IFES Georgia is implementing the Increased Trust in the Electoral Process (ITEP) program, a four-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This program is aimed at increasing trust in electoral processes among the public and political participants over the next three election cycles. The project envisions direct assistance to the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) to improve professionalism, knowledge and confidence of election officials and key stakeholders in the electoral process.
Over 50 BRIDGE modular workshops were conducted in Georgia during 2005-2013 focusing primarily on Election Administration (at mid and central level) and building the capacity of the key electoral stakeholders: Media, Observers and Political Parties. For the first time, another stakeholder, organizations working on the gender aspects have been targeted. Two 5-day BRIDGE modular workshops were planned to be conducted for the groups working on the gender issues (Gender Equality Network, Journalist Network for Gender Equality, Group of Public Initiatives) and Media representatives. The two workshops were held during July 22-26 and July 28-August 1, 2013 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi, Georgia. The workshops were facilitated by Ketevan Maisuradze (IFES project manager), Giorgi Ezugbaia (CEC Training Centre) and Natia Kashakashvili (BRIDGE lead facilitator).
The workshop covered following topics: Gender and Electoral Cycle, Gender Mainstreaming, Aspect of Gender Inequality; International standards of Elections (Gender non-discrimination); Gender aspects of Voter Registration; Gender representation in politics; Electoral Systems and gender representation; Special measures (quotas) of Gender representation; Advocacy and Lobbying, Voter/Civic Education messages; Role of Media in promoting gender aspects of elections (Election Coverage from a Gender Perspective) and Media Monitoring.
Forty-nine representatives (15 male, 34 female) of Gender and Media groups attended the workshops. Participants were gradually introduced to the international standards of the elections and the main principles of gender balance with the emphasis of articles from ICCPR, UDHR and CEDAW. Participants through simulations on Electoral systems have realized the impact of the choice of the electoral system on the representation of women in politics; also how the district magnitude impacts the principle of representation itself. Therefore participants have been given several world best practices on the special measure for gender equal representation. Participants, after gaining the knowledge on quota options, were given different scenarios on how to best promote gender balance within different electoral systems. After the main concepts, participants were introduced to techniques of advocacy and lobbying for the reform, voter education campaigns and campaigns after the reform. Participants of both workshops have praised the BRIDGE methodology as well as delivery of such vast information via simulations, which simplified for the “non-expert” participants the understanding of the topic. Some participants also expressed enthusiasm about learning more about their role in electoral reform (It is recommended to encourage the groups working on Gender aspects to closely work with the Electoral Reform group to address the gender equality measures as the change of the electoral systems are being discussed within inter-parliamentary groups)
At the end of the workshop participants received certificates in recognition of attending 5-day workshop, soft copies of all printed materials, course photos and in addition, other useful background reading materials.
Two semi-accredited facilitators, Keti Maisuradze and Giorgi Ezugbaia, who have successfully participated in customization of the curriculum and the delivery of the two 5-day workshops, have accomplished their full accreditation and were granted with the certificates of “workshop level facilitators”. It is the honor to welcome the new workshop facilitators that are in total 15 in Georgia as of now.