The art of public speaking, debating and formulating policies were just some of the topics up for discussion at a recent workshop for aspiring women politicians in Tunisia.
Pictured are some of the participants who completed the workshop on 'Women's strategies for stronger participation in political parties and the policy-making process.
Twenty-five women from across Tunisia, representing nine of the country’s political parties, attended the two-day regional workshop, organised by the UK’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) from 9-11 February 2013.
The cross-party workshop was facilitated by trainers from the UK’s Conservative and Labour parties. It
followed a national workshop for women held in Tunis in October 2012.
A major topic up for debate during the workshop was the safety of women on public transport. Participants developed a policy initiative and then held a debate on how best to address the issue. Other topics included public speaking skills and working with civil society organisations to better access
quality research and data, and use this to improve policy development.
Picture caption: Participants at a cross-party workshop for women in Tunisia in February 2013.
Speaking about the value of the workshop, participants stressed the importance of creating a meeting place where women of different political parties can get together to exchange views and experiences,
especially rural women.
Commenting on the workshop, WFD’s CEO Linda Duffield said the high attendance demonstrated the participants’ commitment to working on issues of concern to women. “The focus was on supporting and empowering women from all parties to ensure their voices are heard, and to develop their skills in identifying and developing policies. This type of technical training and exchange of experience are building blocks towards strengthening democracy and political dialogue,"
The workshop was held as part of WFD’s three-year programme in Tunisia, from 2012-15, on Supporting
multi-party democracy and the National Constituent Assembly in Tunisia.
WFD has been working with the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly since 2011, mostly on financial oversight and communication.
Its new, three year programme has two components. The first is to support the country’s National
Constituent Assembly during the transitional period. WFD will be supporting the Assembly with technical training on legislative drafting, analysis and financial oversight, and on strengthening relationships with Supreme Audit Institutions. Exchanges between members of the Assembly and the UK Parliament will support the sharing of knowledge and experience. Building the skills of parliamentary staff in writing reports and preparing information for select committees is another focus.
The second component is to work with aspiring women politicians and members of political parties on a
multi-party and party-to-party basis, to build their technical skills in policy development, communication and engaging with women and youth. Previous activities organised by WFD have included a national,
cross-party workshop for women held in Tunis in October 2012, and a cross-party workshop in November 2012 focused on youth members of political parties, which 50 young people attended. Another youth-focused workshop is scheduled for March 2013. A two-day party-to-party workshop was also held earlier in February 2013 by the UK’s Smaller Parties.
WFD has been working in the Middle East and North Africa since 2006. It has responded to many
requests for technical assistance in strengthening democratic institutions, reforming governance and working with local partners. WFD has been delivering programmes in Egypt (until June 2012), Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Iraq, as well as regional programmes focusing on women and youth participation in the political process. It currently has field offices in five MENA countries – Iraq, Jordan,
Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco.
For more information about the programme please contact Dina Melhem, WFD's Head of MENA Programmes, on 0207 7340 1894. For media enquiries please contact Tracey Edginton on 0207 7340 1883.