The workshop was opened by the Minister of Internal and Social Affairs (MISA), UNIFEM GEPG partner for the conduct of the workshop. He addressed 26 MP and invited guests including the Australian High Commissioner, the Taiwanese Ambassador and the representative of the Head of the UNICEF Kiribati Office.
At the outset he welcomed the honourable members and reminded them of their important role of law making in Kiribati and of Government signatory to CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) in 2004. He stated,
“this workshop is challenging our status as elected members and our role as law makers but it is an opportunity to seriously begin the process of assessing whether our elections are practiced to the requirement of equal participation of men and women and that elections are free and fair to women and men and all minority groups in our society. It is also a start to examining our election laws to eradicate corrupt practices and to replace them with transparent practices to sustain credible elections.”
He concluded by stating that, “changes are not easily accepted but if they are constructed for good reasons that will provide great benefit to our people then I trust that we are all doing what we should be doing as law makers.” He encouraged everyone to make use of this opportunity so that “at the end of the day what we recommend satisfies our people but not ourselves.”
I hope UNIFEM will continue the good relationship with our Government in the coming future to build capacity of our people and leaders through the use of BRIDGE modules and methodology.
The workshop was closed by the female Vice President of Kiribati and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Development, Honourable (Ms) Teima Onorio.
The workshop was an outcome of consultation and assessment of UNIFEM GEPG Team and the Chief Electoral Officer who is also the only fully accredited BRIDGE facilitator in
Also the workshop was a pilot for GEPG to assist in mapping out the targeted stakeholders in each country for engagement for more effective gender sensitization given that voters only get the opportunity to vote for change every four (4) years in democratic elections while law and policy makers and implementers deal with issues of gender and other related governance issues everyday.
Overall a total of 30 people were involved in the actual workshop as facilitators, workshop assistants and participants.
The team consisted of: