GITEGA March 19th (ABP) – Representatives of elected women, including parliamentarians, members of communal and village councils, as well as representatives of women’s civil society organizations, are adopting a strategy of making the most of their opportunities for greater women’s representation in decision-making bodies of 2020.

Those women leaders from five provinces of the central-eastern region of Gitega, Muramvya, Karusi, Ruyigi and Cankuzo adopted that strategy on Friday March 15, 2019, at the end of an exchange of ideas on appropriate strategies to increase the participation of women and girls in decision-making bodies. That two-day forum was organized by the Burundi Repatriated Women’s Association (AFRABU), in collaboration with the Parliamentary Women’s Association (AFEBU) and with the support of Cordaid. It was part of the implementation of the Advocacy project to take into account the concerns of communities, said Marie Concessa Barubike, coordinator of AFRABU.

Among the opportunities that Burundian women should make more profitable for greater participation in the elective bodies include their numerical majority in the electoral population. As an illustration, the speaker indicated that in the 2015 elections, women represented a rate of 51.1% and men 48.8%. In the constitutional referendum of 2018, women enrolled reached 52, 4% and men 47, 6% of the electoral population, the speaker continued to say. Nevertheless, the representation of women in the National Assembly reached a rate of 36% in the five provinces of the center-east, through the use of cooptation. Female representation was low in the 2015 village elections. Women’s candidacies had a percentage of 21.85% and male candidacies had 78.15%. Female village or neighborhood leaders had a percentage of 6.39%. Women’s representation is still low in the nominated technical positions, speakers said.

To increase women’s representation in the 2020 elections, women and girls leaders agreed to promote positive solidarity by encouraging women to higher political party membership and more active and competitive participation in political activities. They also recommended women to elect and be elected. Women should also support each other by electing reliable candidates who come forward. Participants also recommended updating the electoral code and the law on political parties to bring them into line with the new constitution.

To address the challenges of poverty and lack of resources that inhibit many women and girls from participating in politics, participants recommend that women and girls continue to join producer associations and cooperatives. Women and girls should also internalize laws that stipulate the promotion of women’s rights.

At the closing, the Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Women’s Association, Ms. Godeberthe Hatungimana, invited the participants to convey those strategies and recommendations for increased female participation in the 2020 elections.

On his part, the socio-cultural adviser of the governor of Gitega said that the government spares no effort to promote the rights of women and girls.

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