The Local Councils Association of Sierra Leone with funds from the European Union, Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), and Women in Local Government on Tuesday, 21st March 2023 at the Makeni City Council Hall organized a one-day training for potential women aspirants ranging from the positions of Councillors, Mayors or Chairpersons from different political parties in the Northeast Region.

The engagement is part of a bid to increase women’s participation in the June 24th, 2023 elections.

According to Newsfeed, the outgoing Makeni City Council Mayor Sunkarie Kabba-Kamara during her opening remarks, who also facilitated some of the sessions urged the potential women aspirants to take full advantage of the training

This training serves as a guard on how you can able to achieve your various aspirations, not limited to on how to hobnob with the party stakeholders, how you can overcome intimidations from your male opponents, the strategies needed to organize a community meeting among others because you don’t just have to go to your party chairman and said to him come and give me a symbol because the government has given us 30% that is not appropriate, there are procedures involved and those are things you are going to learn today so be very attentive, give all your best and I’m wishing you all the best of luck ahead,” she opined.

Giving an overview of the project, Henry Powell the Focal Person indicated that the essence of the training cannot be unconnected with increasing the number of elected women in local councils which he described as not too appealing over the years.

He buttressed his assertions with the statistics of the local councils set up in 2012 and 2018, while in the June 2023 elections, they are yarning to achieve at least the 30% of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act of 2022.

This training is part of the quest to change the narrative in the June 2023 elections at least we must have 135 female Councillors, and also 7 female Mayors or Chairpersons out of the twenty-two Local Councils in Sierra Leone and that will sum up the 30% of the GEWE Act of 2022,″ he revealed.

Joseph Munda Bindi, President of the Local Councils Association of Sierra Leone, in his keynote address stated that the LoCASL is owned by the twenty-two Local Councils, adding key among its objectives is lobbying and advocating for the interest of its members.

LoCASL is an independent body that is not owned by the government, our membership comprises Councillors, Mayors, or Chairpersons, we lobby and build the capacity of our members and this training is among them as you are potential members of this association,” he disclosed.

He continues by imploring the participants to pay a keen interest revealing that it is a training of trainers, therefore in turn they are expecting them to cascade this training to other female aspirants.

As you have noticed we are very few in the hall this already demonstrated the magnitude and importance of this training we targeted a fewer number of you the female potential aspirants because we want you to mastermind the concept as in turn we are expecting you to replicate similar training to other female aspirants,” he added.

The LoCASL President, Joseph Munda Bindi noted that the training is a manifestation of their commitment to increase the number of women in the Local Councils which he referred to as the bedrock for the development of the country.

Because the Local Council is the bedrock of development in the country, there is a high need for us to have more elected women in the councils because they are the caregivers and know every bit of the pressing needs in the community they will duly channel and we want to applaud the government for the 30% quota in the GEWE Act this shows that Sierra Leone is now ready for business,” he intimated.

The day-long training featured a total of four sessions, the first session covers the functions of Local Councils, the roles of councilors, and challenges faced by women in politics, while the decision-making marks the second session, the lobby with political parties sessions enlightened the potential women aspirants on wide range techniques, not limited to goal setting, understand your party, stakeholders mapping, networking hints, and tips, networking practice, and the campaign strategy as the final session captured SWOT analysis, setting objectives, action plan and budget.

One of the beneficiaries of the training was Suard Henrietta Koroma, a former Councillor who has decided to aspire again disclosed that the training is not only timely but as well they learned a lot on how to overcome the challenges they are facing as females aspirants and not limited to intimidations from their male counterparts.

We are encountering a lot ranging from financial, and cultural beliefs, but this training has guided us on how to overcome some of these challenges and built our confidence all the more,” she asserted.