Legislative Leaders Workshop, Cape Town, South Africa

February 1-4, 2010, NCSL conducted a Legislative Leaders Workshop for South Africa’s provincial female legislative leaders as Phase III of NCSL's Active and Responsive Citizenship: Empowering Women Policymakers Program. The Honorable Senator Leticia Van de Putte (TX), The Honorable Senator Spencer W. Coggs (WI), Ms. Peggy Kerns, Director of NCSL’s Center for Ethics in Government, Mr. Bruce Feustel, Senior Fellow of NCSL’s Legislative Management, and Ms. Maggie Lamborn of the International Programs department facilitated the program. Please click here to view the biographies of the faculty. The workshop took place in Cape Town, South Africa at the Western Cape Provincial Parliament for female members from the provincial legislatures as well as many members, both female and male, and staff leadership of the Assembly of the Western Cape. Please click here to view the attendee roster.

Ethical Challenges SessionFeedback from participants has been glowing of the experience and an increased knowledge and skills from their participation. The workshop focused on building essential leadership skills for the members. Specific topics discussed include: constituent services, civic engagement, effective committee work, media strategies, ethical challenges, legislator and leadership skills, working with parliamentary staff, and overcoming South Africa’s challenges. The U.S. Consulate in Cape Town took part in the workshop as well, hosting a reception and gracing the attendees with unforgettable remarks by the Consul General Alberta Mayberry. (To view these remarks, please click here.) This workshop was the final phase of the three year exchange program. The unique legislative exchange program has:

  • Encouraged greater participation of women in government, advocacy groups, and civil society organizations;
  • Raised awareness of women’s issues and provide strategies to positively affect change in the political process;
  • Enhanced professional skills of women legislators; and
  • Developed leadership capacity to initiate legislation as well as motivate and empower other women in the political process.

To see additional pictures of the workshop, please click here. Please click here to see NCSL’s previous work on this program and here to view a slideshow depicting the strong relationship between NCSL and the South African Provincial Legislatures over the years.

As this program draws to a close, the need for continued exchanges and communication between our two countries remains. This women’s legislative strengthening program has been a great success and served as a platform for legislative strengthening and policy development in both the U.S. and South Africa. NCSL's program has expanded upon the decade-long linkages between the U.S. state legislatures and their South African equivalents, strengthening, reinforcing and deepening our relationship. While the institutional relationships remain between NCSL, our Women’s Legislative Network, and the South African legislatures, there is still much to do and the new leaders are ready to engage on these issues. NCSL looks forward to continuing to be a part of this work in the future.



Updated February, 10, 2010