ASHH Foundation, Partners Organises Workshop on Women Participation in Leadership in Bauchi

By Bashir Hassan Abubakar

A Bauchi based NGO, Attah Sisters Helping Hand (ASHH) Foundation with support from the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF) , funded by Ford Foundation has organised a One Day Community Mobilization Workshop on Women in Leadership targeted at 40 communities in Bauchi Local Government Area of the State.

Held at Destination Hotel Conference Hall Bauchi, the workshop attracted participants from local government political parties, community leaders and women groups from Bauchi Local Government Area.

Speaking on what the workshop seek to achieve, a program officer at the Foundation, Hajiya Jamila Sule said the objective of the workshop was to ginger women to participate actively in politics in order to vie for elective positions that could make them leaders in their respective communities.

She said that the workshop is designed in such a way that there will be a direct interface between the women, community and political party leaders for a robust interaction centered around women and leadership.

“Such interface is the right space for the women to voice out your concerns regarding participation in leadership roles. The interface will also create an avenue for participants to come up with possible solutions in areas of contention regarding women participation in politics and leadership”, said Sule.

While making a presentation titled “Enhancing Performance of Women in Leadership”, a community leader Mika’ilu Yakubu challenged women in their communities to overcome the complex that is making them shy away from joining politics.

Yakubu, who also doubles as a facilitator at the workshop, also blamed the women for their inability to form a strong coalition to support other women that comes out seeking for elective positions in their respective communities.

He said that, until women have a rethink on their approach to supporting their own gender during elections, the men will always leverage on their complexes, strength and use them to win elections.

“You have the numerical strength as electorates to determine who wins what in your constituencies. Why can’t you leverage on that, to elect women to lead and also champion your course at the top level”, Yakubu challenged the women.

In a question and answer sessions after presentations, one of the women participant, Fatima Abubakar said that until religious leaders become liberal in endorsing women participation in elective positions, the challenges women faced while vying for leadership positions will still remain as it is.

Fatima, who supported her argument with her personal experience while contesting for an elective position some years back, said that she forced to bury her ambition when some religious clerics reached out to her parents and swayed them into talking her out of the race despite her best chance of winning the election.

Also speaking, the organizing secretary of Social Democratic Party in Bauchi Local Government , Abubakar Sadiq Shehu suggested to the organizers of the workshop to engage religious leaders on the need to be liberal to women nursing political ambition by endorsing their candidature.

“In our peculiar environment, the words of our religious leaders are adhered to. They could be use as champions to advocate for improved women participation in elective positions”, said Shehu.

In her closing remarks, the lead program manager of ASHH Foundation, Mrs. Maryanne Emmanuel thanked the participants for bearing their minds, pledging that the Foundation will continue to engage relevant stakeholders with a view to charting a realistic pathway on how to mitigate the challenges stopping women from active participation in elective and leadership roles in their respective communities.

She also appeal to party leaders in the local government to make certain positions exclusively for women in order to make it attractive for them.

One of the key takeaway at the end of the workshop was the resolve of political parties to sponsor women vying for positions from the ward level up to federal level without the women having to buy any nomination forms or any related expenses.

Our correspondent reports that the workshop, which was organised by ASHH Foundation with Support from the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF) and funded by Ford Foundation.

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