By Salim Dawood
Representative of the Local Government Associations of Zambia Isaac Zulu shared tips with female councilors on how they can be effective leaders.
Female councilors from Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe have gathered in the Zambian capital Lusaka for a three-day regional councilors meeting to share ideas on how they can be more effective leaders as well as increase women’s participation in leadership roles.
The conference themed: “Creating regional learning networks towards achieving gender equality in local government” has been convened by HIVOS, under the women empowered for leadership programme, who by this hope to promote equal and meaningful participation of women in decision making.
The meeting is expected to tackle a wide range of issues including lobbying, financing, support mobilization for females in or vying for leadership positions and the challenges they may face and and how to deal with them.
Zulu was one of the speakers at the summit which ends Thursday evening.
He told the councilors that knowledge of the wards they represented and the problems therein was the first thing to effective local government leadership.
He urged the councilors to frequently interact with people in their wards to hear their problems first hand.
"You need to interact with your people. Some of you are alien to your wards. Sometimes, people don't need money. They just need that interface, that interaction. Get to know what is happening, what is prevailing in the ward," Zulu advised.
He explained that frequent physical interactions would create strong linkages between councilors and residents such that even if their parties decided not to adopt them during elections, the people will speak for them.
Further, Zulu urged the councilors to improve on their academic qualifications and be knowledgeable on how to lobby for development.
He stressed that personal development in terms of education earns people's respect and that would in turn make it easy for them to get an audience with key partners of development.
The Zambian minister of gender Elizabeth Phiri opened the conference on Tuesday morning with a message of encouragement for the participants.
Phiri hoped that the conference will impact positively in addressing the challenges that hinder women from participating in politics.