The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the European Union Democratic Governance Programme (DGP) organised a four-day Gender and Elections BRIDGE workshop at Serendib Hotel in Blantyre, Malawi from 1- 4 September 2015. The workshop was funded by the European through the Democratic Governance Programme. This was the first ever BRIDE Gender and Elections workshop conducted on Malawian soil. Twenty-eight participants comprising MEC staff, representative of political parties, government and civil society organizations attended the four days course. This workshop was meant to equip participants with knowledge and understanding of the role of gender equality in the electoral processes and to ensure the participation of men as well as women.
The overall objective of the training package was for participants to understand the electoral processes as they relate to Gender and develop strategies to promote and enhance women’s participation in the democratic electoral process. It also aimed at explaining the role of the Election Management Body, political parties, government and civil society organisations to better integrate gender equality by coming up with policies that promote gender equality in their respective work places and society at large.
Facilitation of the Gender and Elections BRIDGE Course by the following team:
Twenty-seven participants comprising EMB staff, political parties, civil society and Governments representative attended the course. 15 were female and 12 were male. (For details see list of participants in Annex 1)
The Gender and Elections Workshop was officially opened by a MEC Commissioner, Mrs Elvey Kalonga-Mtafu, who explained the importance of advancing gender equality and the role different institutions can play to enhance women participation not only in the electoral process but in all spheres of life.
The BRIDGE course on Gender and Elections was rated very high by the majority of the participants. The evidence is in the participants’ evaluation comments as well as ratings with regards to the course’s usefulness. It is also apparent that time was not sufficient as a number of participants felt so. The training venue at a second floor which was not serviced by an escalator was another challenge faced by the participants. Despite the noted challenges the training was indeed a success and there is always room for improvement to make BRIDGE more exciting and achieve objectives at a high level.