Kasama Municipal Council Institutional profile

Date: July 5, 2013
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“The council has the role to protect and promote political participation for both women and men.”

Kasama Women participating in the “Keep kasama Clean Campaign” – Photo: Albert Ngosa

The Centres of Excellence for Gender mainstreaming in Local Government programme has enabled the Kasama municipal council to develop gender policies and action plans to mainstream gender to their operations. In April this year, the council will hold a meeting to look at the agenda; there is hope that the gender policy and action plan will be adopted. The action plan will help women enjoy equal rights, freedoms of a civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental nature. The plan will help fight against all forms of discrimination, exclusion and marginalisation.

Gender and Governance was not discussed much in the council meeting and this contributed to having more men in decision making positions than women; however, with the introduction of the gender mainstreaming programme, female participation will improve. Gender equality was not advocated for like it is today; there were no equal chances for both women and men, which is part of the reason why the council has 36 female employees and 106 males. The council also has one female councillor who is now the chairperson in one of the committees.

Gender and Governance has enabled the council to develop many initiatives to mainstream gender by local governments; this has been documented. The council is promoting gender equality within their structures and also in the community.
There has been growing recognition of the need to ensure women’s equal participation in all arenas of decision making. The sensitisation programmes carried out by the council are among the factors that have enabled equal participation of women in the committees. The ward development committee now has equal numbers of women and men. The council has set up a gender structure and a gender focal person who is responsible for gender mainstreaming programmes, and ensuring that gender mainstreaming is offered to other staff. The gender focal person promotes gender sensitive training for both men and women to ensure non-discriminatory working relations.

Before the gender mainstreaming programmes, it was rare to have gender training workshops; there was no equal participation. The majority of participants were women as men were not interested in gender training, hence there was no effective communication on gender issues. But now, there is a balance between women and men, and it is good to note that councillors who are close to the people are also participating. Implementing programmes is only successful when the decision makers themselves attend such important workshops.

The Kasama municipal council now holds public awareness campaigns on gender and gender based violence. The community development section has drafted a project proposal on community sensitisation on gender based violence, peer education on HIV/AIDs, sports activities and computer learning programmes. The sensitisation activities intend to reach out to all communities including schools. The project also intends to train more youth.

Since gender inequality and gender based violence can be found in all societies, the community is involved in all stages of prevention. The role of the community is to build a society free from gender inequality and gender based violence. The unique characteristics of the Kasama municipal council is the effort to continue empowering women by providing them with jobs; women have been employed on a casual basis, and more contracts have been given to women council police offices. The representation of women police officers are another way to further gender equality in the police service.

The council wants to see more women employed as council police officers. If more women are employed, there will be equal representation or gender balance in law enforcement agencies. It has the right people on board and the right people to support all the activities relating to gender and gender based violence, but the challenge is implementation of the activities. Sufficient funds to support the implementation are not usually available.

The council needs support from both public and private institutions and organisations in order to carry out gender programmes effectively. Even so, collaboration with Gender Links will be ongoing on certain priority issues.

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