UNIFEM, Honiara- The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM Pacific Regional Office) ends the Train the Facilitator’s (TtF) workshop in Honiara, on Friday following a two weeks intensive training module.
The Regional BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) TtF workshop puts elections in context of governance and democracy.
It is the most comprehensive professional development course available in election administration.
It improves the skills, knowledge, and confidence both of election professionals and of others in the electoral process, such as members of the media, political parties and parliamentarians, and electoral observers and civil society organizations.
Following this training, the 18 participants will be able to train using the BRIDGE methodology.
It creates a pool of qualified and skilled trainers to be able to multiply knowledge which will help to gender sensitise Solomon Islanders and to promote leadership as a shared responsibility for men and women.
These participants are from the provincial and national level (Honiara) and stakeholders like NGOs, National Women’s Machinery, Solomon Islands Teachers’ Association, Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, provincial trainers, women leaders as well as government.
UNIFEM’s Gender Equality in Political Governance programme (GEPG) Solomon Islands Office Coordinator, Audrey Manu says that the group as multipliers of knowledge, their training will go a long way in helping women’s leadership and participation in governments.
UNIFEM is looking forward to working with them in the future as key stakeholders in Solomon Islands so that they can actively contribute to achieving women’s increased representation in politics and strengthen women’s capacity to become more active citizens and leaders.
In the history of Solomon Islands, we have only had one women to present in parliament. This is an important step to ensure more women make their way into parliament.
GEPG Regional Programme Manager Rita Taphorns echoes the need for an increase in political participation by Pacific Island women as active citizens and leaders.
The workshop is an occasion for all participants to learn about the principles of electoral issues in general and how they affect women’s representation in particular.
It will enable them to reflect on the electoral system used in Solomon Islands and will equip them with the skill to develop strategies that help to overcome the various obstacles that women face when entering politics. Furthermore, it will enable the participants to actively apply the learned principles.
Over the past decades some progress in terms of women’s political representation at national parliamentary levels was achieved across the Pacific region. However, women remain greatly underrepresented in high-level decision making positions and in order to achieve the so called critical mass of 30% representation, Temporary Special Measurers such as reserved seats are an efficient method to increase women’s representation, says Taphorn.
This workshop also helps men in understanding gender equality and accepting leadership is shared responsibility for both men and women.
The workshop aims to help the participants engage in training relevant national audiences including women’s groups, government, political parties and electoral officials with the aim to increase national capacity of key players supporting women’s political participation and representation at all levels of legislature.
Now the graduates of the workshop will be qualified to design training programs and customise modules for their organizations and as part of their national training programs with the aim to increase critical knowledge about the various aspects that impact on women’s political participation and representation in the context of elections.
UNIFEM’s GEPG Programme is a 5 years initiative co-funded by AusAID under its Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP). The programme will contribute to advancing gender equality in political governance in the Pacific region at both national and local levels with the main purpose of increasing the participation of women as active citizens and leaders.