Election Commission of Nepal and the UNDP Electoral Support Programme for Nepal hosted a BRIDGE workshop to pilot the model 3 day agenda on Gender and Elections from 12 – 14 October in Kathmandu, Nepal. The workshop was supported by UNDP’s Global Programme on Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS), which also commissioned the model agendas. IFES in Nepal provided support and one of the facilitators.
The objectives of the workshop were: for EMBs to understand why women’s participation is important and how to improve it; for women’s advocacy groups to understand the electoral process and develop strategies to promote women’s participation; and to provide tools for all participants to look at elections from a gender perspective.
Activities were drawn from the gender and elections module as well as modules on voter registration, polling day, civic education, electoral training, post-election activities, pre-election activities, voter information and electoral management.
The twenty-five participants came from the Election Commission of Nepal, women’s advocacy groups, the media and government ministries. There were 18 women and 7 men.
Facilitators were Helena Catt (lead), Surya Prasad Aryal, Julie Ballington, Komal Prasad Dhamala, Salina Joshi and Radhika Regmi. Fittingly for a workshop focussed on gender, at the end Nepal gained its second women accredited facilitator when Radhika Regmi was accredited as a workshop facilitator.
Participants were enthusiastic and engaged with the issues surrounding women’s participation in elections. Many identified personal actions and goals for the coming months that would fit within their current work and interests.