Gender and Elections in Pretoria

24 May 2012

IDEA trains Portuguese Speaking electoral administrators from African EMBs in a 5-day “Gender and Elections” BRIDGE held in Pretoria South Africa course 23-27 April 2012.

As part of its ongoing project in Africa International IDEA organised a 5-day BRIDGE course in Portuguese on “Gender and Elections” which was held from 23-27 April 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa

The training is part the IDEA project “BRIDGE Capacity-Building Training for Election Management Bodies in Africa: Support to the IDEA – African Union Joint Activity Plan 2011 – 2013”. It is funded by the Australian Government through AusAID.

The BRIDGE workshops organized by IDEA in cooperation with AusAID for the Lusophone countries allows for a space of inter-cultural experiences and the reach of common ground among Portuguese speaking electoral experts. For this purpose materials were translated to Portuguese and a team of Portuguese speaking Facilitators with experience in electoral related issues was gathered to facilitate the workshops.

The Bridge facilitation team which prepared and delivered the course comprised of:

• Zefanias Matsimbe (Consultant; Accrediting facilitator; South Africa – Mozambican)
• Helga Marques (Consultant; Workshop facilitator, Portugal – Portugal)
• Elsa Monteverde (Semi-accredited Facilitator; São Tomé e Príncipe – São Tomé e Príncipe)

At the end of the workshop Elsa Monteverde successfully completed her field work component of the accreditation process and was awarded certificate for full Accreditation as BRIDGE facilitator.

There were sixteen participants from election management bodies in 4 Lusophone countries, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé & Príncipe who attended the course. Cape Verde and Angola were invited but could not send participants because most of the EMB staff were busy with other duties.

The workshop commenced with an opening ceremony held on 31 October 2011 the following were the keynote speakers:
1. Masechaba Mdaka,  Assistant Programme Officer, International IDEA
2. Ms Anita Menete – Programme Manager, AusAid, Pretoria
3. Mr Guy Cyrille – Political Affairs Officer, DEAU, African Union Commission

The exercises included the elaboration of a matrix of obstacles for women participation in the PALOP region and of strategies to overcome such obstacles and increase participation. The participant’s knowledge, electoral experience and capacity to share that experience contributed significantly to the success of the course implementation.

The agenda provided for a variety of topics that enabled the participants to understand in-depth the issue of Gender related to their work environment and main challenges it poses. It also enabled for a contextualization of the topic, linking their personal experience to that of other countries and to the broader international context, and the listing of barriers that women and men face as well as strategies to overcome them.

The IDEA BRIDGE project has a monitoring and evaluation component that is designed to evaluate the actual impact of BRIDGE training when participants get back home to their organisations.

The current M&E system is being piloted for the first time in this project. It is an online system and allows participant to log onto the system to complete each component of the M&E process. In addition project staff and facilitators are also able to log onto the online system and see each participant’s profile and M&E components.

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