With support from UNDP Electoral Support Project (ESP) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) has organized a three-day (11-13 December 2018) BRIDGE Workshop on Gender and Inclusion in Elections (version 3) for political parties and the constitutional commissions for inclusion on the premises of the Election Commission in Kathmandu. This was the third BRIDGE modular workshop organized by ECN in 2018. The previous two workshops were on Strategic Planning and Introduction to Electoral Administration in addition to a BRIDGE Train the Facilitator (TtF) course.
The objective of the workshop was to interact with major electoral stakeholders engaged in and responsible for gender and inclusion – political parties and the constitutional commissions for inclusion (Adibasi, Dalit, Madhesi, Muslim, Tharu and Women’s commissions) in Nepal.
The Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Ayodhee Prasad Yadav in his inauguration remarks urged the participants to actively participate and discuss the emerging issues of gender and inclusion in Nepal which is a joint responsibility of the government, political parties and the ECN.
The total 25 participants were mostly women representatives from the different parties/organizations, including a former minister, current and former parliamentarians, aspirant parliamentarians, executive members of inter-party women’s network including the chair, government officials of the six constitutional commissions of Nepal, a representative of National Disable Federation, and staff of UNDP ESP and IFES.
The workshop was tailored to the needs of the stakeholders and curriculums were customised from the gender module (version 3), electoral systems and political finance following the BRIDGE methodology. The main topics covered in the workshop were: introduction of BRIDGE; gender inclusive election management bodies and gender mainstreaming policy; gender and inclusion issues; gender and electoral cycle; access to electoral process: disabled and elderly voters; gender and political finance; electoral systems in Nepal and role of political parties in women and social inclusion, among others. Throughout the workshop, the participants were actively engaged. They enjoyed the methodology especially debate, quiz, role play, value clarification and group work combined with pictorial mini-presentation. The participatory methodology was a novelty for this audience.
Election Commissioner Mr. Narendra Dahal (who is responsible for the gender and inclusion portfolio) and the Secretary of the ECN Mr. Madhu Prasad Regmi (an accredited BRIDGE facilitator), observed BRIDGE sessions.
The team of facilitators included:
The program concluded on 13 December 2018. During the closing of the workshop, one of the former parliamentarians speaking on behalf of the participants, shared that her political party is currently working on one-third participation of women from local to national level within the party and the knowledge acquired during the workshop was useful for this effort. She also requested the organisers to conduct similar workshop for senior level political party leaders. The Chief Commissioner distributed certificates of completion of the workshop and thanked all participants and the facilitators. He also shared his view that the political parties and ECN have to play bigger role to increase political participation of women and other groups for broader democratic governance through elected offices.