Source: All Africa
A workshop to promote women's participation in politics kicked-off in Douala yesterday.

In order to involve more women in politics and decision-making processes, the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, started a three-day workshop yesterday, October 22, 2014, in Douala on the theme: "Promoting the Participation of Women in Politics in Central Africa."

Representing ECCAS's Secretary General, the Head of Gender Services at ECCAS, Isabelle Bouleinda, underscored the need for women to start preparing now towards the 2018 political campaigns in Cameroon instead of waiting for the eve. "The participation of women in the life of a nation is a democratic challenge that has to be lifted by them as they make up more than half of ECCAS population," she highlighted. ECCAS' principle of equality, she noted, has to be implemented to the letter for women's voices and prowess to be felt in the political arena.

After mentioning that the equal participation of women in the political life of a country is fundamental and a condition for a sustainable development, she was optimistic that though the challenges were enormous, women will overcome. "Women have a fundamental role to play in bringing peace and ensuring security in the Central African sub-region, which is plagued by the crisis in the Central Africa Republic as well as Boko Haram attacks and the activities of other militias," said the representative of the Resident Representative of the United Nations Office for Central Africa, Sherwin Das. Violence, he said, has never put an end to electoral crises.

To Cyrille Zogo Ondo, Programme Specialist on Peace and Security at La Francophonie, harped on the fact that training and sensitising women will boost their participation in politics. Yvette Ngwevilo Rekangalt, former presidential candidate in Gabon's 2009 elections, described womenfolk as good managers and advisers, who, if given the opportunity, could help end poverty in the sub-region. Since women make up more than half of ECCAS' population, they play an important socio-economic role. They should not only be voters, but candidates as well. She urged them to strive to be Prime Ministers and Heads of State for better development.

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