women parliamentarians took place between 11 and 17 August in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The workshop included a study tour to the Parliament of Uganda and training sessions to help women Members of Parliament (MPs) and the standing committee representatives plan legislative and advocacy initiatives. The Uganda study mission focused on the role women played in drafting the Ugandan constitution and on the Uganda Women’s Parliamentary Association (UWOPA), including how it prioritizes issues, builds consensus and crafts legislative strategy. UWOPA members explained the importance of women’s caucuses and how they complement parliamentary women’s/gender committees.
During the workshop it became evident that, for women to be effective parliamentarians, they must clearly understand the functions of the legislature and they must learn the rules of the game—both the written and unwritten codes, and the procedures and mechanisms for getting things done. They must first learn the internal practices of parliament in order to equip themselves to utilize these rules better and to devise effective strategies to change the rules to advance women’s interests and goals.
The AWEPA programme Supporting legislative institutions in Somalia facilitates and cooperates on capacity-building activities targeting legislators, legislative staff, executive officers and MPs standing committees. In this framework, AWEPA organises training activities for newly elected legislators, taking into account specific circumstances. For instance, women legislators are less likely to have previously served as politicians than their male colleagues and are more likely to have a civil society background. This should be taken into account as capacity-building programmes are created.