January 26, 2023     cib    

Visiting Tunisia, a Delegation from the National Association of Benin Municipalities was inspired by the Inclusive Municipal leadership Project’s tools for gender inclusivity and youth engagement enhancement.

In November 2022, a delegation from the National Association of Benin Municipalities (ANCB) participated in the closing event of the Inclusive Municipal Leadership Project (PLMI) implemented in Tunisia by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and CILG-VNG with funding from the Canadian government. ANCB is implementing a similar project with five municipalities in Benin and was inspired by seeing the results of local strategies to promote women's leadership and social inclusion with local actors.

Six Tunisian communes built their capacity in gender equality in decentralization and local governance, inclusive local development, interpersonal communication, local advocacy, and leadership. Each commune developed its own unique gender-responsive project including the construction of a vegetable market, the adaptation of a sports hall to include a children's area, and the opening of a women- and child-friendly beach. Innovative children’s councils introduced young people to the social problems in their community. The project revitalized a national consultative group bringing together government agencies, civil society, parliamentarians and multilateral organizations, to coordinate and monitor the efforts of Tunisian actors in promoting gender equality in local government.

ANCB learned the importance of remaining resilient and innovative in all circumstances. During Covid-19 the ANCB project officers adopted new ways to continue activities while working at a distance, through videoconferences, etc. PMLI demonstrated with convincing results that it is possible to strengthen inclusive local development. More women, youth and children now participate in the life of their community thanks to the project initiatives. Women have more self-confidence to speak in public and more women were elected as municipal councillors and as mayors. Inspired by PMLI, ANCB will select women from across Benin for campaign training for upcoming local elections. And we hope to pilot the children’s municipal council to let youth experience managing municipal affairs early-on!