The UN Women ACTIL, Kenyatta University trains Zimbabwean women parliamentarians and women political leaders in peacebuilding
Preparations for the training of women parliamentarians and leaders from the political party wings are running high at the UN Women African Centre for Transformation and Inclusive Leadership (ACTIL) in Nairobi Kenya. The training is scheduled to start on 24 May, ending on 30 May 2014 and amongst the trainers are seasoned women trainers Professor Wangari Mwai of ACTIL and Dr Martha Mutisi of Zimbabwe.
This training programme seeks to provide building blocks towards the strengthening of conflict management skills base of Zimbabwean women in politics and leadership whilst also providing a platform for women politicians to consistently enhance their skills by reflecting on their practice and experience, while seeking to achieve the goal of strengthening women’s participation in leadership and governance by providing a space for reflection, learning and shared experiences. There has not been much training on conflict management and resolution happening at the political leadership levels in Zimbabwe. As such, this training exposes participants to the basics and nuances of leadership, conflict analysis and management at both the local and regional levels. The training also takes a gendered analysis on the impact of conflict as well as its resolution. Ultimately, training female politicians and government leaders will strengthen their impact on policy and implementation. As political leaders elsewhere, women politicians in Zimbabwe represent both their parties and their gender. In some cases, it has been notably difficult for women to transcend their political identities and positions. This has resulted in closure of spaces for dialogue between women from different political parties. Such a reality makes it necessary to undertake conflict management and resolution training towards facilitating tolerance, cooperation and acceptance in politics and governance.
The training also provides a platform to strengthen collaborative relationships among women leaders with the aim to that facilitate transformative change, shared leadership and effective coalitions. Ultimately, through such training, women leaders in Zimbabwe will have space to cultivate personal growth and collective advancement of women in politics and leadership. In designing this training programme, UN Women has kept cognisance of the outstanding challenges that curtail women’s effective participation in politics, leadership and governance. For example, participation in activities and politics remains a gendered process which requires female candidates to devote a significant amount of energy, resources and time, apart from the reality of dealing with internal party politics and challenges of political harassment. As such, this programme underscores the importance of capacity-building initiatives for women in politics and governance.
A key component of the Level III training in Leadership, Conflict Analysis and Management for female parliamentarians and politicians from Zimbabwe will include excursion visits and / or guest presentations by individual panelists or members from identified Kenyan institutions to promote cross regional learning. The excursion visits will target key institutions of political governance in Kenya which may include the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the National for Cohesion and Integration Commission (NICC) and the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus of Kenya, among others. This is meant to immerse participants into the realities of political leadership of women in Kenya and to generate cross-regional sharing of experiences and ideas. It is expected that the excursion visits / and or guest presentations would achieve the following objectives: Facilitate cross-regional learning on the role of institutions in promoting women’s leadership and conflict management skills; Provide a platform for experience sharing and reflections on the regional and local landscape of women in political leadership; Facilitate learning outside the classroom and thereby facilitate experiential learning, while referencing the objectives of the training curriculum and Immerse Zimbabwean women political leaders into the realities of the Kenyan context and its impact on female political leadership.
Levels I and II of this training course occurred with the same group of women last year from October 9-11, 2013 at the Rhodes Nyanga Hotel and from 31 March to 4 April, 2014 at Amber Hotel in Mutare respectively. This training at ACTIL will be the final training - Level III, and draws twelve participants from the original group of 30 women trained at Level I and Level II. The twelve were selected on merit and based on a quota system for the 3 political parties ZANU PF, MDC - T and MDC. The cumulative impact of such training has the potential to transform Zimbabwe from a society with a modest representation of women in politics to one where there is not only significant but effective presence of women in the Legislative Assembly, Senate and Government positions.