The UN Women’s Gender Equality in Political Governance (GEPG) programme conducted a BRIDGE Gender and Election workshop in Kirakira, Makira-Ulawa Province from 11th – 15th July 2011. The workshop facilitators were Josephine Teakeni from VOIS Blong Mere Solomon, Marolyn Misitana from the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Jessica Ngere from Makira-Ulawa Provincial Council of Women and Audrey Manu from UN Women.
The participants were from in and around Makira-Ulawa Province and included representatives from the Makira-Ulawa Provincial Government Executives, civil servants, women leaders, community leaders, youth leaders, church leaders, members of the constitutional reform process and Kirakira based civil society representatives.
The opening ceremony of the BRIDGE workshop was graced by Makira-Ulawa’s Provincial Minister for Finance, Honorable Henry Taro. In his speech, the Minister highlighted the importance of recognizing gender equality as a fundamental right and as essential for successful economic and social development of a nation. He encouraged participants to use the skills and knowledge gained from the BRIDGE workshop to help create awareness to enable increase women’s access to and representation in politics in Makira-Ulawa Province.
Daily attendance to sessions showed the participants’ eagerness and interest which was very encouraging and satisfactory to the team. Participants were actively engaged throughout the five days workshop and discussed freely issues in their context that are related to gender equality and elections. The session topics on international agreements, EMBs and elections, and gender in relation to the electoral systems were of particular interest to the participants as for most of them, these topics were an ‘eye opener’ to them. The participants also expressed their desire to see change and wanted to see similar workshops being supported and carried out in communities.
UN Women’s Gender Equality in Political Governance (GEPG) Programme is a five year programme and is committed to delivering its capacity building activities using BRIDGE methodology to assist women and relevant stakeholders.