Seychelles’ capital Victoria has been chosen to host the African forum for the emancipation of women leadership in Africa in a decision made at a three-day event that took place in the island nation recently. The event which was organized by the Global Forum for Women’s Empowerment in collaboration with the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) was under the theme “Press for Progress”, which coincides with that of the 2018 International Women’s Rights Day.

“We want Victoria to be the capital of victory against all inequalities and challenges faced by women in Africa,” Kassoum Coullibaly President of the Global Institute for Women’s Empowerment (GIWE) told the press. While the initiative is a worldwide campaign, African countries like Mali, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles wanted to have a regional group that deals with the challenges affecting the growth of women in Africa.

The Monday through Wednesday forum was held a week after the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in New York. The session, which is the United Nation’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s rights, took place March 12 to 23.

The ‘Forum of Victoria’ which is expected to meet annually, is aimed at appealing for the acceleration of gender equality among African women and those living outside of their homeland.  “We believe it is time for Africa to take charge in an autonomous manner among Africans, to think for itself and build a future that is certain for itself and humanity as a whole,” says Coullibaly. The Forum will include research and create a database on the situation of women in different sectors. It will also advocate and create strategies for the political changes in those situations and develop programs that will support women in Africa. It will also bring together intellectuals, researchers, policymakers and journalists from Africa to take part in discussions, media-related activities and training for the future of the African nation.

Seychellois AlissaPerine, representative of the Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles said, “The conference provided the ideal environment for exchange between the participants.” This she added will “serve not only to empower the women of Africa but also to find common grounds of interest and identify ways for women to invest, contribute an be more involved in our communities, homes, workplace, and country.” Coullibaly said the Forum is “an engagement of women citizens within the society but we need to recognize that we cannot do it without our governments.”

He added that the forum will include monitoring and counselling activities that will be undertaken by all governments and that “we will be working together in close partnership, honesty to ensure that we all win in the end.” Last Tuesday, the Forum also launched the award of Ellen Johnson Sirleef, valuing women leaders in Africa. The award is in honour of the first elected women President of Africa.

Sirleaf was elected as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018 and became the first elected female head of state in Africa. We wish that Africa has some models and Mrs. Sirleef was able to show an incorruptible leadership within her 12 years in power. I think it is important for us Africans to symbolize her achievements, put it to light and inspire others,” said Coullibaly.  The award will be presented to its first recipient during the second workshop to take place in Seychelles next year. Criteria’s for the award will be published soon on the new Forum of Victoria website. 

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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