Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal

Celebrating 10 years of the Network of Locally Elected Women in Africa

The Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), one of the largest women’s representative bodies in the world, is celebrating its 10th anniversary at the the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Daejeon. 

During the celebratory moment, the Mayor of the City of Banjul, The Gambia, and President of REFELA, Rohey Malick Lowe, has expressed her gratitude to those who have supported, guided, and mentored REFELA leaders over the past 10 years, enabling it to grow into the powerful network it is today. 

She also called for continued efforts to promote women to political leadership positions, noting that this is one of the most effective ways to influence the achievement of gender equality in Africa. For this purpose, REFELA works to promote the implementation of the Charter of Local Governments for Gender Equality in Africa, which aims to increase the participation of women in decision-making processes in the various political bodies. 

Other speakers joined the session to celebrate the anniversary and to encourage the Network to continue its work. Jean Pierre Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, stressed that “women are game changers” and Taneen Rudyk, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), reminded event attendees that “feminism is about many things; most importantly, it is about reshaping power towards more equitable and just societies.” REFELA was founded in 2011 at the first Forum of Locally Elected Women of Africa, held in Tangier in the Kingdom of Morocco. REFELA brings together women mayors and local elected representatives at the continental level, and consolidates their voices for the promotion of gender-responsive local governance. Their vision is building gender parity, inclusivity, and gender-sensitivity at the local level in Africa. The Network will continue to further its goal of cultivating a continent where gender equity prevails and where communities mobilize to protect vulnerable children and to ensure territorial inclusiveness.