The PMI-WILL is able to reach its objectives thanks to FCM members who offer their time and expertise to support their peers overseas, including women elected officials, local governments, and their associations. With the second year of the project concluded, here is a snapshot of the involvement of Canadian municipal experts and elected officials in the project.
After being limited to virtual exchanges last year, the first overseas missions were launched in 2023. Two Canadian councillors had the opportunity to exchange with their counterparts: Councillor Kathy Jeffery from Collingwood, ON, supported the District Women’s Caucus of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), and Councillor Anik Des Marais from Gatineau, QC, met with women elected officials of the National League of Communes of the Kingdom of Cambodia (NLC). Councillor Jeffery provided training on developing a strategic plan to increase the number of women in local leadership through advocacy and communication, while Councillor Des Marais provided a training on roles and responsibilities.
Thanks to the involvement of representatives from Canadian Provincial and Territorial Associations of Municipalities, in person peer-to-peer exchanges and trainings were possible in Benin, Cambodia, and Ghana. As a result, the Benin National Association of Municipalities (Association nationale de communes du Bénin) drew up a catalogue of potential services to generate internal revenue via services provided to their members. NALAG received training on best practices for gender mainstreaming, inclusion and advocacy which will inform their strategic plan. In Cambodia, as part of efforts to develop capacity on gender equality and social inclusion for the NLC board and staff, particularly for newly elected board members, NLC participated in a training session on gender and advocacy. In parallel, virtual exchanges continue with the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) on sustainable revenue generation to strengthen LGAZ financially. We look forward to in person exchanges in Zambia in year 3!
PMI-WILL is reaching the end of its first full year of implementation. We want to sincerely thank our 13 Canadian partner municipalities (scroll down to see the list) for supporting 25 municipalities across the five countries where PMI-WILL operates. The project also benefited from the valuable input of six Canadian provincial and territorial associations (PTAs) who worked with five local government associations (LGAs). Finally, we are grateful for the help of five Canadian women elected officials from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec who guided a range of collaboration efforts with local networks of women office holders.
Through extensive consultations with local stakeholders, we identified that limited access to campaign financing and the gatekeeper role played by political parties are the main obstacles to women candidates’ ability to run for office. In addition, a lack of gender-responsive policies (flex hours) and services (child-care facilities) in local governments impede the progress of women working as municipal administrators.
That is why, starting in Cambodia and Sri Lanka, using in-person and virtual collaboration, we helped to organize training sessions for women municipal candidates. Participants developed skills such as public speaking and conflict resolution, while also learning the basics of campaign financing. In Cambodia alone, we trained 665 women, 84% of whom came from a rural setting, and 31% of whom were part of a marginalized group.
As we prepare for next year and beyond, we are dedicated to tackling the systemic barriers standing in the way of women’s full enjoyment of their human and political rights.
Stay tuned for updates from Benin, Ghana and Zambia in the coming months.
Local governments are responsible for a wide range of services that are essential to people’s daily lives. Many of the services deemed local in nature (sanitation, water provision, primary education, community health services, local transportation) impact women and girls the most. Local governments play a key role in ensuring equitable access to those services.
But municipal plans and services, such as infrastructure and security, often do not take patterns of women's movement and places of work into consideration, exposing them to increased risks to their health and safety, including gender-based violence.
Working to achieve gender parity on municipal counciIs and developing inclusive processes to assess citizens’ needs are proven measures that FCM has implemented in various settings and locations to tackle socio-economic disparities, help redress democratic deficits and improve gender equality. Along with our Canadian municipal experts, we are applying this peer-to-peer approach with partners in five countries in Africa and Asia.
The Partnerships for Municipal Innovation – Women in Local Leadership (PMI-WILL) is a six-year project (2021-2027) that is part of FCM’s portfolio of gender equality and women in local government initiatives. It is implemented in five countries: Benin, Cambodia, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Zambia.
The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada. It helps to achieve the goals of Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) by assisting “governments of developing countries to improve their ability to deliver programs that support gender equality at all levels of government and in all sectors.” By “supporting civic participation among groups disproportionately affected by poverty” it is also aligned with Canada’s Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA).
PMI-WILL aims to achieve two core objectives:
- Increasing women’s capacity to get involved and lead in local governance
- Increasing local governments' capacity to deliver inclusive, gender-responsive services
PMI-WILL is implemented in partnership with FCM’s member municipalities, provincial and territorial associations (PTAs), as well as in collaboration with Local Government Associations (LGAs) and key stakeholders in each of the five implementation countries. It is funded by the federal government through Global Affairs Canada.
We thank all the elected officials, the municipalities and the Provincial and Territorial Associations involved in the project for their ongoing support.