By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
May 5 (Newshour.com.ng) – ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association, ECOPAS, has said it would give women and youths voices through rejuvenation of democracy.
In a bid to scale up women and youth representation in ECOWAS Member States, ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association, ECOFEPA, is organizing a 2 day Regional Townhall meeting tagged “Stimulating Regional dynamics for mentoring the next generation of decision makers”
The meeting which is holding in Abuja has in attendance over 300 participants drawn from women and youth networks within the ECOWAS subregion.
It is expected to improve the communication and support link between ECOFEPA and the participating women and youths networks, reduce skill gaps through active participation of women and youth capacity building sessions, boost self confidence of participants, increase involvement of women and youths in politics and set the stage for the establishment of sustained engagement with political young leaders so as to develop a road map that will stimulate a national dynamic for mentorship of young leaders.
Speakers at the opening ceremony, harped on the need to nurture, build and support businesses or political ambitions that will spur women and youths to action.
Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Tunis, while declaring the meeting open, said, the townhall meeting is an opportunity for constituents to have a face-to-face interaction with their representatives and table their concerns for scaling up of social inclusion for citizens
He expressed joy that the meeting is strategically aligned with the current ECOWAS
Vision 2050, which places more emphasis on women and youth development in the sub-region and would address some of the issues that have contributed to gender inequalities in the region, irrespective of the progress made by most countries regarding women’s participation in the economic and social sectors.
According to the speaker, the ECOWAS Parliament, under his watch, has recognised the special role of women and youths as actors, agents, and beneficiaries of
development and as such, made concrete commitments and taken tangible actions to ensure the integration of the gender dimension in all planned actions and activities of the Parliament, including its policies, and programs.
In her welcome speech, the President of ECOFEPA, Hon. Woraye Sarr, called on Civil Society Organizations across member states to mainstream youth activities into their project to promote women and youths participation in politics.
She said achieving the 30% affirmative action on women representation requires more efforts by all stakeholders, noting that CSOs have greater roles to play to ensure success in the struggle.
Others who spoke including the Country Representative, UN women, Beatrice Eyong, a former governor of Abia State, and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, represented by his Chief of Staff, Emeka Nwala, Regional Chairman, West Africa Youth Assembly, Emmanuel Chea, among others called for mentorship for the West African women and youths for faster development in the region.