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Political Empowerment of Women (in Local Government)

Despite provisions for Local Government in the 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh, genuine decentralisation, development and capacitation of local government remains limited. The enabling and relatively progressive regulations laid down in the Constitution and subsequent amendments are not fully applied in practice. Over the last decade there has been much interest in strengthening local government and the current Government has pledged continuing support for decentralisation reform. As such reforms are politically sensitive, progress is contested and consequently slow. Some progress has been made in terms of the political empowerment of women and elected women representatives are proving their value in raising the concerns of women and poor. This programme seeks to support elected women representatives and potential elected women representatives to develop further, represent their constituencies well and amplify women's voice so that women and poor can exercise their rights to information and local services.
This programme contributes to this development goal by focusing on women's political empowerment in particular on the role played by elected women representatives (EWR). The intervention logic suggests that building confidence, capacities and collective action among EWR and providing them with networks of support, advice and information will result in more attention being given to the concerns and issues of women and girls, as well as the poor in general, in policy and practice in public service delivery. It is premised on international research which indicates a correlation between active women in the political sphere and better development outcomes. It also addresses the need for more representational style politics where EWR are increasingly valued because they are responsive to community needs and priorities, make demands of service providers on their behalf and are accountable to their electorate for achievements in this regard. This approach challenges the patronage style of politics which currently prevails. EWR in this programme will be encouraged to enhance their engagement with citizens and with service providers to improve service delivery (software-processes) rather than concerning themselves with the direct distribution of benefits (hardware-relief, contracts, infrastructure etc).

The approach is expected to be transformational in that it will focus on putting knowledge into practice and changing attitudes, mind-set and practice.

Endorsing the SDC principle of working with existing organisations, the programme will continue to support and expand the networks of women elected members and other related networks which they have been instrumental in establishing as well as seeking linkage with other often scattered and isolated networks.

Goal : Rural and urban poor (especially women) in Bangladesh are getting information and enhanced , responsive and prompt local services.


Outcome 1: Elected Women representatives are accountable to their constituencies and together with potential future EWR and former EWR32 are collectively requiring gender and poverty sensitive practice in local service delivery.

Outcome 2: Provisions (legal framework incl. ordinance & directives) , political commitment and public opinion conducive for inclusion and participation of EWR (and potential EWR) and for promoting gender sensitive service provision at community level.

Outcome 3: Information,technical and advisory support for EWR valued, used and continuing.

Some Results Achieved till Today:

After successful completion of phase-I Democracywatch along with other ANGOs has started the APARAJITA phase-II. The aim of phase-II is to keep EWRs, P-EWRs and NAV in track of political empowerment in order to allow them participate in the upcoming local government election.

During the reporting period(December 2015- May 2016), 77 candidates contested from APARAJITA in Municipality election'15 for the position of councilor (reserve seat) where 26 candidates including 15 (52%) EWRs and 11 (38.8%) PEWRs elected. Only three (10%) of the elected women are outside from APARAJITA. Three women candidates from APARAJITA contested for Chairman position in UP Election 2016 and two of them have been elected. Ten candidates from APARAJITA contested for the member of general seat and two of them elected.

In UP election of 2016, 1248 candidates from APARAJITA contested in reserved seat and 340 persons have been elected which includes 44 (10.8%) EWRs, 295 (72.6%) PEWRs and 1 (0.2%) of them are from NAV. Only 66 (16.3%) of the total elected women are outside APARAJITA intervention. Most of the newly elected persons has not yet taken oath and they
did not get charge due to legal restriction.

A total of 13 news published in different Print and Electronic Media regarding key stakeholders' proactively influencing gender-discriminatory policies and laws.

106 government officials, 23 civil society representatives, and 3 members of local government association were present in the advocacy event at national level.

A total of 503 EWRs and PEWRs used Union Digital Center and 634 EWRs and PEWRs used Gender Resource Center of local office.

15 Eskaton Garden Road, Ramna, Dhaka 1000
For detail information please contact to the coordinator: 01711642346, 01711585736, 01717760550