NEW GLASGOW — More than 20 students from the Coady International Institute visited town council chambers recently to learn about municipal government.
The students were accompanied by Naima Imam Chowdhury, women’s leadership and gender specialist for the institute’s International Center for Women’s Leadership. They were in Nova Scotia for several weeks as part of their training in the countries they come from in African and Asia.
Among them were Sarah Nakato from Uganda and Rachael Ayikwei from Ghana, who presented gifts to Mayor Nancy Dicks and CAO Lisa MacDonald.
Nakato is a banker with Barclays Bank of Uganda, Ltd.
“I’m a gender equality activist and offer financial literacy training to women and youth in my community with an aim of economic empowerment,” she said.
Ayikwei said she devotes her time and energy to empowering young girls and creating a “safe space for girls to express their fears and challenges.”
Dicks and MacDonald opened the hour-long session with comments about the unique challenges municipal governments face, including the low level of discretionary spending.
Dicks discussed what drew her to municipal politics after retiring from school teaching.
“This is like going back to school,” she said. “There is so much to learn. You rely so much on your staff.”
MacDonald talked about the town’s emphasis on activity as a way to improve human health, making all buildings accessible and combating climate change.
The countries African students come from include Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Egypt.
The Asian students come from Afghanistan and Iraq.