ECOFEPA urged to establish mentorship programmes to support next generation

Dr Bola Preye Ayo, Chief Executive Officer and Lead Partner, Trillion Global Presidential Consulting, has called for the establishment of mentorship programmes to support the next generation.

That, she said, would help address gender gaps, and impact knowledge ideas, skills and confidence in the youth especially, women.

Dr Ayo, who is also an International Lobbyist made the call at a two-day Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) (Network) Townhall Meeting held in Abuja.

'Work together to create a world of women excelling together. When women are empowered is not a threat to men it is a complementary support for men,' she said.

The Meeting, which was organised by the ECOWAS Parliament under the auspices of ECOFEPA under the theme: 'Stimulating Regional Dynamics for Mentoring the Next Generation of Decision Makers' was part of efforts to scale up women and youth representation in the ECOWAS Member States.

The Meeting which had 'Rejuvenate Democracy by Giving Voice to Women and Youth' as a primary pillar and 'Think Politics' as a slogan had in attendance over 300 participants drawn from women and youth networks within the ECOWAS sub-region.

It had the outcome objective of improving the communication and support link between ECOFEPA, the participating women, youth networks as well as young men in reducing skill gaps through active participation of women and youth capacity-building sessions, boosting the self-confidence of participants, increasing the involvement of women and youth in politics and set the stage for the establishment of sustained engagement with political young leaders to develop a road map that would stimulate a national dynamic for mentorship of young leaders.

Madam Ann Iyonu, Executive Director of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, implored West African governments to prioritise women and youth representation in governance.

She said democracy could not thrive and function well if it was not inclusive.

She, therefore hailed ECOFEPA for a timely meeting that gave a voice to women and youth.

She, however, spoke on the participation of women and youth in other countries, adding that they could play critical roles in leadership and governance.

'The imperative of maintaining women and youth in leadership to make democracy in our sub-region more meaningful cannot be overemphasised.

'Across the sub-region, we have very few women and youth participating as parliamentarians. This is not the case in other climes where the gap has progressively and significantly narrowed.

'It is instructive that West Africa, with only 15.7 per cent of the average proportion of seats held by women in the national parliaments, lacks behind other regions in Africa,' she said.

Madam Iyonu appealed to governments for a conscious deliberate effort in changing the status quo of women and youth through education programmes that would boost their knowledge and skills.

She also called for the adoption of technologies in politics that would attract women and youths to participate in politics and change the narrative.

Madam Woraye Sarr, President of ECOFEPA, urged Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across Member States to mainstream youth activities into their projects to promote women and youth participation in politics.

That, she explained, was achieving the 30 per cent affirmative action on women's representation required more efforts by all stakeholders, noting that CSOs had greater roles to play to ensure success in the struggle.

Dr Sidie Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, addressing delegates, said the town hall meeting was an opportunity for constituents to have a face-to-face interaction with their representatives and table their concerns for scaling up social inclusion for citizens.

He expressed satisfaction that the meeting strategically aligned with the current ECOWAS Vision 2050, which placed more emphasis on women and youth development in the sub-region and thereby addressed some of the issues that had 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.

Other speakers called for mentorship for West African women and youths for faster development in the region.

Source: Ghana News Agency