A BRIDGE workshop covering the Media, Gender and Election modules was conducted in Honiara on 29th March – 1st April for 18 Media Professionals and Women Advocates.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in partnership with Vois Blong Mere (Women’s Media Arm), Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs and the Solomon Islands National Council of Women hosted the National BRIDGE Workshop.
The four days intensive training workshop focused on the role that media play during elections especially in promoting women’s participation and helps reflect on the electoral system used in Solomon Islands including access for women to register and vote.
The objectives of the workshop include:
BRIDGE workshops help bring different stakeholders together to discuss and share their roles and find ways of working together in the context of elections. This workshop has brought together the Media and Women advocates to discuss the cross cutting theme of gender equality in relations to the elections cycle.
The workshop ended on 1st April by Ms Ethel Sigimanu, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs who gave the closing remarks.
UNIFEM’s GEPG Programme is a 5 years initiative co-funded by AusAID under its Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP). The programme will contribute to advancing gender equality in political governance in the Pacific region at both national and local levels with the main purpose of increasing the participation of women as active citizens and leaders.
The content of the workshop has really ‘opened my eyes’ to how the media and the electoral commission works. Not only this, but how it affects the people. I have gained a deeper understanding of their roles – pre-elections, during elections and post-elections.
Looking at this through a new ‘lens’ I now realize that although there are laws that support equal participation, disadvantaged groups are still being discriminated against.
I have enjoyed taking part in the activities because they were learner-centered although at times I felt that there could have been the utilization of other techniques / methods also. For example, one of the facilitators used role-play to teach us about disadvantaged groups. It was different and FUN and most importantly it has stuck in my head.
In terms of presentations the facilitators were on the whole very good. They were generally clear. However, I felt that sometimes other audio/visual aid could have been utilized because some of the participants are young people and their interest /backgrounds vary.
Generally, I think this workshop has been very successful and has achieved its objectives and I hope I can be invited to participate in future workshops.