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Good governance and women’s participation in seven West African countries from 2006 to 2008

Project: “Good governance and women’s participation in seven West African countries”

Financial partner: European Union

Total cost: 1 019 608 € or 668 819 005 F CFA

Duration : 2 years

Countries : Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo

Objectives : Contribute to the effective participation of women in governance at local and national levels.

Some examples: 

-In Nigeria COPAWIG and WiLDAF Nigeria, have integrated a network of civil society organisations in Lagos State that has mobilised to increase women’s participation in the electoral process, especially as candidates for elective positions in Lagos State.

-In Benin, 1435 women stood for local government elections in 2008, up from 1199 in 2002. 

In Togo, out of 2122 candidates positioned for the October 2007 legislative elections, 205 are women. 

In Mali, 47 women ran against 238 candidates in Sikasso for the legislative elections, while 18 ran in Kati, which was a first in these two localities targeted by the project.

With regard to the results of the legislative elections, the number of women elected rose from 13 to 17 in Burkina Faso, from 23 to 33 in Senegal, from 5 to 9 in Togo, and from 6 to 9 in Benin.

-In Benin, the number of women elected at the local level increased from 44 to 60.

In Ghana, the NDC which won the elections promised 40% representation of women in government at national and local levels

-In Togo, a law and a decree have been taken by the Togolese government: 

Law n°2007-018 on the public financing of political parties. Article 9 of the law provides that the State shall allocate to political parties a bonus for the promotion of women. Each political party will benefit from a financial bonus proportional to the total number of women elected in legislative or local elections.

Decree No. 2007-073 fixing the amount of the deposit to be paid for the early legislative elections. Article 2 of this decree grants a 25% reduction per female candidate to any list of candidates. 

During the recomposition of the Constitutional Court in 2007, actions resulted in the appointment of one woman judge among nine. This was an event because this appointment was a first in Togo’s history.

-In Togo, following the coalition’s actions, the mayor of Kpalimé invited the entire population by radio in December 2007 to attend the municipal council’s deliberation on the adoption of the 2008 budget.

-In Benin, there has been a significant improvement in the number of girls benefiting from a grant from the town hall of the capital of the Department of Zou from 5 girls benefiting in 2007, the number has been increased to 17

In Burkina Faso, the cost of care and delivery by caesarean section has risen to nine hundred (900) CFA francs.

-In Benin, the decree n° 2008-730 of 22 December 2008 on free caesarean section in the Republic of Benin was adopted by the Council of Ministers and will be operational as of 01 April 2009.

-In Ghana, in November 2007, the government introduced policies to make medical care and childbirth free for pregnant women in addition to instructing the three ministries (education, health and local government) to take gender into account in their budgets.  

-In Togo, the coalition contributed to the government’s decision to abolish school fees at the pre-school and primary level at the start of the 2008 – 2009 school year;

In Ghana, during the Mpohor Wassa East District Ordinary Session in the last quarter of 2007, the Assembly approved 40% scholarships for girls in the district ….

-In Senegal, the deputies examined on 13 November 2007, the draft constitutional law N° 40/2007, amending articles 7, 63, 68, 71 and 82 of the Constitution before voting it by a majority minus one vote and two abstentions.  The Senate in its turn followed the parliament’s lead by voting for the draft law No. 01/2007 amending Articles 7, 63, 68 and 82 of the Constitution. The new provision guarantees equal access of men and women to mandates and elective functions. This reform represents a major step forward that brings the Senegalese constitution in line with the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women, Article 9 of which requires equal participation of men and women in politics.

 

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External assessment

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Good governance and women’s participation in seven West African countries from 2006 to 2008

WiLDAF, Sub Regional Office for West Africa was established in April 1997. It is part of a pan African women’s rights network established in 1990, initially based in Harare, but now based in Lomé, Togo. It dedicated to promoting and strengthening strategies which link law and development to increase women’s participation and influence at the community, national and international levels.

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Tokon Witti, Lome Togo

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