Workshop on COMESA Gender Policy Implementation Plan and Gender Planning Guidelines Convenes

Haffiya Abdalla 

Khartoum — Gender and Social Affairs Division in the COMESA Secretariat exists to promote and provide leadership, direction, and oversight towards the achievement of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE), Youth Empowerment, and Social and Cultural Development in the Member States, at the Secretariat and in COMESA Institutions.

The Division sets out to achieve this purpose through promotion of the implementation of the COMESA Gender Policy, Gender Mainstreaming, Advocacy, and Capacity Building, implementation of the COMESA Health Framework, HIV and AIDS Policy, COMESA Youth Programme, COMESA Social Charter, Council Decisions, and targeted initiatives to advance women and youth.

Sudan Ministry of Social Development, General Directorate of Women in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) organized on Wednesday a workshop on COMESA gender policy implementation plan and gender planning guidelines in Kanon Hotel 

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Development, Gamal El-Nile Abdallah praised the Sudanese women’s contribution to the December revolution in making a change and their participation in the country’s development.

Gamal El-Nile added that the workshop is very important for integrating gender policies based on gender equality in all policies and programs in a scientific manner. 

“I appreciate the efforts by COMESA to serve women’s issues “.

Acting Director of the General Directorate of Women at the Ministry of Social Development, Wedad Abdullah said that COMESA has implemented gender policies for all member states of the organization, adding that Sudan has been working on spreading policy, raising awareness, and discussing all the goals set.

The workshop discussed several important topics related to women’s issues, including the COMESA gender policy, the implementation program, and the COMESA Social Charter. 

Wedad stated that she appreciated the efforts being exerted by COMESA towards African countries.

Beatrice Hamusonde Director- Gender & Social Affair said that the workshop is an opportunity to discuss with stakeholders in Sudan, and to stand on the policies agreed upon by the organization. She noted that social diversity must be integrated according to the agreement, which contributes to quality between men and women for equality and justice through the empowerment of women. 

She added that there is a charter for social development in the member states to sustain social development. And pledged to work to download the organization’s policies on the ground

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat and the European Union (EU) signed a Grant contribution agreement for the Regional Enterprise Competitiveness and Access to Markets Programme (RECAMP) in November 2019.

The actual implementation of the program commenced on 1 January 2020 intending to align the program implementation with the financial calendar of the COMESA secretariat, Beatrice said.

The workshop recommended that to disseminate gender policy and planning and to develop strategies and policies and to review national legislation and laws on women’s rights and align them with relevant regional and international treaties and charters to enable women to access decision-making positions, conducting consultations on the COMESA gender policy at the level of member states to know the priorities of each country to be taken into account during implementation, raising awareness for decision-makers, training and capacity building of workers in the areas of planning, budgets, follow-up, and evaluation. 

To activate training, awareness, and education programs for women to increase their knowledge of economic systems (labor laws, finance, project management, skills development) and help them by opening marketing windows at the local and regional levels.

Activating the role of the media in dissemination, advocacy, introducing the concept of gender, and preparing societies to accept changes and reduce the impact of social patterns, activating the role of civil society organizations as an authentic partner in implementing gender policies and assisting state mechanisms in forming social groups and networks that advocate gender issues, designing and implementing economic programs and projects for women in the informal sector.

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