In the count down to the 2015 deadline for the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, the DLSs (District Level Summits) present an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in attaining gender equality at the local level. The 15 District Level Summits take place in in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Key Facts
COE Stages covered during the DLS
Target Groups
Programme in a nutshell
Key dates
Detailed programme

Key facts

  • In 2015, 431 councils out of a total of 977 councils (44.1%) in ten countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had committed to the Centres of Excellence (COE) for Gender in Local Government Programme. These councils have developed gender action plans aligned to the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development that is aligned to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) which expire in 2015.
  • The 15 district summits, from March to April 2015, will cover the 381 COEs in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe that have developed gender action plans aligned to the SADC Gender Protocol.
  • The purpose of the District Summits is to verify the progress that has been made in the COE process through the Local Government Gender Score Card and Institutional (local government) COE entry.
  • The District Summits will include ICT and communications training linked to uploading the evidence online and preparing presentations on progress made.
  • The training will include information on theme and leadership entries for the national and regional SADC Protocol@Work summits from May to August.
  • The regional summit will take place in Botswana alongside the SADC Heads of State Summit in 2015. This is the first time the regional summit is taking place outside Johannesburg, and back to back with the HOS.
  • All the summits form part of a larger campaign led by the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance to strengthen the SADC Gender Protocol in line with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will come into effect later this year.

2015 has come! In the count down to the 2015 deadline for the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, the DLSs present an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in attaining gender equality at the local level. The 15 District Level Summits (DLSs) take place in in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe (see dates for locations and dates). Annex B is the DLS programe at a glance over three days.
During the district council summits, councils will be made aware of, and assisted in making entries for the other categories that they are eligible to apply for directly to the national summit. These include:

  • Gender champion.
  • 50/50 and the post 2015 Agenda.
  • Gender, climate change and the post 2015 agenda.
  • Women’s rights and the post 2015 Agenda.
  • GBV and the post 2015 agenda.
  • Emerging entreprenuers.

Objectives for the DLSs in 2015 are to:

  • Train councils on IT for Advocacy (stage 7 and 8) and Effective communication skills sets;
  • Build capacity of councils on developing targeted campaigns on gender equality and communication strategies for popularising their gender action plans;
  • Measure progress in the implementation of the SADC Protocol of Gender and Development, identify gaps and recommendations for post 2015;
  • Draft a post 2015 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development from the local level;
  • Enhance ownership and promote sustainability of the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development at the local level;
  • Share best practices on mainstreaming gender in service delivery within the councils and communities.

The Centre of Excellence process arose due to a realisation that a difference can only be made at the local level if work is done by the local councils and community members. In 2003, Gender Links undertook a study called “Ringing up the Changes, Gender in Politics in Southern Africa”, which revealed that local government has been a neglected field. In 2006/2007 another study was carried out called “At the Coalface, Gender and Local Government” which covered four countries in Southern Africa. According to this study there were a few practical steps which had been taken to mainstream gender in local government and also to build the capacity of the councilors to lead the process of gender mainstreaming. This study was therefore, extended to 10 countries in Southern Africa and in March 2010, the very first Gender Justice and Local Government Summit and Awards were held. The summit collected evidence of institutional and individual initiatives to empower women to fully take part in ending gender violence, promoting gender equality and mainstreaming locally, nationally.

The COE process builds on the work which the councils have been doing for many years on developing and implementing gender policies and action plans through 10 stages. The district summits will be preceded by a workshop on Information technology (IT) and Strategic Communications (Stage 7 and 8 of the COE Process). These workshops will be held with councils that have developed and implemented gender and gender based violence (GBV) action plans.

Alliance partners in each country will form part of the summits to take stock of progress made in the implementation of the Protocol; and facilitate drafting a post 2015 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Partners will also act as judges at the summits. As September 2015 is the deadline for the current protocol, there is need to develop a post 2015 protocol that is need centered and relevant to all people, especially the marginalised. A Post 2015 protocol should not be prescribed at local government and community level but, must include the voices of the majority, the local people. Post 2015 overview and discussions will inform a process of drafting the Post 2015 SADC Protocol at local level. Alliance partners and country managers in each country will facilitate this. Alliance partners will also serve as judges during the summits. To fully document drafting sessions, snapshots of the proceedings in communities and within councils will be recorded and videos produced on what people at local government and community level want on the Post 2015 Agenda.

The district summit awards will be preceded by Stage 7 and 8 workshops (IT, media and advocacy) and presentations that show work done by councils towards gender mainstreaming. Follow-up monitoring and evaluation will also take place wherein councils will score themselves in the local government score card (stage nine), retake the knowledge quiz, attitudes quiz and citizen score card. Councils will share extensive evidence to support their work, which they will share in presentations and upload on an online database. Judges at the district summits will score the presentations. Their scores will be final and winners will go on to the national summit.

COE Stages covered during the DLS

Stage 7: Strategic Communications
The main objective of this stage is for the councils to have a deeper understanding on how the media works and how the media can help to advance the work on gender and development. Councils are encouraged to build a strong relationship with the media so that media can be used to market and raise awareness about their work. The campaigns councils carry out without media support are usually unsuccessful and have minimal impact even at community level. Campaigns need coverage in order for them to spread the intended messages so that necessary action can be taken. Councils are taught lobbying, advocacy and negotiation skills when they communicate needs for gendered service delivery, development in their councils and communities.

Stage 8: IT for Advocacy
The main objective of this stage is to encourage the council to use internet to spread advocacy campaigns messages. During 16 Days of Activism, internet can be used to share ideas and experiences with other councils inside and outside the country. Cell phones are also important in passing messages and councils are taught how to effectively use them.

Stage 9: Monitoring and evaluation
The District Summits are the most important participatory M and E exercise that GL undertakes every year. Summits assess themselves using the gender score card. They document in a narrative format what have been their main successes and challenges; who they have reached and what lives they have changed. They also gather supporting evidence of what they have done, for example minutes of council meetings, reports of gender campaigns, photos and videos. Most important, they document what resources – in cash and in kind – they are putting into work on promoting gender equality.

Target groups

  • Councils – COEs
  • Councillors (Female and male)
  • Gender Focal Persons
  • Gender Champions
  • IT and documentation officers
  • Local economic development officers
  • Social workers

Invitations to keynote presenters such as mayors, council chairperson will be sent out in advance. GL will provide a checklist to ensure that nothing is left out. The entries for the district summits will be restricted to the local government COE’s that have completed stages four and five of the COE process (they should have action plans) and implemented these plans in at least six months. Councils will be judged in four categories – winners and runners up in rural and urban councils.

Councils will be required to prepare and E Mail the following to the GL country office by 23 March:

  • Score card: Convene a meeting to update the local government score card (self- scoring). These score cards will be the main tool used by judges at the summits to verify scoring. GL will provide Councils with their latest score card to be updated ahead of the District Summits.
  • Application: Fill out the Institutional – Local Government Entry Form in word (see accompanying document).
  • Evidence: Gather the supporting evidence that goes with the application. If this is in hard copy or is too large to E Mail this should be brought to the summit.
  • Budget information: Note that one of the questions concerns
  • Power point: Prepare a draft of the power point presentation using the template provided.

Programme in a nutshell

Award categories:
Urban council: Winner; Runner up
Rural council: Winner; Runner up

Day one will feature Stage 7 and 8 (Strategic communication, Media and IT advocacy) workshops including uploading of the entries and PowerPoint presentations.

Day two of the summit will focus on presentations of achie vements to judges who will adjudicate based on evidence provided.

Day three will feature a discussion on the post 2015 SADC Protocol and awards in the four categories. The winners and runners up will proceed to the national summits as per Annex A.

Resources needed

  • Computers
  • Flash discs
  • Templates for PowerPoints and institutional profiles.
  • Local government score cards
  • Case studies


  • Updated institutional profile of councils.
  • Updated COE web pages.
  • Progress score in LG score card for each council.
  • Draft Post 2015 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development from the Local Level.
  • Capacity building for councillors and their officials on IT and documentation.
  • Best practices documented and shared between councils and districts.
  • List of winners from the district summit to the national summit.
  • Sex disaggregated data and gender budgets for COE councils.

Annex A: District level Summit and National Summits Schedule 2015

COUNTRY Number of Councils to DLS District Level Summits DLS Venues National Summits NLS Venues
Start Finish Start Finish  
Botswana 13 24 March 24 March TBC 05 May 07 May Gaborone
14 14 April 16 April TBC
Madagascar 18 22 March 24 March Fort Dauphin 10 June 12 June TBC
18 13 April 15 April Diègo
20 04 April 06 April Antananarivo
Namibia 12 06 April 09 April Walvis Bay 18 May 20 May Windhoek
12 20 April 23 April Mariental
12 23 April 26 April Ongwediva
Lesotho 18 07 April 09 April Northern 16 June 18 June Maseru
18 14 April 16 April Southern
Mauritius 12 13 April 15 April Cartre Bonne 19 June 21 June Grand Port
Zambia 14 15 April 17 April Livingston 27 May 29 May Lusaka
14 22 April 24 April Kitwe
Zimbabwe 22 15 April 17 April Mashingo 20 May 21 May Harare
21 28 April 30 April Manicaland
South Africa Pre-Summit Verification       18 May 20 May  
Mozambique Pre-Summit Verification       20 May 22 May  
Swaziland Pre-Summit Verification       29 May 31 May  

Annex B: Programme for the District Summits is as follows:

Verification, Documentation, capacity building, campaign Strategy and post 2015 agenda setting at local level.
Day one      
08.30 -9.30 Opening and objectives Mayor/GL Verification pack
9.30 -13.00 IT for advocacy training – uploading institutional profiles to the website and online M and E GL Summit manual; M and E pack
13.00 â € “ 14.00 LUNCH    
14.00 â € “ 17.00 Communication for social change training – Finalise presentations and Case Studies – ensure adequate evidence is provided. Councils Presentation templates
8.30 â € “ 9.00 Council 1 Judges Presentations
Institutional profiles
Files with evidence
9.00 â € “ 9.30 Council 2  
9.30 â € “ 10.00 Council 3  
10.00-10.30 Council 4  
10.30 -11.00 TEA  
11.00-11.30 Council 5  
11.30-12.00 Council 6  
12.00-12.30 Council 7  
12.30 -13.00 Council 8  
13.00 -14.00 LUNCH  
14.00 -14.30 Council 9  
14.30 -15.00 Council 10  
15.00-15.30 Council 11  
15.30-16.00 Council 12  
16.00 â € “ 16.30 Council 13  
16.30 -17.00 Council 14  
17.00 Judges meeting, scores Judges, GL staff
Day three      
8.00 -9.30 Overview Post 2015 agenda – draft Post 2015 SADC protocol: The SADC We Want! GL/Alliance Representatives Alliance Pack
9.30 -10.30 Cascading and sustaining the COE work – next steps for sustainability GL Next Steps Template
10.30-11.00 TEA    
11.00 -13.00 Awards – presenting winners    
Lunch & Departure