As part of IFES, UNDP and International IDEA’s ongoing support of the Election Commission of Nepal’s BRIDGE program, IFES funded a three-day BRIDGE Gender and Elections module for Election Commission of Nepal staff and key stakeholders from the 29 to 31 March 2010. The aim of the training was to build an understanding of gender and related issues in support of the development and implementation of gender mainstreaming within the Election Commission and the incorporation of gender in the various stages of the electoral cycle.
The training program was facilitated by a team of three staff from the Election Commission: Joint Secretary Shyam Sharma, Ms. Shanta Nepal, Section Officer and Mr. Mahesh Timsina, Section Officer, together with Ms. Katie Ryan, IFES Deputy Chief of Party and the BRIDGE Nepal focal point, Mr Shanti Bimali. International BRIDGE consultant, Mr. Michael Clancy, assisted with the preparation and observed and supported the delivery of the training.
Considerable effort prior to and during the training was put into ensuring that the agenda and BRIDGE materials were adapted to reflect the Nepali context. This involved the inclusion of a presentation by UNIFEM on the current status of gender issues in Nepal; the screening of the UNDP Nepal gender documentary “Power, Voice and Rights”, and presentation of the Constituent Assembly electoral system case study as a positive example of affirmative action. In addition, Salina Joshi, a national gender expert, attended the training as a national resource person.
The training was attended by 23 participants, 16 from the Election and 7 staff from other government ministries with whom the Election Commission works closely (Ministry of Home, Ministry of Law, Ministry of Peace and Ministry of Finance, Office of the Prime Minister and the National Planning Commission). The objective of this was to build the collaboration and cooperation with these ministries and this worked extremely well.
The training was highly effective and received an extremely positive response from all participants, who were very participative and embraced the gender messages promoted throughout the training. On completion of the training Mr. Shyam Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Timsina and Ms. Katie Ryan, who were semi-accredited as BRIDGE facilitators at the BRIDGE Training of Facilitators course held in Pretoria in November 2009, were all fully accredited by Mr. Michael Clancy. This brings the total number of fully accredited national facilitators within the Election Commission of Nepal to ten.