BRIDGE Gender and Election Module in Afghanistan from 9-13 April 2011

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After conducting different BRIDGE module programs in Afghanistan to build the capacity of its staff in different electoral aspects, the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan organized a 5 days training on Gender and Election

After conducting different BRIDGE module programs in Afghanistan to build the capacity of its staff in different electoral aspects, the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan organized a 5 days training on Gender and Election at the head quarter of the IEC in Kabul from 9-13 April 2011. This program was financially supported by The Asia Foundation through Ausaid fund.

We took into consideration the current security, political, social and economical problems in Afghanistan that women are strongly affected by. The low level of literacy, different cultural problems and security are the main reasons that prevent women to participate in political, social and economical life. The lessons learnt from the last two elections is that despite the IEC and other women organizations that organized different programs and campaigns for women awareness about their rights and the importance of their participation in election, women participation as candidates, voters and election officials (especially in rural area) were not sufficient as expected.

IEC staff and other relevant organizations wanted to provide a program that addressed electoral knowledge about the importance of women participation in elections which analyze the issues and finds reliable solutions for their issues. The IEC of Afghanistan conducted the 5 days BRIDGE V2 Gender and Election training program from 9-13 April 2011 in Kabul.

In total 30 participants attended the training, from IEC HQ, IEC Provincial Offices, the National Democratic Institute, the Asia Foundation and FEFA, of which 14 were women. Participants held various positions e.g. Head of Planning and Procedure Department, Public Outreach Officers, Training Officers, Gender Officers and Planning and Procedure Officers.

This training program was facilitated by Mr.Abdul Ghafor Ashiq (Accredited facilitator) and three semi-accredited facilitators;  Mr.Abdul Zahir Eztrabi , Mss.Laila Ahrari and Mr.Zabiullah Barakzai.

Feedback indicated that the topics were well presented and found them interesting and useful, in particular:

  • the gender definitions 
  • barriers women face in accessing electoral processes including voter registration  
  • legal frame work, women and election law ( this topic a little amended and more were  focused on specific articles on women participations and rights in constitution and electoral law of Afghanistan which was very informative for all participants)
  • the quota system for women ( all the parts of this topic was interesting but the advantage and disadvantage of the quota was much interesting , even some participants those were strongly supported the quota for women participation at the end of this topic agreed that the quota isn’t the best solution for women participation for ever )
  • electoral system was another interesting topic especially the electoral families .

Most participants hadn’t attend a BRIDGE training program in past. They had a big focus on BRIDGE methodologies. I found that the participants were activly involving themselves in working groups, discussions and presentations. Participants found that BRIDGE did not only focus on electoral topics, it was also useful for their presentation skills.

The participants appreciated all efforts of BRIDGE team for providing such a great election curriculum. They also thanked all BRIDGE partners, in particular the Training Department of the IEC, Afghan BRIDGE family members, The Asia Foundation and Ausaid for organizing such successful training program .

Participants requested to organize Gender and Election, Electoral Systems or other relevant BRIDGE modules in the future.

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