Women from 15 Municipalities Strategize for Advocacy

Gender Equality Advocacy Groups (GEAG) from 15 different municipalities participated in the second workshop “Women Advocate at Local and Central Levels,” which took place on Jun. 26-27 at Hotel Arxhena, located in the beautiful mountains of Brod, Dragash. GEAGs bring together women in municipal assemblies and KWN member organizations for joint advocacy towards gender equality at the municipal level. 
     In the first session, moderated by KWN Executive Director Igballe Rogova, participants reported on the status of their joint advocacy campaigns in their respective municipalities. Campaigns targeted issues that they had identified during the previous GEAG meeting in Durres. Even though GEAG members planned to achieve their advocacy aims by the end of 2014, most municipalities already had achieved their aims as of June.
     “It’s very good that we have achieved success in our advocacy efforts earlier than we planned, but this doesn’t mean that we will stop identifying new issues and advocating for them during the remainder of the year,” said a participant.
     The workshop involved two sessions, led by inspirational speaker Shqipe Malushi, involved “Empowerment and Positive Thinking – from the Impossible to Realization.”
     “This session was very much needed and useful for us,” said a participant. “Considering the everyday routine and challenges we face, we definitely needed someone to remind us to ‘get back’ to being positive and to show us useful techniques for doing that.”
     The second day of the workshop began with a session on gender responsive budgeting led by Nicole Farnsworth, KWN Program Manager. She shared a very simple methodfor gender responsive budgeting, which KWN has used in close cooperation with the Municipality of Kamenica and Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
     “We all agree that the fact that the Budget Circular 2015/01 for Municipalities encourages gender responsive budgeting is good news,” a participant said. “Now we will use indicators with a gender perspective to measure the impact of the budget on women and men’s lives.”
     During the final session, led by Igballe Rogova, participants planned future steps for GEAGs. Supporting GEAGs is part of KWN’s efforts to implement its Strategic Plan, which includes the important goal of increasing women’s participation in politics and decision-making. KWN believes that active participation will be possible only via cooperation and joint advocacy on issues that women consider important at local and national levels.
GEAGs bring together women in politics and women in civil society in efforts to advocate for women’s rights and gender equality at the municipal level. This activity was supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).