Local chapter of Refela elected

WALVIS BAY - Walvis Bay Deputy Mayor, Penelope Martin-Louw has been elected as the first chairperson of the Refela Erongo regional chapter.

Anna Hamutenya, the deputy mayor of Henties Bay, was elected the vice chairperson while Monalisa Karimbue from Karibib is the treasurer.

Refela is a network of women elected officials in local governments of Africa. The network was launched in Morocco in 2011 and has an executive board of 15 members representing the five regions of Africa.

The aim of Refela is, fight against all forms of gender-based violence against African women and girls.

Martin-Louw who was not only excited but grateful for the opportunity said, I thank God for the blessing. I want to thank you all for the confidence you have in me to serve. I will serve my community to the best of my ability.

Martin-Louw who is also the founder of the Janet Martin Charity Foundation said, Women empowerment is my passion. I will fight to eradicate the abuse of women and children.

At the event, Councillor Maria Elago, the Deputy Mayor of Swakopmund, who serves as the Vice Commissioner of Refela in Namibia stated that Refela is important because it sees gender as a cross cutting issue in its programme and it recognizes the positive relationship between good governance, gender equality and poverty reduction. Overall, the platform is a great opportunity to promote mutual understanding on the topics of women in local government networks and decentralization process, said Cllr Elago.

Speaking at the same event, Professor Shahin delivered a presentation on the importance of the role of women in leadership.

Shahin believes women are suppressed and have a ceiling in terms of leadership roles in various institutions. Educating the girl child can play a role in establishing equality in our societies. Empowerment is acquired and not inherited. Education plays a key role in its development.

Promoting better participation of women in local and regional governance and strengthening locally elected women leaders' capacity and to develop women to better handle their roles as elected councillors, are but a few of the objectives for Refela.

The elected officials will form part of the United Cities and Local Government of Africa (UCLGA) under which Refela falls.

The meeting was held at Swakopmund Municipality's chamber.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia