UN Women Ethiopia’s Gender Equality and VAWE workshop

UN Women Ethiopia’s Women in Leadership and Governance Program in partnership with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), organized 3-days Gender Equality and VAWE BRIDGE workshop for key electoral stakeholders. Violence against Women in Elections (VAWE) is among the key priority areas identified in the partnership with NEBE and EHRC. UN Women is supporting the two institutions to implement interventions to fill the gap in acting against VAWE identified from past elections, and existing challenges faced by women in politics in Ethiopia. Therefore, the workshop aimed to provide the participants with tools and good practices to prevent VAWE and/or mitigate its consequences.

The workshop was led by BRIDGE accrediting level facilitators Natia Kashakashvili and Shalva Tskhakaia with the combined modality of the online & face-to-face training during 25-27 May, 2021 in Addis Ababa. The modality of the training was the combination of the online and face-to-face training: participants were physically gathered at one training venue and managed by UN Women, while BRIDGE facilitators were conducting the training via the Zoom platform and using various online training tools in order to guarantee full interaction between the facilitators and the participants.

In total 29 participants attended the workshop (14 men, 15 women). Amongst the participants were presented Security sector (13), Ministry of Women, Children and Youth (2), Judiciary (1), EHRC (14), CSOs (3), NEBE (1) and UN Women (1).

During the workshop, participants have analyzed the causes and impacts of VAWE, various obstacles of Women Political Participation and amongst those obstacles, electoral violence; key international instruments guiding the conduct of elections in relations to women political participation and VAWE; as well as discussed, the legal framework of the VAWE and the need for the legal and policy reform. Along with understanding the typology of VAWE (types, victims and perpetrators), participants have analyzed the expected roles of various stakeholders in preventing and mitigating VAWE. Below are some opinions expressed by the participants regarding the most useful and valuable aspects of the course:

  • This course is most useful to avoid violence against women in election and to avoid gaps.
  • Identification of the root causes of VAWE.
  • It is good to know about women political participation and solutions on how to solve those barriers and also to give idea to legislators.
  • The group discussions and facilitators additional comments/feedback on topic of VAWE clearly expressed the concept of what VAWE is.
  • I think the whole course is useful for our country, but to be more specific, the major obstacles to women participation in electoral process seems more important.
  • It is interactive learning process which is important, especially in issues that arises from workshop participants are useful.
  • It makes me to know more about violation committed against women during election.
  • All aspects of the course are useful for our work, but VAWE prevention mechanisms and interventions of all stakeholders is very important.
  • Showing how to address VAWE specially by identifying the areas of the problem.
  • The participatory methodology is very interesting; I like the way the assignment is framed; Also, the legal framework of VAWE and VAWE on online platform was very interesting.

Overall, the new modality of the BRIDGE workshop provides worthy level of interactivity and participants’ ability to develop new knowledge and skills, while the facilitators’ ability to interact with participants during the group work stays the main challenge (facilitators are supposed to guide participants as they make step-by-step progress).

At the end of the workshop, participants were granted certificates with the electronic signatures of the facilitators.

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