Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Glowing assessment for WALL project

29 January 2024

 

Some very positive results were revealed during the mid-term assessment of a CLGF project on women’s empowerment.

 

Funded by the European Union through CLGF’s Strategic Grant Agreement, WALL or Women As Local Legislatives is all about empowering women to stand for public office at local government level, and supporting them, once they are in office.   

Assessing effectiveness

The evaluation of the project part-way through the activities was an important part of the initial funding proposal. Carried out by the CLGF Regional Manager for Asia, Ms Anuya Kuwar, and the project consultant and Director of RSCD Mr Bhim Raskar. It looked at each stage of the project, in all three areas where it was implemented: the first location in the Indian State of Maharashtra, and latterly in the roll-out to the State of Gujarat and Bangladesh, even though each project was at a different stage of completion. As well as assessing the effectiveness of the project, the feedback was intended to detail what had worked well, the elements that had been difficult to implement, and any lessons learned for future projects.

For women, by women

The process revealed that the women liked the concept of working and learning together; being able to explore the different aspects of women in politics and comparing and sharing experiences; and the notion that this was developed FOR women BY women. With each of the project’s lessons, there was homework, or tasks to do, and this was also very popular as it provided a practical way to test what they had learned and then offer suggestions on possible modifications. The feedback helped to consider how the modules could be updated and the best resources and mechanisms to use. This will also inform plans to create a WALL academy to multiply the positive effects of the project.

Heart, head and hands 

Ms Anuya Kuwar said: “The project worked so well because the implementation was based on the Heart, Head, Hands approach, with the women applying their passion for local politics and their communities; their intelligence and skills; and the increased knowledge acquired by putting strategies into practice.”

 

As well as interviews, participants were asked to rate various aspects of the project from poor to excellent by standing on one of the ten spots created on the floor; they were then asked to say a little about their choice which meant that everyone was encouraged to express their views and felt listened to.

 

Practical challenges included the length of the course, as some preferred to work more intensively and finish the modules in a short space of time, while others wanted to work little and often. With a limit on the numbers of participants taking parts, the offer of training must be extended to all elected women in the villages.

Training manual 

In order to continue this important training to achieve better balance in politics for women, these learning outcomes were shared with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, India who expressed its interest in this training module and digital tools, including the WALL manual.

 

Ms Anuya Kuwar concluded: “The project formally ends in April but we are proud of the lessons learned and the materials produced. We hope this project may be extended to more women, including those in urban areas. It will certainly feed into the work of the Commonwealth Women in Local Government network, the CLGF initiative which is working with national and regional associations across the Commonwealth to empower women.”

Commitment to SDG5

CLGF Secretary-General Ms Lucy Slack added: "Congratulations to everyone involved in this project, including the participants. We are very grateful to the European Union for its invaluable support. Our communities will only be fully inclusive when we have gender parity in planning and decision-making. CLGF is committed to working with all our members to support women at every stage of local politics."

 

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