The Labour WFD Programme in Africa and Middle East in 2023


The Labour WFD Programme in Africa and Middle East in 2023

Alongside the programmes we directly implement, WFD supports the international work of UK political parties, including the Labour Party, which is working to support women’s leadership in Africa and the Middle East.
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Through the Labour Party WFD programme, Labour supports bilateral projects with like-minded parties across regions and builds regional and thematic networks. The overall goal of the programme is to create stronger social democratic parties and actors to enable them to function and participate in multi-party-political systems. Additionally, to build strong regional networks through the sharing of best practice and skills training.  

The key focus of the programme is on working with women and young people – two groups that are often overlooked and marginalised in political processes. The Labour WFD programme is predominantly implemented   in sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, Southeast Europe, and the Middle East.  

In early 2023, the programme implemented two crucial activities in Africa and the Middle East.  

  1. Training of trainers’ workshop 

In February 2023, the Labour Party organised a training of trainers’ event in Beirut, Lebanon. There were 27 women present at the training, representing parties from Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan. The event was hosted in partnership with Tha’era – the Arab women’s network for parity and solidarity. 

The two-day workshop focused on women’s political leadership and participants were provided with training on advocacy, lobbying skills, implementation of campaigns, effective political communications, negotiation, and analysis of organisational cultures and practices within political parties that are barriers to their political participation. The participants revealed that they would use and share the lessons learnt with their respective parties to upskill other women.  

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Group picture of participants at the Training of Trainers meeting, Beirut 2023.
  1. Evaluation of training workshops for women  

In March 2023, the Women’s Academy for Africa (WAFA) – a regional network that improves the skills and confidence of women activists from social democratic parties in Africa – conducted an evaluation activity in Uganda. An external consultancy (Hope 2020) was contracted to oversee the activity. There were 30 female members from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Uganda in attendance. These participants had been present at the 2019 national training workshops in the WAFA East region. One of the objectives of the March 2023 evaluation activity was to ascertain the knowledge that the participants had retained following the 2019 workshops.

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WAFA evaluation activity participants during a workshop session.

Aside from the survey, there were two further meetings as part of the evaluation: a focus group with the participants on their thoughts and feelings about the training, and a session with three key SDP leaders.  

A woman who took part in the evaluation said, “WAFA trainings have built self-confidence in us…it has built our morale in participating in politics.” 

The discussion with SDP leaders was a fact-finding exercise to find out how many women currently hold positions in the party. It also sought to find what support and quotas are currently in place to facilitate women’s political leadership within the party.

After the evaluation, Hope 2020 submitted a 19-page evaluation report to the Labour Party. The report describes the WAFA women’s political leadership participant selection, training process, successes, outlines the quiz, and survey results, and recommends that further trainings should be carried out for women ahead of local elections, and on management skills. Upon taking into consideration all the above, the evaluation concluded that the WAFA workshops had achieved an overall positive impact.

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