Afrika Day 2019

14/04/2019

 

The Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) organises once a year the biggest event in the Netherlands on Africa and international cooperation. On 13 April 2019, ENoP participated in this event by organising a panel discussion on the support for women to be more engaged in political parties in Morocco and Benin. This was an opportunity to present the project “Get involved! Women empowerment in Morocco and Benin” in which ENoP is a partner.

Speakers:

  • Dalal Menni, Member of the political party RNI, agricultural engineer and member of the ONG Moroccan Shadow Government as a youth minister of African Affairs and Diplomacy, Morocco.
  • Ousmane Konkobo, Project Coordinator of EIDHR project ‘Get involved! Women empowerment in Morocco and Benin’ in IGD, Benin.
  • Fatima Zahra Nassik, Research Associate of EIDHR project ‘Get involved! Women empowerment in Morocco and Benin’.
  • Moderator: Ilke Fidan, Research Associate, Multinational Development Policy Dialogue, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Brussels.

Topics of the discussion
Ms Nassik presented the “Get involved!”-project and some of the success stories of the project so far. In Morocco, for example, the project has already managed to bring together women from different political parties to discuss joint challenges and how they can strengthen their cooperation in order to support their joint ambition. This cross-party cooperation is unusual in Morocco.

The other two speakers presented briefly the political situation in the countries, particularly the challenges and obstacles for political participation of women and the measures by the respective governments to tackle them.

The discussion with the audience was lively and fruitful. They pointed at the fact that many women in Europe face the same obstacles as those in Morocco and Benin. Participants as well as speakers described the political system as very male-dominated, which would lead to some women trying to adapt to what is known as “male behavior” instead of consciously defending female behavior and approaches as very valuable contribution to diversity and a more inclusive political arena.

Another important point of discussion was a quota for women on party lists for elections or senior and leadership positions in political parties. The speakers made clear that quotas have to be “smart” in order to lead to the intended results. In some countries the risks exists that the leading male elite would otherwise only install female marionettes.

Results
The participation of ENoP in the Africaday contributed to ENoP’s visibility and to presenting its activities in the context of the Get-involved!-project and beyond to a broader audience.

ENoP could further establish contact with FEPS through members of ENoP who are also part of FEPS. This would be the basis to further spread out to possible new ENoP members and cooperation with the European political foundation.

One participant is currently writing a research paper on women empowerment in Tanzania. Meeting an ENoP representative at the event helped her to establish a contact to the country office of the ENoP-member Hanns-Seidel-Foundation in Tanzania in order to include the organisation’s experience in supporting political participation of women in Tanzania into her research.