Afghanistan System Workshop for Women!

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Following two BRIDGE (Electoral System) trainings for Afghan political parties and due to the recommendations of the participants of two previous sessions of BRIDGE, The Asia Foundation (TAF) conducted the same module of BRIDGE for female provincial members of the political parties from 14 to 19 April 2012 in Kabul.

Following two BRIDGE (Electoral System) trainings for Afghan political parties and due to the recommendations of the participants of two previous sessions of BRIDGE, The Asia Foundation (TAF) conducted the same module of BRIDGE for female provincial members of the political parties from 14 to 19 April 2012 in Kabul.

TAF together with Afghan BRIDGE Team which is called Afghan BRIDGE Community (ABC) intended to improve the electoral knowledge and information of provincial members of afghan political parties, particularly their female members. TAF and the ABC decided to conduct the BRIDGE (Electoral Systems) module for them because Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan and other electoral stakeholders are in discussion on the issue of reform of electoral systems. There are 43 re-registered parties in Afghanistan but for the seek of efficiency and effectiveness, member of those political parties that had their representatives either the Parliament or in Provincial Councils, were invited in this training.

Thirty three female participants from 16 political parties, from different provinces and one from IFES attended the six day electoral systems training which was held in International Club of Kabul city. Participants were from various class including communication, information and culture, youth and gender.

Four facilitators (two workshop Facilitators Mr. Rodwal and Mr. Zakria Barakzai with two semi accredited facilitators Ms. Palwasha Fazli and Ms. Liala Ehrary facilitated the training, while Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Asheq and Mr. Hasibullah Shinwary complementing them by facilitating few sessions. During the training, BRIDGE methodologies were considered such as group working, brainstorming, discussions and simulations. Facilitators made some changes in the sequences of agenda topics and adopted it according to the context and the level of knowledge of participants.

All the agenda topics were interesting for the participants especially electoral system families, the three significant elements and components of electoral system, comparison of electoral systems, advantage and disadvantages of all systems, seat allocation in different systems and design electoral system activities. Alike the last time as the participants were new to BRIDGE training programs, the first day seemed to be a little anxious for the participants because they were unfamiliar with the methodologies and because of their gender and lack of self-esteem it was challenging for them to actively participate. However, on the second day the participants were so interested in the training that they even did not cared about the security incidents going on in Kabul (series of attacks of anti- government elements in different parts of Kabul and other provenience on 15th April 2012) and were present in the training. For the rest of the days of the training they became familiar with BRIDGE methodologies and had participated in all activities with much interest and joy.

As usual on 5th day of the training an exciting two hour tour to Independent Election Commission  of Afghanistan (IEC) was scheduled for the training participants, and as before (alike the first two batches of Political Parties’ members) they visited the Election Education Center, Election Recourse Center, Training and Capacity Building and Public Outreach Departments . Participants were briefed about the duty and responsibility of IEC as well as of these sections and their related questions were satisfactorily answered. This tour created the opportunity for political parties to become familiar with IEC’s mandate and also improvement in the future networking among the Political Parties and IEC.

 
The participants were satisfied with BRIDGE methodologies, contents while the facilitation of the facilitators was totally satisfactory for them; they were gratuitous and thankful to TAF for organizing the training program for political parties and suggested to organize the same programs covering other necessary modules of the BRIDGE.

The ABC beliefs that the member of afghan political parties who undergone BRIDGE trainings (three sessions of Electoral Systems) are now in the position to discuss and express their ideas about the issue of electoral reform wisely and responsibly.

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