jennifer

November 7, 2019

Representatives of State and Local Bodies took part in the second BRIDGE workshop on Disability Rights in Elections

On September 18-19, 2019 IFES Kyrgyzstan with financial support of USAID and in cooperation with the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, held BRIDGE Disability Rights in Elections workshop in Bishkek for representatives of State Personnel Service, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Bishkek Mayor’s Office and disabled people organizations. Twenty-four participants (14 females and 10 males) were gathered to discuss the rights of people with disabilities in the context of Kyrgyzstan. It was the second Disability Rights in Elections Workshop organized in the country (first Disability Rights and Gender in Elections BRIDGE workshop was organized in 2018). Selection of the rights of persons with disability module for the second BRIDGE workshop came in respond to the electoral stakeholders’ (state and local bodies) requests and demonstrates their readiness to have an open and constructive dialogue and cooperation. The workshop is one of the attempts to ensure inclusion at their workplace for state and local bodies. Moreover, the workshop became a platform for representatives from different state bodies and civil society organizations to discuss burning issues of inclusion of people with disabilities and ensuring their rights. This workshop is essential for the preparation to local elections this year, Parliamentary Elections in 2020 and given recently ratified Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities. The workshop conducted by the Country Director of IFES Kyrgyzstan office and accrediting BRIDGE facilitator, Renata Levovski, and BRIDGE TtF completed facilitators, Alexander Orehov, Bermet Mameyeva and Anastasia Griadasova as well as invited expert on inclusion, Sania Amirhanova, was focused on approaches towards the disability and rights-based language, myth and stereotypes related to persons with disabilities, international principles and standards and modeling accessible environment for people with disabilities. The workshop methodology is especially designed for adult learning and included theoretical and practical perspectives. During the simulation exercise participants had to vote at accessible and inaccessible polling station trying different types of disabilities on mock Election Day. Participants highly appreciated the organization of interactive workshop and facilitation style which they found very creative and unusual type of the seminar they ever took part. Participants mentioned that the workshop helped them understand better the needs of people with disabilities and necessity to provide accessible conditions for everyone. Representatives of the different state and civil society organizations built a network for further cooperation in promoting the rights of people with disabilities in Bishkek city and other regions of […]
October 4, 2019

Regional BRIDGE Workshop on Financing of Elections, Dili, Timor-Leste 26-28 August 2019

The Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE), the National Elections Commission (CNE), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) jointly organized a Regional Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) workshop on financing of elections on 26-28 August in Dili, Timor-Leste. The workshop was supported by Japan and the Republic of South Korea. More than 30 people attended the workshop from EMBs and CSOs across the region. The workshop represented the first time that the BRIDGE module on Financing of Elections developed by International IDEA could be piloted. All participants rated the content and presentations completely satisfactory across the 3-day workshop. The workshop coincides with Timor-Leste celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Popular Consultation in which the Timorese people exercised their right to self-determination and voted overwhelmingly for independence. Objectives The BRIDGE financing of elections workshop explored some of the general principles of sound financial planning – in a general sense, and also specifically in relation to electoral events and the electoral cycle. The workshops specifically aimed to accomplish the following: introduce participants to the concepts and principles of financial planning; explore working definitions of election costs; election budgets and revenue sources for funding the administration of elections; explore the types of costs and cost considerations and budget methods that are used by EMBs; provide practice advocating for scarce funds, and for developing business cases for funding requests; provide some tools for effective financial planning; provide an opportunity for participants to develop their own plans, budgets, etc for their own context. And pilot and further develop the version 3 module ahead of its official launch on the BRIDGE website in late 2019. Participants Thirty-three (33) election professionals and electoral reform advocates from Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malawi, Mozambique and Timor-Leste participated during the workshop (6 female and 27 male). The EMB participants included officials from STAE, CNE, the Indonesian General Election Commission, the Union Election Commission of Myanmar, the Election Commission Malaysia, the Philippines’ Commission on Elections and the Election Commission of Thailand. Civil Society Organizations were represented by the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), NETGRIT, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Rainmaker Myanmar, and the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation. International organizations that participated included UNDP Timor-Leste, IFES Indonesia, IRI Timor-Leste, and SADC. International IDEA delivered welcoming remarks and official statement from the BRIDGE partners available via: […]
September 20, 2019

Workshop on Gender and Elections, Sylhet, Bangladesh 11-12 December 2018

The Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat (ECS), in partnership with UN Women and UNDP organized its fifth and BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections under the framework “Support to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections 2018-2019 (SBPE)” on 11-12 December 2018 at the Hotel Valley Garden in Sylhet. The workshop was attended by 32 participants including 9 women, which had the highest women’s representation of all BRIDGE workshops conducted under this initiative. 13 participants represented the ECS Regional and District Offices of Sylhet, and 18 represented the media, CSOs promoting women’s rights, election observation organizations and universities. Mr. Saiful Chowdhury, Deputy Chief of the ECS who attended the workshop as resource person, intervened on several sessions. In particular, he highlighted the importance of all stakeholders to work together to advocate around political parties to strengthen women’s participation in party leadership and in achieving 33% representation of women in party committees by 2020 in accordance with the RPO (The Representation of the People Order) amended in 2009. Comments received from the participants: “Women’s participation in Elections is very important as they represent 50% of our population. So I need to vote for honest leadership who can contribute for the betterment of especially women”. – Female participant “The BRIDGE workshop helped us including ECS officials, journalists, civil society leaders, teachers and students to be a team to work to ensure a peaceful election environment in our area”. – CSO leader participant The workshop was conducted by the following BRIDGE facilitators: Saif Uddin Ahmed, Consultant, UN Women Bangladesh SM Asaduzzaman, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh Farhad Ahmed, Democracy International, […]
September 20, 2019

Workshop on Gender and Elections, Rajshahi, Bangladesh 4-5 December 2018

The Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat (ECS), in partnership with UN Women and UNDP organized its fourth BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections under the framework “Support to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections 2018-2019 (SBPE)” on 4-5 December 2018 at the Nanking Darbar Hall in Rajshahi. The workshop was inaugurated by Election Commissioner Begum Kabita Khanam along with senior officials of the ECS. During her inaugural speech, she highlighted the significant progress on women’s representation that had been achieved in Bangladesh in the recent decades, including through constitutional laws to promote gender equality and women’s political participation, and specifically through the application of quotas in favor of women. Furthermore, women have generally represented half of the voters’ list, turning out on Election Day as almost the same rate as men. At the same time, she recalled that the equal participation between women and men which is guaranteed by the Constitution has not yet been achieved, and that all stakeholders have an important role to play, stressing that the workshop was an opportunity to further strengthen capacity to promote gender equality in the electoral process. The workshop was attended by 31 participants including 7 women. 12 participants represented the ECS Regional and District Offices of Rajshahi, and 20 represented the media, CSOs promoting women’s rights, election observation organizations and universities, considered key stakeholders of the electoral process. Comments received from the participants: “As a governance activist, I had the opportunity to talk to election officials directly and learn about the election management process as well as related challenges”. – Female participant “As Civil Society Organizations, we can work with Political Parties to increase the number of women representatives in political parties’ committees to 33% by 2020 if the Election Commission involves us through programs such as the BRIDGE”. The workshop was conducted by the following BRIDGE facilitators: Saif Uddin Ahmed, Consultant, UN Women Bangladesh Shahedunnabi Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh Farhana Fatema, Assistant Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, […]
September 20, 2019

Workshop on Gender and Elections, Barisal, Bangladesh 23-24 November 2018

The Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat (ECS), in partnership with UN Women and UNDP organized its third BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections under the framework “Support to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections 2018-2019 (SBPE)” on 16-17 November 2018 at the Bangladesh Development Society (BDS) in Barisal. The workshop was inaugurated by Election Commissioner Brigadier General (Retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury along with senior officials of the ECS. During his inaugural speech, he highlighted the presence of 104 million voters in the country of which half are women, and taking this into consideration, he urged women voters to exercise their voting right in the upcoming election to play a role in forming a government. The workshop was attended by 31 participants including 7 women. 12 participants represented the ECS Regional and District Offices of Barisal, and 19 represented the media, CSOs promoting women’s rights, election observation organizations and universities. Throughout the workshop, participants expressed their interest and actively engaged in all the sessions, with particular enthusiasm on the session “Voter Outreach: Messages and Methods for gender inclusive elections”. They appreciated the workshop methodology and the professionalism of the facilitation team, and thanked the workshop management team for choosing to implement the workshop in Barisal, emphasizing that it opened a window of opportunity and sensitized them on gender equity in elections. Comments received from the participants: “As an election official, I had the opportunity to hear from community leadership about our election management responsibilities. Their suggestions will help me to think better to ensure a safe and peaceful voting environment especially for women”. – ECS participant “Ensuring the right to Freedom of Expression, Peaceful Assembly, Freedom of Association is the key to uphold true democratic practice. I realized this clearly through participating in this BRIDGE workshop”. – Journalist participant “As Journalist I came to understand the preparation of election officials for ensuring safety and security of women in the upcoming election and these information will help us to monitor and prepare investigative election reports”. – Journalist participant The workshop was conducted by the following BRIDGE facilitators: Saif Uddin Ahmed, Consultant, UN Women Bangladesh Shahedunnabi Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh Fahmida Sultana, Assistant Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, […]
September 20, 2019

Workshop on Gender and Elections Chattogram, Bangladesh 16-17 November 2018

The Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat (ECS), in partnership with UN Women and UNDP organized its second BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections under the framework of the project “Support to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections 2018-2019 (SBPE)” on 16-17 November 2018 at the Regional Public Administration Training Center (RPATC) in Chattogram. Mr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, Secretary of the ECS attended the workshop and presided the closing ceremony. The workshop was attended by 30 participants including 8 women. 13 participants represented the ECS Regional and District Offices of Chattogram, and 17 represented the media, CSOs promoting women’s rights, election observation organizations and universities. The discussions focused on identifying barriers to women’s effective participation including those associated with families and communities, socio-economic limitations as well as security issues, while the participants proposed actions to strengthen women’s participation, including through measures to ensure their safety and security. The Secretary led a session on “The Role of the Election Commission Secretariat in enhancing women’s participation in the electoral process”. He explained the specific measures put in place for the 11th parliamentary election, notably provisions to make polling stations’ facilities gender-sensitive and accessible to all women, with priority given to women living with disability, elderly women, pregnant and breastfeeding women. He also took note on the need to ensure security especially for female polling staff and party agents through the provision of adequate law enforcement agencies. Finally, he stated that this workshop was important to connect with stakeholders working on the ground to understand the issues and demands specific to localities. In his closing remarks, the Secretary encouraged all to continue making efforts towards achieving the full and effective participation of women in the electoral process. During an interview with the press at the end of the workshop, the Secretary requested all political parties to include 33% representation of women by 2020, in accordance with the requirements established by the RPO (The Representation of the People Order) amended in 2009. The workshop, which was very interactive using a mixture of methodologies, was highly appreciated by all the participants. They took particular interest on in the “Gender and Women in Politics” session as well as the “Level Playing Field” simulation. Comments received from the participants: “The BRIDGE Workshop is participatory and inspiring. It has given us an opportunity to understand the relation between Gender and Elections, which will help us to be better Governance activists”. – Participant “I would have benefited even more from participating in the full, four-day BRIDGE gender and elections module; I would like to further deepen my understanding on the issue and also have the opportunity to become a BRIDGE facilitator”. – Male ECS participant The workshop was conducted by the following BRIDGE facilitators: Saif Uddin Ahmed, Consultant, UN Women Bangladesh SM Assaduzzaman, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh Esmot Ara Easmin, Khan Foundation, […]
September 20, 2019

Workshop on gender and elections, Rangpur, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat (ECS), in partnership with UN Women and UNDP organized its first BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections under the framework of the project “Support to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections 2018-2019 (SBPE)” on 10-11 November 2018 at the RDRS in Rangpur. The implementation of the BRIDGE workshop was proposed as part of a holistic approach the ESC had initiated in 2018, to enhance gender-sensitive electoral management at the central and local levels, through identifying and reducing the existing barriers to women’s effective participation through proposing strategies that can be undertaken to achieve the full and effective participation of women in the 11th Parliamentary election and in the different phases of the electoral cycle. This was also an opportunity for the current pool of Bangladeshi BRIDGE facilitators from the ECS and civil society organizations who had received full accreditation in recent years through initiatives of UN Women and other organizations, to apply their knowledge and skills for the benefit of the key stakeholders working in the field, while at the same time gain further experience as BRIDGE facilitators. Taking into consideration the limited time before the electoral operational period, the SBPE Project in agreement with the ECS adapted and tailored the standard BRIDGE gender and elections module into a two-day workshop, focusing principally on promoting women’s participation in elections and specifically on preventing violence against women in elections. The main topics covered were: International Standards and Principles for Democratic Elections, Sex and Gender, Electoral Cycle and Gender, Women in Politics, A Level Playing Field, Preventing Violence Against Women in Elections, Voter Outreach Messages and Methods, as well as the role of the Election Commission Secretariat and Political Parties in enhancing women’s participation in elections. The workshop in Rangpur, which was the first of a series, was inaugurated by the Election Commissioner Mr. Md Rafiqul Islam along with senior officials of the ECS. He also intervened on several sessions, emphasizing the need to transform traditional perceptions and expectations based on gender that still prevail in Bangladeshi societies. He also underscored that the transformations must start within families, which are the foundation of constructing gender roles and in empowering women in order to strengthen women’s participation in the society as a whole. The workshop was attended by 31 participants, including 7 women. 12 participants represented the ECS Regional and District Offices of Rangpur, and 19 represented the media, CSOs promoting women’s rights, election observation organizations and universities. The discussions by the participants clearly indicated the strong will and desire to promote equal participation between men and women in elections, while they also shared the challenges they faced in doing so, due to existing laws, institutional cultures and perceptions rooted in the society. Comments received from the participants: “BRIDGE workshop helped me to see the Election Cycle through a Gender Lens. I realized that an election is not a one day event. We need to concentrate on pre, during and post election activities to ensure a peaceful election environment for women.” – Participant “At the grassroots level, people are less gender sensitive and they need to understand the relation between Gender and Elections. In this sense, district-based BRIDGE programs will help our grassroots organizations to implement their activities with more gender sensitivity”. (Note: in Bangladesh there are 64 districts) The workshop was conducted by the following BRIDGE facilitators: Saif Uddin Ahmed, Consultant, UN Women Bangladesh Shahida Parvin, Bangladesh Nari Progati […]
August 29, 2019

UNEAD and UNDP organised a BRIDGE showcase for UN staff in New York

On 23 – 24 January, 2019, the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UN EAD) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) organized a two-day BRIDGE showcase on the topics: (i) Electoral Access and (ii) Media and Elections. The showcase which took place at the UN Secretariat building in New York was another step in UN EAD and UNDP providing an avenue to staff members from the UN Secretariat, agencies, funds and programs to discuss key electoral issues and familiarize with the BRIDGE methodology. 27 participants (19 women and 8 men) attended the workshop, comprising staff from the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), Department of Peace Operations (DPO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). There was very high interest from staff across the UN system to attend the showcase, which underscores the need for such thematic trainings, particularly in a subject of relevance like elections. The main objectives of the showcase were the following:  To provide a forum for the exchange of experiences and good practices on access to electoral processes and media and elections, To familiarized participants with the BRIDGE professional development methodology and curricula; and  To promote partnerships and cooperation among UN staff Mr. Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP, in his opening remarks emphasized the utility of BRIDGE as a professional development programme in the field of elections and how it has been used in multiple countries, across the world. He encouraged participants to take advantage of the opportunity to share their diverse experiences on the subjects. As an introduction, participants were given an overview of BRIDGE and the UN electoral assistance framework. On the electoral access module, the following sessions were covered: access and political rights: introduction to access; understanding groups with access issues: prejudice; understanding electoral rights and our commitments: national law and ICCPR and understanding groups with access issues–observer scenarios. The module on media and elections focused on the following sessions: introduction to the media and the electoral cycle; the EMB – media relationship: media as a watchdog for public interest; the EMB – media relationship: election rumours; the EMB – media relationship: fake news; legal and institutional frameworks- dealing with defamation; legal and institutional frameworks- regulatory bodies; and strategic communications. The training was highly interactive, and participants shared experiences on the subjects from their respective field of work. The facilitators received many positive feedbacks after the training, in which participant appreciated the BRIDGE methodology, the content on the topics discussed and also the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with staff from other parts of the UN system. Herbert Loret of the UN Department of Peace Operations, gave the following feedback, which summed up the response from participants: “…it should have been mandatory for all members of the Inter-Agency Coordination Mechanism for Electoral Assistance (ICMEA) [for] (team building!). Congratulations to all of you, it was super interesting and very well managed, I think all the participants were pleased”. The team of facilitators included: Aleida Ferreyra – Accrediting Facilitator Risa Arai – Facilitator Hassan Kelleh Sesay – […]
August 19, 2019

Building local capacities in Guatemala for inclusive electoral administration

In the lead-up to the forthcoming Guatemalan general elections of June 2019, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) organized the first BRIDGE workshop on introduction to electoral administration and access. This capacity building initiative took place in Guatemala City from 31 January to 1st February 2019, and was organized in partnership with Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and with financial support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This training was mainly addressed to electoral staff and members of the disability rights organization National Council for Persons with Disabilities (CONADI). Its main goal was to analyze the gender approach and the political participation of under-represented groups from an election management perspective, allowing participants to reflect on their daily work at the TSE and sharing good practice in the area of inclusion. During the two-day workshop, participants were exposed to comparative perspectives on models of election management across the Latin American region, as well as different approaches to promote inclusion throughout the electoral cycle. The didactic methodology of BRIDGE also included team-building activities, hands-on civic campaign development and evaluation, and engaging rich discussions about professional ethics and integrity. Furthermore, the second day focused particularly on access of under-represented groups to the electoral process, and participants could learn more about the obstacles to the participation of women, youth, people with disabilities and LGBTI persons, as well as possible solutions based on good practice from other countries, especially in Latin America. In his opening remarks to the second day of the BRIDGE workshop, TSE President Magistrate Mario Aguilar thanked IFES for its continuous support to the TSE and praised BRIDGE’s objectives to promote democratic principles and electoral best practices and to enhance participants’ skills with useful tools and resources. CONADI Director Sebastian Toledo also mentioned the importance of the workshop in giving electoral accessibility and inclusion the attention and priority these topics deserve. The BRIDGE facilitation team was composed by two experienced accrediting facilitators: Alessandra Rossi, Resident Director of IFES in Guatemala, and Lluis Juan Rodriguez, IFES consultant. Under the Electoral Governance and Reforms Project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, IFES will continue to collaborate with the TSE to strengthen the capacity of its personnel to administer successful, transparent and inclusive elections and contribute to the consolidation of democracy in […]
July 12, 2019

Strategic Planning with the Fijian Elections Office

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO), in conjunction with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) with funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), conducted a 3-days BRIDGE Strategic Planning in Electoral Management (V3) workshop in Suva, Fiji, 19-21 June 2019. The workshop was aimed to assist the FEO in developing a new corporate strategic plan for the period 2020 -2023. The workshop participants were FEO personnel, predominantly senior management, including the Supervisor of Elections (SoE) Mr Mohammed Saneem and the two FEO Directors. The Electoral Commissioner Mr Simione Naiduki also attended all three days as the workshop guest. BRIDGE facilitators for the workshop were Asenaca Kolinivala and Ana Mataiciwa from the FEO and Brian Latham and Jennifer Hammond from the AEC. The facilitators together brought a broad range of experience, knowledge and expertise to the workshop. Mr Mohammed Saneem, in opening the workshop, welcomed participants and facilitators, giving an overview of the reasons the FEO was placing great importance on this preparatory training and encouraging participants to strongly engage with the program over the following three days. The FEO intended to develop their 2020-2023 Strategic Plan in the weeks following the workshop. The three-day program covered the first five sections of the Strategic Planning module – planning theory – examining the general principles and structure of strategic planning for an EMB and where and how they could/would be applied to the new FEO plan. The very last part of the workshop itself began with senior management informing the group which personnel were to form the Planning Committee and the Core Team and continued with detailing the logistics of the Strategic Planning process to be conducted the following week. Participation from all workshop attendees was most enthusiastic – all activities were undertaken with a positive sense of purpose. Participants comments were overwhelmingly positive and included ‘Were there elements of the workshop you found particularly useful?’ Refresher on various topics and principles Group activities Preparation for developing the actual SP The breakdown of aspirations following a structure Discussions ‘Props’ and discussions Handouts ‘Are there areas of learning that will change the way you work?’ Thinking outside the box Will assist in future SP drafting Will enable me to broaden my knowledge The workshop will enable me to clearly understand why I do what I do There will be a shift of paradigm this time when we proceed with the Strategic Planning exercise ‘Other comments’ Awesome presenters Facilitation team is excellent and well versed with the module Learning new things about strategic planning Improves knowledge of processes Vital information To conclude the workshop, SoE Mr Mohammed Saneem, gave a presentation based on key points raised at the workshop and their relevance to the upcoming planning process. He thanked the facilitators and praised the participants for their professional approach throughout the workshop and assured the group they demonstrated the necessary skill and experience to successfully conduct the FEO strategic planning sessions the following week. Workshop participants each received a Certificate of Completion from Electoral Commissioner Simione Naiduki and Ms Jennifer Hammond received BRIDGE Workshop Facilitator level […]
March 28, 2019

Workshop on Gender Equality and Elections, Sunsari, Nepal 24-25 February 2019

The Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) conducted a two-day BRIDGE Workshop on Gender Equality and Elections in Dharan Municipality, on 24-25 Feb 2019 with the support of UNDP Electoral Support Project (ESP), which is funded by the European Union. The ECN has selected Dharan Municiaplity for the program because the by-election for the post of Mayor of Dharan Municipality is likely to take place soon following the death of the representative elected in 2017. The program was inaugurated by the Chief Election Commissioner Dr Ayodhee Prasad Yadav and attended by 25 participants (14 male and 11 female). The participants included elected local representatives, district heads of political parties, former candidates on the proportional representation list and for the indirect Constituent Assembly elections,  potential candidates for the upcoming by-elections, media persons, party cadres, representatives from different civil society organisations, people living with disability, electoral management staff as well as representatives from the NGO Federation. During the opening remarks, the Chief Election Commissioner requested the participants to gear up and create a favourable environment in Sunsari district for the upcoming by-election for the post of mayor. He appealed to women participants to take a leadership role and highlighted different measures that ECN has undertaken to make elections more inclusive. The District Electoral Officer of Sunsari, Mr. Bhakta Bhattarai, welcomed the participants and highlighted the objectives of the program. The main objective of the workshop was to raise awareness among election stakeholders, including political parties, media, and potential women leaders about the upcoming by-elections, and in particular to encourage political parties to increase meaningful participation of women in politics and decision-making processes. It also aimed to develop a network among political party women groups and help the District Election Office (DEO) staff to develop a stronger relationship with the election stakeholders. The two-day workshop was customized and tailored according to the participants’ level. The workshop on Gender Equality and Elections, version 3, was conducted using different adult learning and BRIDGE methodologies. All the participants actively participated in every session, which used methodologies like – brainstorming, quiz contest, role play, debate, group work, presentations. The major topics covered were: introduction to BRIDGE, national and international legal framework on gender inclusion in elections, the ECN gender equality and social inclusion policy, women participation in all three tiers of elections held in 2017, diversity of women, the electoral cycle, electoral systems, political finance and women , the role of political parties in increasing women’s participation in politics, quota systems, and gender balance at polling places, among others. Ice breakers and energizers were conducted in between the sessions. All the participants, including the current elected local leaders, highly appreciated the workshop. A Dalit women elected members particularly welcomed the workshop for educating them about legal provisions that are mentioned in the constitution and electoral laws. Likewise, two other potential candidates for the upcoming by-election appreciated the issues and contents put in the workshop. They also thanked ECN, UNDP ESP and the European Union for helping them to reestablish their relationships with stakeholders and develop networks for future elections. Similarly, representatives from all party women’s groups said it helped them to collectively speak up for women.  The team of facilitators included: Nikila Shrestha- Accrediting Facilitator and Lead Facilitator Chandra Bahadur Shiwakoti – Workshop level BRIDGE Facilitator Pushpa Kumari Jha – TtF completed Ram Krishna Aryal- TtF completed The program was concluded with the distribution of participation certificates by ECN Under Secretary and Facilitator Chandra Bahadur Shiwakoti to all the participants. At the end of the program, Pushpa Kumari Jha and Ram Krishna Aryal were awarded Workshop Level Facilitators accreditation. Following this BRIDGE program, ECN now has two additional BRIDGE Workshop level Facilitators, Mr. Ram Krishna Aryal and with Ms. Pushpa Kumari Jha. Ms Pushpa is the only female workshop level facilitator that ECN has at present. Since the beginning of 2019, UNDP and European Union support has allowed for the accreditation of four additional BRIDGE Workshop level facilitators in ECN, which brings the total number of BRIDGE facilitators among ECN staff to six Workshop level Facilitators and one Accrediting Facilitator and which makes an important contribution for ECN to sustain its professional capacity-building programme in the future. For more photos please visit – […]

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