FOCUS trains female candidates on public speaking skills

Female candidates in Karonga district have been challenged to articulate and practice issue based politics throughout the campaign period ahead of the May 21, 2019 tripartite polls if the country’s democracy is to grow.

Foundation for community support services (FOCUS) made the challenge Saturday during a training aimed at equipping female candidates with skills that would enhance their chances of winning in the forthcoming general elections through successful campaign, public speaking and dealing with cultural values.

Female candidates in a group photo after the training-Picture by Jordan Simeon-Phiri

Speaking to the press soon after the training, FOCUS 50:50 campaign project officer, Robert Silungwe said the training was planned with an objective of grilling the female candidates to instill confidence and skills that would enable them go to campaign against men who most of the times are advantaged in terms of public speaking kills.

“We noted gaps that were there in our female candidates in terms of public speaking, policy articulations and reporting to us some of the political violence against women that they face so in a nutshell we decided to impart some skills in these areas so that they should use during campaign,” he said.

Silungwe, however, asked political parties to do more to help various stakeholders who are campaigning for equal representation at both Local Government and Parliament level, saying these elections are a litmus test to our democracy and the whole 50:50 campaign as previous elections have failed to achieve this feat.

“I would like to plead with voters, traditional leaders and political parties to specifically support female candidates so that we do not put our democracy at crossroads. It is high time that Malawi as a country produced high numbers of representative in both the National Assembly and at Local Government elections,” Silungwe said.

Speaking on behalf of all female candidates, Peoples Party (PP) shadow Ward Councillor for Songwe Ward, Moshi Fundi hailed FOCUS for the timely training, saying it has come at the right time when the Malawi Electoral has just officially opened the campaign period.

“This training is a plus to us because skills learnt from here will go a long way in helping us in the field. We have learnt a lot of stuff that is useful. We are grateful to FOCUS for this,” Fundi said.

The 50:50 Management Agency (MA) through Action Aid with funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy is supporting the project in Karonga to the tune of K16-million which will benefit 23 female aspirants in the district.