A delegation of twenty people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), composed of parliamentarians, members of Congolese civil society and traditional chiefs recently attended a three day training workshop on 'Gender, Human Rights and Governance' in Dakar, Senegal.
The workshop was organised by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), with the support of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Fund for Democracy (UNDEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Senegalese Ministry of Family, Women's Entrepreneurship and Micro finance.
It ran from 07 to 10 July 2008.
The group was led by Ms. Jacqueline Lofulo, Secretary General of the Minister of Gender, Family and Children in the DRC.
A working session, led by Mr Kansoubaly Ndiaye, 1st Vice-President of the Senate, « was organised in the Senate of Senegal, where Senegalese and Congolese parliamentarians had fruitful discussions on the question of involving gender in decision-making processes and also the necessity for reviewing of national budgets by deputies and senators.
For his part, Mr. Macky Sall, President of the National Assembly of Senegal said he was satisfied with the workshop. He then sent word to his Congolese counterpart, through the delegation, saying that "visits can be arranged and avenues for cooperation were emerging between the two institutions to benefit women."
During the opening ceremony, Ms. Awa Ndiaye, Senegalese Minister of Family Affairs, National Solidarity, Women's Entrepreneurship and Micro finance, emphasised the need to "develop exchanges of experiences between parliamentarians of both countries to help develop good practices".
The workshop was aimed at strengthening the capacity of the DRC policy makers at all levels in terms of Gender and gender budgeting, respect for human rights and particularly human rights of women and their effective participation in political governance, democratic institutions and economic empowerment.
It should be noted that this training session falls within the framework of the implementation of a draft post-conflict reconstruction and gender equality in the establishment of democratic institutions in the DRC, a country victim to unrest.
Several experts on gender took part in this training which has enabled the Congolese parliamentarians' to better prepare themselves in terms of budget analysis and mainstreaming gender in projects submitted to Parliament.
FAS has been working in the DRC since the negotiations in Sun City, South Africa in 2002 and pledged to bring the Congolese women from different diaspora around a common agenda for their effective participation in the peace process and transition to a democratic, transparent and equitable partnership with the United Nations.
Through this partnership, women in the DRC have been able to develop platforms at the national level to support their participation in peace negotiations and the transitional mechanisms of governance, and establish the framework 'Women Congolese Dialogue', a group of women's associations.