On October 8, 2008 iKNOW Politics was presented to participants of the Club of Madrid Africa Women Leaders Forum in Brussels. Audience members included four former Heads of State, including H.E. Chandrika Kumaratunga, former president of Sri Lanka, as well as key women Ministers, Members of Parliament and civil society leaders from African countries.
The purpose of the conference was to build upon the results of a Club of Madrid project to support women political leaders in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda. During the conference, women leaders discussed the following topics:• The need for networkingand coalition building• leadership skills• affirmative action• engaging women in peace and security systems• implementing international legal frameworks• transforming attitudes toward women in the media iKNOW Politics moderated the session on Networking, Coalition-Building and Caucusing, in which the participants agreed that politics is not a zero-sum game and women need to work together rather than to view one another as competitors.During the closing dinner, iKNOW Politics Project Manager, Anita Vandenbeld, presented the features of the network, and iKNOW Politics experts Winnie Byanyima and Drude Dhalerup gave personal testimonials about the usefulness of such a global network. Winnie Byanyima, who is a former MP from Uganda, spoke from personal experience about how internet networking can provide a safety net when you or someone in your family is targeted for political reasons. The participants responded very positively to iKNOW Politics, and plan to continue the dialogue through a discussion circle “African Women’s Political Leadership”, on the iKNOW Politics website.