The chief technical advisor of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) for South and Eastern Africa, Dr. Mary Okumu, has urged governments to embrace gender at different levels to enable women effectively participate in the development of their countries.
Dr. Okumu is in the country to attend a three-day conference on Gender Equity Local Development (GELD), where five countries from Eastern and Southern Africa are sharing ideas on women’s equitable access to productive resources as well as achievement of the MDGs.
GELD is a joint programme of the UNCDF, UN Women, and UNDP designed to strengthen local governments in five countries to primarily fund small-scale investments in the poorest countries in the world.
It was established with the objective of helping to reduce poverty levels. The programme engages in development and microfinance. Member countries are Rwanda, Tanzania, Sierra -Leone, Senegal and Mozambique.
“What we need is for all women to be included in development processes of their countries. We are impressed that Rwanda serves as the best example in the world in women participation especially in parliament.”
She said GLED is supporting the vulnerable in Gicumbi and Rulindo districts where a health centre and houses for the disadvantaged people will be constructed.
Alexis Rugaju, the Director of Planning and Evaluation, commended the scheme attesting that it had changed women lifestyles.
He however added that the project should to be extended to other districts for all nationals to benefit.
At the end of the conference, participants are expected to come up with updated information and data progress, achievements, challenges, gaps and opportunities in GELD implementation among all five member countries.
The participants will also visit the two districts to assess the project.