“Beautiful Island of Africa”

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BRIDGE Gender and Elections Course Shangani, Stone Town Zanzibar – “Beautiful Island of Africa” on 07 – 11 July 2014

The Electoral Commission of Zanzibar in conjunction with the African Union Commission organised a BRIDGE Gender and Elections course on 07 to 11 July 2014 in Shangani, Zanzibar. This project is one of interventions by the AU with a purpose of strengthening Electoral Commissions in their member states by developing capacity for the officials for effective management of all Electoral processes and administrative activities. This workshop was also meant to capacitate political parties that are registered with the Electoral Commission, and Civil Society organisations that are involved in democracy development and education of the Citizens of Zanzibar. This workshop was one course in a series of capacity development efforts that are planned as part of the consolidation of democracy, governance and elections by the African Union Commission and the Electoral Commission of Zanzibar.

Gender Mainstreaming

Many organisations in the development world are taking the concept of Gender Mainstreaming very seriously and most are doing their best to integrate the gender dimension into the implementation of all their projects. Various countries have endorsed the International Agreements that promote Gender equality however the incorporation of the provisions of the agreements into some countries’ legislation is still a major hurdle especially in countries where some laws do not recognize Gender Equality. Tanzania is one of the countries that have signed and ratified many of the International Agreements and have subsequently incorporated the provisions of these agreements into the legislation, as this is very crucial in the process of effecting the stated provisions.

The objective of the BRIDGE Gender and Elections course was to provide capacity development for the major stakeholders in the Electoral Processes. The main purpose for this course was also to encourage gender mainstreaming in the electoral processes and practices, promote gender equality issues and sensitise political party members and Civil society about gender equality, electoral and political party legislation that would need to be revised to better reflect the gender balance in the country. The contributions by the diverse group of participants were valuable and much appreciated.

The programme commenced on day one with the official opening and welcome by the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Salum Kassim Ali, Director of Elections – Zanzibar Electoral Commission followed by the speech from Ms Shumbana Karume, Head, Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit, Department of Political Affairs – African Union Commission and subsequently a speech by Mr Jecha Salim Jecha, Chairperson – Zanzibar Electoral Commission who officially opened the programme.

The facilitation team of four (2 Females and 2 Males) conducted the programme; Sibongile Zimemo- South Africa -Lead Facilitator; Richard Kamugisha- Electoral Commission of Uganda; Emma Togba – Electoral Commission of Liberia and Khamis Ali Khamis; Electoral Commission of Zanzibar.

The twenty participants were taken through an intensive programme which encompassed content on Democracy, Governance and Human Rights; International Agreements, Applicable Legislative Framework, Strategies for enhancing women’s participation in Electoral processes; Electoral Systems and Quotas. The participants were also taken through the relevant websites that would provide valuable information for future use after the workshop.

The participants, who successfully completed the course, received their certificates at the official closing of the programme.

I thank the host; Electoral Commission of Zanzibar and the sponsor of the programme; the African Union Commission, the facilitators and participants; wishing you everything of the best in all your endeavors.

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