Women as Leaders
“People in my island have this assumption that from a religious and social perspective, having a woman heading things will lead to no good. This is difficult for me to hear, but it will not stop me.” – Aishath Naazly, President, Rasgetheem Council.
When Aishath Naazly first attended a workshop (supported by UNDP in collaboration with a coalition of NGOs and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives), targeted at women councillors a few years back, she had just started campaigning for a seat in her island’s Council. “Now, we are elected, and are attending this forum with responsibilities on our shoulders,” says Naazly, a participant at the recent UNDP-organized Forum for Women Councillors.
- Naazly attended the first workshop organized by UNDP, targeted at contesting women councillors a few years back.
- She participated at the subsequent workshop, 'Forum for Women Councillors', as an elected official.
- Naazly says that one of the most important lessons learnt at the Forum for Women Councillors is to be more assertive and to say no when the occasion calls for it.
- The forum presented the opportunity to properly connect with women council members from across the country.
“At that first workshop, I got inspiration for my campaign slogan ‘Empowering Women’, which led to me contesting with 17 others on my island, majority of them men, and coming in first in the polls. Now I am President of the Island Council,” says a beaming and determined Naazly.
Naazly says that one of the most important lessons learnt at the Forum for Women Councillors is to be more assertive and to say no when the occasion calls for it. “In the forum we learnt that contrary to popular belief held by our communities, we can contribute on the same level as men. It has shown us the way to go forward, even with the challenges we face,” says Naazly, who is grateful for the support she receives from her husband, as well as her fellow council members as she carries out the demanding and complex responsibilities as the President of the Council.
She also appreciates the opportunity presented at the forum to properly connect with not only women council members from across the country, but the Local Government Authority actors, opening up the avenue to maintain more productive networks with these key actors in the long run.
Naazly, who prior to attending the forum had just wrapped up discussions at her council on a proper building code to maintain Rasgetheem island’s facade, is intent on passing on the knowledge she has acquired at the forum to her community, and educate them on the significant and essential role women can play in development.
“There are still people who think that a woman’s work and role is not valid. I am here to change that,” the mother of one says.
- MEET THE TEAM TUESDAY “I am inspired by the work done by communities” AHMED HAMDHAN Project Coordinator, Rule of Law and Access to Justice - Integrated Governance Programme I have always been passionate about development work, despite my skepticism for certain approaches by international organizations in developing countries. It was only natural therefore that when I joined UNDP nine months ago, I did so being cynical of the role of UNDP and the impact of its programmes in the Maldives. However, as I leave UNDP at the end of this month, I am more than ever convinced of the crucial role that UNDP plays in making a difference in people’s lives. I am especially encouraged by the work the agency does in seeking localized solutions to development issues through new and innovative approaches. Governance is and have always been my passion, and my main area of work. Since joining UNDP, I have also developed a new found interest in the environment. I was inspired by the work done by the local community of Noonu Kudafari, especially their work on waste management. I am from the island of Kendhoo in Baa Atoll, and as in other islands of the Maldives, waste management has always been a major issue in my local community. Kendhoo already had a composting facility which remained unused, and the Council was very positive about starting composting waste on the island. I came to know that they just needed the technical know-how and the motivation to initiate this work. So myself and my colleague Adam Abdulla who works in UNDP’s Environment Unit, travelled to Kendhoo one weekend, and were able to help the Council start composting work. Since then, we have traveled several times to monitor the progress of the composting facility on my island. There’s still more work to be done, and I look forward to continuing the work we have started in this area. We did this not as part of our official duties, but because we found a shared passion in helping to bring about positive changes within our communities, and I can honestly say that this is true for all the staff working at UNDP Maldives. My regular job is as a Project Coordinator for the Integrated Governance Programme of UNDP Maldives, and I am responsible for the design and implementation of activities related to enhancing access to justice and protection of human rights in the Maldives. Before joining UNDP, I worked at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), focused on electoral reforms in the Maldives. Yesterday AT 07:11 AM
- We are helping Maldivian communities establish good waste management practices in the islands. Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development - LECRD Project. L.Maamendhoo Council Monday AT 09:56 AM
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