Addis Ababa, 8 October 2021 – The UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, in partnership with the Government of Canada, held a virtual certification ceremony on 20 September 2021 to award certificates to 24 participants for successfully completing the Gender Equality Seal (GES) for Private Sector audit training. Among the 24 participants, 13 individuals were certified as GES auditors.
Initiated in Africa in 2016, the GES Certification Programme for Private Enterprises is an innovative tool for organizations and businesses to reduce gender gaps, promote gender equality in the workplace and women’s economic empowerment, and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
“The GES Auditors have been equipped with the technical skills and knowledge to support the auditing of firms implementing the Gender Equality Seal for Private Sector initiative in Africa. This pool of competent auditors will support the certification of companies for successfully reducing gender gaps in the workplace,” said Mr. Stan Nkwain, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa.
The GES Certification Programme attests that an enterprise has adequately adopted the requirements for the systematic reduction of gender gaps in the workplace across seven specific areas: organizational management, selection and recruitment, professional development, salary, work-life balance, prevention of sexual and sex-based harassment, and communication.
Held between January and June 2021, the training equipped participants with the theoretical and practical knowledge to provide support in auditing firms implementing the GES in Africa. The training is in line with UNDP’s regional strategy to create a pool of competent GES advisors and auditors in the private sector and to support firms in implementing the Gender Equality Seal for the Private Sector in Africa. In his remarks, Mr. David A. Kibenge, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in Uganda, said “The training is a key contribution to the success of the GES Certification Programme in Africa and Uganda in particular.”
“As you carry out this work, you carry huge responsibilities to guide and provide gender equality standards to the private sector in Africa,” shared Ms. Nalan Yuksel, Deputy Director for Pan-Africa and Regional Development at the Embassy of Canada in Ethiopia.
The virtual gender equality audit training was rolled out by the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa with the technical support of the UNDP Regional Hub in Panama. The training convened participants from four Regional Economic Communities (IGAD, ECCAS, ECOWAS and SADC, four specialized audit institutions (PWC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG), and representatives from Uganda as a country at the stage of conducting external audit evaluations for private sector companies that have completed the implementation of different steps. The external audit is the last step before a company’s certification.
“It is important for private sector companies to be deliberate about gender responsiveness in their initiatives by closely examining issues to reinforce what is working and strategize what needs to change,” said Ms. Elsie Attafuah, UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda.
The ceremony was attended by 49 participants, including Ms. Nalan Yuksel, Deputy Director for Pan-Africa and Regional Development at the Embassy of Canada in Ethiopia; Mr. David A. Kibenge, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in Uganda; Mr. Francis Kisirinya, representing the Private Sector Foundation Uganda; Ms. Elsie Attafuah, UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda; and Mr. Stan Nkwain, Director of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa. The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and UNDP’s gender focal points.
Additionally, UNDP is rolling out and implementing the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions, a voluntary awarding programme that aims to support and recognize public institutions globally that commit to and improve on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. The internal GES process at UNDP recognizes good performance of UNDP Country Offices, Regional Service Centres and Regional Bureaux in delivering transformative results for gender equality.
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