The UN Women in conjunction with The Hunger Project and the Election Commission of Bangladesh – EC organised BRIDGE Gender and Elections Module courses in six regions across Bangladesh from 24 September to 24 November 2016. Senior and middle management officials of the various Political Parties, EC, Civil Society and Student leaders attended the workshop. The purpose was to enable various stakeholders to identify barriers women face in fully accessing the electoral processes, identify areas of improvement and discuss and recommend the necessary mechanisms to ensure participation of women. This was also a great opportunity to discuss matters for consideration and incorporation of gender issues in the operational and strategic plans of the different groups. The course served as an insight into the intricacies of gender matters and assisted the participants to establish a common understanding on the issues of gender and elections.
The aim was also to establish the progress made by the different stakeholders in ensuring the enhancement of women in the electoral process as voters and contestants and provide capacity for Gender mainstreaming into long and short term strategic plan within the Electoral Cycle as the country is gearing for the next general elections likely to be held towards the end of 2018 or the beginning 2019. The training created awareness on gender issues in the electoral process and equipped the participants with knowledge and skills on gender and elections. It was also aimed at enabling them to promote gender equality in the management of all electoral functions and interrogate the compliance or lack thereof with the current legislation on representation of women Section 90B(1) (b) (ii) Representation of People’s Order RPO.
‘Grounded in the vision of equality, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls and the empowerment of women. The UN Women Bangladesh Country Office (BCO) works with the government, civil society, development partners and other UN agencies to fulfil UN Women’s mandate in response to national priorities and needs. UN Women Bangladesh’s work includes advocacy to strengthen national standards, laws and policies, implementation of catalytic programmes to empower women, especially those who are most marginalized. Increasing women’s political participation at all levels is a key strategic priority of UN Women, noted as one of the six priorities in the 2014-2017 Global Strategic Plan’
UN Women Bangladesh has been working on women’s political participation since 2013 through research, partnerships and use of BRIDGE curriculum and methodology.
This workshop is one in a series of capacity development workshops that are planned as part of the training strategy with for the purpose of ensuring that stakeholders have the necessary skills and expertise to develop and implement strategies that will ensure that mandate of administering free, fair and credible elections is carried out efficiently with each of electoral stakeholders playing their roles effectively.
This was also an opportunity to assess and award accreditation as BRIDGE Workshop facilitators to semi-accredited facilitators who attended the Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop conducted in September 2015.
19 Semi-Accredited Facilitators were given an opportunity to conduct these workshops through the guidance and support of the BRIDGE Expert and Lead Facilitator Sibongile Zimemo (Female) Consultant, South African were given an opportunity to conduct these workshops.
1. Rangpur: 24 – 27 September 2016
Farhana Fatema (Female)- Election Commission, BM Nazim Mahmud(Male)- Jatiyotabadi Chatro Dal, Saif Uddin Ahmed (Male) – Hunger Project
2. Rajshahi: 03 – 06 October 2016
Sharmin Akhter (Female) – Jatiyotabadi Mohila Dal, Romena Akhter (Female)- UN Women, Mithu Dibra (Female)- PRIP TRUST
3. Khulna: 15 – 18 October 2016
Shahida Parvin (Female)- BNPS, Raghu Nath Raha (Male)- BROTEE, Jharna Barai (Female)- Awami League,
4. Barisal: 23 – 26 October 2016
Md. Kamrul Hassan (Male)- Election Commission, Farhad Ahmed (Male)- Facilitator, Esmot Ara – (Female) Khan Foundation
5. Sylhet: 05 – 08 November 2016
Rafayet Ara (Female)– Democracy Watch, Jana Goswami (Female) – Mohila Parishad, Shabbir Ahmed – Elections Commission, Md. Zakaria (Male)- Asia Foundation
6. Chittagong: 13 – 16 November 2016
Shammin Sultana (Female) – ILO, Amitabha Ghosh (Male) – Consultant, Kazi Shahidul Islam (Male)- Aga Khan Foundation
Due to their commitment, dedication and outstanding performance, 11 successfully completed their fieldwork and were therefore accredited and progressed to the category of BRIDGE Workshop Facilitators. In the near future, the remaining 8 facilitators who could not make it this time around will be given another opportunity to conduct other BRIDGE workshops. All 19 facilitator will continue their incredible work as trainers and partners of UN Women.