Women and the Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) with the support of funding from the European Union (EU) is hosting a Paralegal Training on Gender Responsive / sensitive Electoral Processes in Eswatini. The training is running for 5 days started on 22 – 25 June 2020 and forms part of a series of activities to be spearhead by WLSA aimed at promoting women participation in decision making. The initiative is in accordance to Constitution of Eswatini which provides for gender equality in all spheres of life, economically, politically, socially and culturally.
Women participation in decision making is also the corner stone of the Sustainable Goals 2030, Goal 5 which calls countries to empower women and girls and ensure their full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life in order to realise sustainable development. Paralegals are based at community level and work with WLSA in conducting the community dialogues on legal and policy related issues that affect the advancements of rights of women in different areas.
As women form half of the population in the country, their voice and opinions are important when decisions are being made that will affect their families, children, homes, businesses, jobs and lives in general. It has been established through the research that WLSA and other partners have conducted that women are still a few in leadership positions in spite of the commitments that have been made through national laws such as the Constitution which commits 30% and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and African Union Protocol on Women’s Rights (Maputo Protocol) which clearly provides that there should be equal representation of men and women (50%) representation in all positions of decision making. Eswatini has made progress in some sectors but is still lagging behind in some sectors which means that a lot still needs to be done to ensure that women are included and decision making in churches, workplace, schools, boards responsible for taking critical decisions at community, regional and national level.
The paralegals are being trained in accordance to the COVID 19 rules and are also empowered on how to respond to COVID 19 effects in their communities in particular issues of involving women at all level even at community level.