Demo Finland has launched a new project that strengthens women’s political participation on local level in Zambia. Demo’s local partner organisation in the project is Zambia National Women’s Lobby.
The project aims especially at the 2016 local elections, where the goal is to increase the number of elected women. At the moment, only 6,1 per cent of the local councillors are women. The needs assessment shows that there is work to be done: patriarchal and traditional attitudes do not support women’s participation, political parties don’t invest in woman candidates and the women often don’t support each other. In addition, the party structures and the electoral system are unfavourable for women’s participation.
The activities of the project are carried out with current local councillors as well as with women who are interested in becoming political actors. Their capacities and leading skills are strengthened and women’s cross-party cooperation is supported in order to increase women’s abilities to advance issues that are important to them. The project also increases awareness on the importance of women’s participation and gender equality within political parties and among local communities.
The project has been praised for its good timing – as there is still plenty of time to the next elections, influencing in the party structures and finding and training aspiring candidates is still possible.