By Joyce Namutebi
FORMER Vice President, Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe has advised women Members of Parliament from Somalia to be knowledgeable about everything because the women look up to them for answers.
She was delivering a key-note address at a capacity building workshop for Somali women MPs held at Hotel Africana, Kampala.
Kazibwe, who is also a former MP, said the MPs must know about everything because women see hope and aspiration in them. “You are a jack of all trades to women in your country,” she noted.
She urged the legislators to understand each one’s talents, know those women who are good at doing research and those who are technical in various fields so as to help them comprehend issues better.
The workshop that ends on August 17 is meant to enhance skills of the Somali women MPs to effectively, efficiently and competently execute their core function and responsibilities as MPs.
The training is being conducted by the European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) in conjunction with Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA).
UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, Dr. Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe (centre front row) posing for a group photograph with Somali Women Members of Parliament at Hotel Africana in Kampala during a capacity building workshop on Accountability, Rule of Law and Development. PHOTO/Enock Kakande
During the training the MPs would hear from both current and former Ugandan women MPs on topics including functions of committees, the role of parliament in the budget process and on an overview of Parliament and how a parliament functions in a democracy.
They will also get to know about the importance of gender responsive rules of procedure and how to effectively engender the legislation process in Parliament.
Kazibwe urged the women legislators to pick particular African languages and use them in communication with each other and other African people.
Out of the 275 MPs in the Somali Parliament, 38 are women, but Kazibwe pointed out that although the numbers are small, it is better than nothing.
She noted that in Uganda, while women MPs increased capacity to speak out, the men felt threatened. ‘We realized that every time we got together the men’s methods were to divide us using woman hood.” She advised them to “insist that where a man sits, a woman must sit.”
UWOPA chairperson, Betty Amongi explained that they did a needs assessment and found out that the Somali women MPs need to understand the committees of Parliament, how to influence the agenda and how to lobby as they move to entrench affirmative action in their constitution.
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