As part of an ongoing series of BRIDGE trainings for the Nigerian INEC, UNDP-Nigeria organized a 5-day workshop on gender and elections in Abuja at the end of January.Using curriculum customized by the Global Programme on Election Cycle Support (UNDP/GPECS), the course challenged the members of the INEC’s gender department to critically analyze their performance and the barriers to women’s participation in Nigeria and explore new ways of addressing these issues.
Introducing enhanced materials on women and political parties, candidate recruitment, political financing and gender and election violence, the GPECS’ tailored module successfully addressed key issues faced by Nigerian women. In particular, the examination of quota options was of interest for the group, as Nigeria seeks to realize the 35% participation goal set out in its national gender policy.
The training also introduced some exciting extracurricular activities for the group. The most outstanding activity was an interactive discussion between the INEC participants and two invited women Parliamentarians. The MPs graciously accepted to come and talk about their experiences in campaigning for office and the challenges they faced. They even offered their constructive criticism to the INEC about how the electoral commission could improve access for women candidates. This exchange brought the lessons of the day to life in a truly singular and moving way, through the personal stories of these women.
In addition, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, participants were invited to watch two documentary films illustrating women’s struggle for dignity and human rights, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”, and “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”.
The training was organized by UNDP-Nigeria and facilitated by Gabrielle Bardall and Rindai Chipfunde-Vava in collaboration with semi-accredited facilitators Margaret Ikwunja, Dorothy Bello, Rabiu Umar, of the INEC.