Naivasha, 28th-30, November, 2011
A three –day workshop BRIDGE ON Gender & elections was conducted in Naivasha, Kenya on 28th – 30 th November, 2011.This module BRIDGE workshop was sponsored by UNDP Global Programme for Electoral Cycle Support(GPECS) and the Nairobi UNDP Country Office.
The workshop brought together officers of UNDP Country Offices, local EMBs representatives and CSOs staff.
The three days intensive training workshop aimed at:
– sensitizing electoral administrators about the importance of women’s empowering and entry points for gender mainstreaming in the electoral process;
– informing civil society organizations and women’s advocacy groups about strategies to promote women’s participation in electoral processes;
– providing tools for all participants to critically assess elections from gender perspective; and
– offering a networking opportunity for women’s advocacy groups.
The participants to the workshop shared experience and noticed that although there are laws which support equal participation to electoral process there are still culural barriers which discriminate women.
The facilitators for this module workshop include:
1. Julie Balington: UNDP Washington
2. Koki Muli: expert facilitator BRIDGE
3. Silaingwana Utoile: responsible of voter education Zimbabwe
4. Marie Pascaline Menono: regional UNDP Adviser in Gender Africa
This workshop focused on three aspects for gender integration in EMBs:
processing aspect: taking into account the different needs of men and women in the design, implementation and evaluation of the electoral process;
participatory aspects: try as much as possible to balance the men and women in the appointment of EMB;
Women’s empowerment: supporting initiatives to improve women’s ability to participate in the electoral process.
Participants in this workshop agreed that obstacles that prevent women to enroll in the electoral role must be removed. The Solutions can be envisaged by EMB to facilitate women to participate in registration. These solutions include:
– provision of mobile registration centers,
– widely disseminate information related to voter registration,
– increasing the number of women in the registration office,
– door to door registration,
– network awareness for women,
– involving women in political parties,
– extending the term of registration,
– ensure security,
The three days workshop of Naivasha was very informative. The experience of women in the electoral process is very important. They must be integrated into the electoral process especially rural women who require a special awareness and financial support to fight against poverty which is a major obstacle to her integration. The law must be respected to protect her against all forms of discrimination.