ONGOING

Promoting Young Women’s Participation in Decision Making, Governance and Politics in Sierra Leone

More than 50% of the world’s population are women. Despite the significant role women play in societies, it is evident that patriarchy in politics, lack of resources, and support for young women to assume leadership roles limit their participation in politics and. Societal expectations and stereotypes, cultural practices, low education levels, poverty, insecurity and gender based violence undermine young women’s political aspirations. Young women are underrepresented as voters, political leaders and elected officials in every region of Sierra Leone. Political parties are the institutions to promote women’s political leadership and access to elected office. Unfortunately, their structures, policies, practices and values negatively affect women’s participation in decision making, governance and politics. Young women lack influence in party policies and platforms’ development. There is limited representation of women on executive bodies in political parties, and there is serious marginalization of women’s wings within parties. Political parties are focused on winning elections and because young women have not been part of the formation and management of political processes and structures for so long, and due to low financial contributions that young women make to political parties, it is considered risky to promote young women’s participation in governance. Despite these obstacles, young women in Sierra Leone exhibit confidence and determination to overcome barriers to enhance responsible citizenship, dignified living, inclusive and good governance.

Project Fact Sheet
Donor:

Solidaridad West Africa Project

Project Implementing Partner:

Irish Aid & UN Women

Project Location:

Kenema

Duration:

Phase 1 runs from May 2019 to February 2021
Phase 2 will run from 2021 - 2024

Project Budget:

Project Thematic Areas:

Women empowerment.

Contact details and contact

Joseph Ayamga,

Country Director

SEND Sierra Leone

Road, Kenema,

Sierra Leone

[email protected]

+23278206853

Project Problem

More than 50% of the world’s population are women. Despite the significant role women play in societies, it is evident that patriarchy in politics, lack of resources, and support for young women to assume leadership roles limit their participation in politics and. Societal expectations and stereotypes, cultural practices, low education levels, poverty, insecurity and gender based violence undermine young women’s political aspirations. Young women are underrepresented as voters, political leaders and elected officials in every region of Sierra Leone.

Political parties are the institutions to promote women’s political leadership and access to elected office. Unfortunately, their structures, policies, practices and values negatively affect women’s participation in decision making, governance and politics. Young women lack influence in party policies and platforms’ development. There is limited representation of women on executive bodies in political parties, and there is serious marginalization of women’s wings within parties. Political parties are focused on winning elections and because young women have not been part of the formation and management of political processes and structures for so long, and due to low financial contributions that young women make to political parties, it is considered risky to promote young women’s participation in governance.

Despite these obstacles, young women in Sierra Leone exhibit confidence and determination to overcome barriers to enhance responsible citizenship, dignified living, inclusive and good governance. It is critical to raise awareness among young women aspiring politicians, and other members of the Sierra Leone society to promote understanding and address stereotypes that continue to ensure few young women succeed in the political arena. To bring about a more inclusive, responsive and responsible societies, it is important to work with young women to influence and change the entrenched idea that only men have to be leaders. It is important to remind society and that of men that women’s political participation has profound positive and democratic impacts on communities, legislatures, political parties, and citizen’s lives, and helps democracy deliver. In order to meet worldwide development goals and to build strong, sustainable democracies, young women must be encouraged, empowered and supported in becoming strong political and community leaders. It is against this background that this action is proposed to disrupt, dismantle and contain the limiting factors of young women’s participation in decision making, governance and politics.

Project Target

Young women (18-35 years) who have completed tertiary education and are currently engaged as entrepreneurs; in government agencies as leaders, heads of departments or of teams; in the media, activism, universities, colleges, polytechnics, teachers, and nurses who are interested in participating in politics and governance • Families have new sources of income through owned resources mobilization, and cultivation of diversified crops

GYoung women (18-35 years of age) in tertiary institutions who are interested in participating in politics and governance. These young women will be recruited, mentored and educated on politics, community development, political engagement strategies and encouraged to participate in party processes to enhance their electoral successes.

Partnership with Political Parties Registration Commission, and the NEC to engage and educate political parties to develop strategies to recruit young women into political processes. An MOU will be developed with PPRC and the NEC to work with political parties to take deliberate actions to increase young women’s participation in politics.

Mobilization and capacity building of the administrative and academic staff of universities, polytechnics, and training colleges in Sierra Leone on gender, women’s empowerment in order to mobilize support for the creation of a network of young women to increase their participation in the next elections in Sierra Leone.

Read Project Report