"I Feel Inspired and Equipped to Empower Myself!"

Where to next for the African Liberal Network Women's Leadership Programme Graduates?
Feature04.12.2019Mthoba Chapi and Nangamso Kwinana
ALNWLP
Meet the inaugural graduates of the Africa Liberal Network's Women's Leadership Programme for 2019Africa Liberal Network

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN) together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF Africa)​, the Liberal Democrats and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy ran the Africa Liberal Network’s Women’s Leadership Programme for 2019. The programme trains women politicians from ALN member parties to develop knowledge and skills in order to win candidate nominations and upcoming elections, or to be elected to internal party leadership positions. The programme also aims to dismantle barriers to women’s political participation and selection as candidates. Fourteen women from across Africa formed part of the 2019 programme representing Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia and Botswana. 

Three of the youngest trainees were Laurée Simba Lelo from the DRC, Rachel Bugingo and Siti Ngwali from Tanzania. They share their experiences in the programme with us, as well as how they are going to implement what they have learnt in their political careers going forward.

 

1. What have you discovered about yourselves as young politicians in Africa?

Laurée Simba Lelo

  • As a young woman in politics I believe I am a new face in game, new fresh idea, new print, new perspective that the world should discover. I learnt that I am resilient as I was able to overcome the perception of being a young woman and "inexperienced young politician”. 

Rachel Bugingo

  • As a young woman in African politics I see myself as a change-maker. I want to represent well, my issues of concern such as gender inequality and purpose towards community. I have discovered that I am determined and driven by a purpose as I always fight hard to make sure my community’s needs are served.

Siti Ngwali

  • The political journey is not easy, I should not wait to be invited to the table, rather I should take initiate and take advantage of opportunities that are available to me. Being a young woman in politics, I actively participate in politics and address social and economic issues that affect the nation, not only “women” issues.

2. What did you find as the most useful experience in this journey and how do you intend to use what you have learnt going forward?

Laurée Simba Lelo

  • Through the process of learning, interacting, being mentored and presenting my project on “Social Accountability Strengthening in the DRC”, I managed to improve my communication skills because before starting the programme, public speaking was one of my challenges. I now feel empowered with the capacity to speak in public. I would be able to train civil society organisations in the DRC with capacity building on transparency and accountability with what I have learnt.

Rachel Bugingo

  • The most useful part of this journey was the individual project, which I did in Sengerema district titled "Women Inclusiveness and Decisiveness in Political Leadership" in which I was able to directly meet the community of women, created networks and we empowered each other. Since the individual project enabled me to join hands with the community, I will contest in the coming general election as a front-liner and walk the talk so as to ensure women are included in decision-making table and with positive impacts politically.

Siti Ngwali

  • Being able to integrate theory and content into practice, especially during my project titled “Against Violence in Politics” I have discovered that gender based violence (GBV) does exist and therefore I will use our (party’s) initiative/organisation, centre for zero violence, to participate in the struggle to end GBV by awareness rising and offering counseling to GBV survivors. I will advocate for national management guideline and response to end violence against women in politics with the participation of political party members, gender-based violence stakeholders, activists as well as experts.

3. What advice do you have for other young female politicians based on this experience?

Laurée Simba Lelo

  • That being a woman shouldn’t be a barrier. They should pursue their dreams; they have what it takes to change the world and that no adequate changes can spring from society where no women’s participation is observed.

Rachel Bugingo

  • As a woman you need to break down the chains of personal inferiority bonded by cultural perspectives and beliefs. You need to work hard and be very focused on making changes following your mission to achieve your purpose for your community.

Siti Ngwali

  • The world needs more women political leaders. More women should be involved in politics to address all issues. Embrace risk, frankly you cannot be successful even in politics if you have not embraced risk. 

4. What advice do you have for the ALN WLP going forward?

Laurée Simba Lelo

  • In 2020, I believe that ALN should integrate with women who have gained experience in campaigning in politics, those whom have won by being elected and those whom have failed to to be elected to public office. There’s a lived experience to be shared from both perspectives.

Rachel Bugingo

  • My advice is to please invite women who have brought change in their communities or political careers, like the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) MP Siviwe Gwarube, so as to help other women who are visionary and want to advance their political careers.

Siti Ngwali

  • My advice is to introduce peer to peer campaign / programmes. 

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years and how do you want African politics to look like?

Laurée Simba Lelo

  • I see myself as an efficient member of parliament. I would like to see more women impacting the continent in transparency and integrity and being a vital equilibrium in the decision-making table on matters concerning the heart of Africa.

Rachel Bugingo

  • I will be a very responsible minister with vision and purpose to impact the community positively. In the African political context, I want to see diversity in the political decision-making table.

Siti Ngwali

  • I will be a vibrant and independent member of parliament, well known radical social worker who drives issue with a solutions-oriented approach. I want to see big Centre for Zero with huge impacts in addressing GBV issue. I want to see political development in dealing with issue rather than dealing with people.