Coun. Jenna Stoner and two District staff members will soon be headed to Zambia as part of an international program to empower female leaders and help local governments become more inclusive.
The trip, including travel insurance and any necessary travel vaccinations, is fully funded by Global Affairs Canada, a branch of the federal government that handles Canada’s diplomatic relations.
At its May 16 meeting, council unanimously endorsed the District's involvement in the project.
The Partnership for Municipal Innovation – Women in Local Leadership (PMI-WILL) is a six-year international partnership project that runs from 2021 to 2027.
It is co-ordinated by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
According to the District staff report, the Zambia project aims to increase women’s capacity to get involved and lead in local governance as well as increase local governments’ capacity to deliver inclusive, gender-responsive services.
The District was previously involved in a Jordan Municipal Support Project, which saw District CAO Linda Glenday head to Southwest Asia in 2019 to share her expertise with local government counterparts there.
This time, the District of Squamish and the City of Edmonton were paired with the Local Government Association of Zambia.
Through previous virtual meetings with Zambia’s counterparts, it was determined the Canadian contingent would work with Zambian officials on community engagement and communication.
“The District of Squamish has provided direct support in this area by helping to create a tool kit of public engagement tools and methods that can support gender diverse outreach and engagement,” reads the District report.
Next, two District of Squamish staff delegates will meet in Ottawa on June 14, for a project strategic planning meeting.
This trip is also fully funded by Global Affairs.
After that, there will be the trip to Zambia from June 23 to July 1, to deliver a “multiday workshop on gender-responsive service delivery and stakeholder engagement,” according to the District staff report.
For this, Stoner and the two delegates will attend.
The training will be held in Kasama with a number of local municipal governments and the other workshop will be held in Kafue, according to the staff report.
Stoner said she was “really excited” for this opportunity.
Mayor Armand Hurford noted that there would be opportunities within this project for other councillors to get involved in the future.
“I do think that councillor Stoner is uniquely situated to participate in this ... I think it is totally appropriate that ... you represent us and I know councillor Stoner will do a great job representing Squamish on the international stage," he told council.
Following the trips, there will be a staff report to council on what transpired and the progress made.
~With a file from Steven Chua/The Squamish Chief
Watch the council discussion below.