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COMESA has begun building the capacity of its staff and member States to mainstream Gender in regional integration programmes. The first Training of Trainers workshop started Monday 6 June 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya and focused on four member States including Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Swaziland and COMESA professional staff.

The training covers key issues in the gender mainstreaming including planning/budgeting, implementation, monitoring and reporting, as well as documenting good practices and success stories. Participants will be trained on how to identify gaps in gender equality through the use of sex-disaggregated data; analyzing the underlying causes; developing strategies to close those gaps; putting resources and expertise into implementing strategies for gender equality; monitoring implementation; and holding individuals and institutions accountable for results.

Principal Secretary in the Kenya’s Ministry of Devolution and Planning Eng. Peter Mangiti opened the training who stressed the need for ownership and coordination of programmes by all involved bodies since the issue cuts across all sectors.

In a speech delivered by Ms Emily Opati from the Directorate of Gender Affairs, Eng Mangiti said COMESA Council of Ministers have approved different policies and implementation tools to promote gender equity and equality in the COMESA core programs and projects.

“Mainstreaming of gender will ensure women and men in the region equitably benefit from the regional economic integration agenda,” he observed.

COMESA has developed and approved COMESA Gender Policy and Gender Mainstreaming Action Plan and oversees its implementation by different Member States and at the Secretariat level.

Director of Gender and Social Affairs in COMESA Secretariat Mrs Beatrice Hamusonde told the delegates that COMESA Treaty requires the Secretariat and Member States to advance Gender Equality and the Empowerment as a legal and policy matter.

“At COMESA both at Secretariat and Member State, we aim to integrate gender considerations at all levels of programming, policies and systems as provided for in the COMESA Gender Policy.