West Africa: UNFPA WCARO has concluded a partnership agreement with the Ecobank Foundation to strengthen the leadership and financial management capacity of the SWEDD project

Dakar, July 1st, 2019 - The resource mobilization strategy of the Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend of the Sahel (SWEDD) project is already bearing fruit. In a prelude to a July 6 resource mobilization roundtable in Niamey, under the patronage of President Mahamadou Issoufou, the United Nations Population Fund for West and Central Africa (UNFPA WCARO), which coordinates the SWEDD project, has officially partnered with the Ecobank Foundation to build the capacity of member countries.

Thirty experts from SWEDD partner countries will start today for a five-day training workshop on leadership and financial management at the Ecobank Academy in Lomé.

“The training will enable experts to further enhance their financial management, procurement management and enhancement of auditing skills,, as well as their behavioral skills necessary for the effective implementation of the SWEDD project and beyond. The most difficult and most rewarding task will be not only to apply the acquired knowledge and valuable methodologies, but even more to share them with their collaborators once you have returned to their respective countries. For this reason, part of the training program that is being offered will also focus on improving your ability to deliver cascading training and manage stakeholder relationships." adds Rose Gakuba, Acting Head of UNFPA Country Office, representing the UNFPA WCARO Regional Director and the SWEDD Regional Coordinator at the opening ceremony.

This world-class program is designed to make a lasting impact, unleashing the leadership and strategic potential of experts working to transform and empower communities across the continent. We believe that not only will graduates of this program become more effective in their current roles, but they will also become ambassadors for young and future leaders in Africa," explain Simon Rey, the Director of the Ecobank Academy and Carl Manlan, the Operations Director of the Ecobank Foundation.

The SWEDD project aims to foster the development of its member countries by empowering women and girls. Funded by the World Bank, US$80 million was allocated to 19 sub-projects to improve the autonomy of women and girls, empower women economically, promote the education of girls, and reduce the number of child marriages. The Ecobank partnership will support the scaling up of the community interventions that comprise the lion’s share of the SWEDD project, the complexity of which resides in its regional character. Indeed, the seven member countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad) follow different financial procedures. Good governance and leadership in the financial implementation of the programs are prerequisites for sustainable and inclusive development in Africa.

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Contact UNFPA WCARO | Celine Adotevi: adotevi@unfpa.org

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