CDI has long been committed to increasing women’s political representation in the Pacific. Since 2008 our annual regional Women in Politics course has provided emerging women leaders with an opportunity to build skills and networks to boost political participation and representation. We have also worked with local partners to provide highly regarded advisory and training support to women candidates across the region: in the Solomon Islands, in Bougainville and, most recently, in Papua New Guinea.
Our reputation and the value of approach was recognised when in July 2012 we were invited by Vanuatu’s Department of Women’s Affairs and AusAID’s Pacific Leadership Program to contribute training elements to a workshop on Women in Shared Decision Making (WISDM).
CDI Associate Dr Norm Kelly drew on materials developed as part of our women candidate training work in PNG to design short-form training components for a 5-day workshop held in Port Vila from 6 to 10 August. 2012. Dr Kelly was assisted in facilitating the event by three BRIDGE-trained ni-Van facilitators. Session topics included Developing your Message, Fundraising and Budgeting, Public Speaking, Communicating your Message, and Developing your Campaign Plan. Time was also devoted to Vanuatu's Single Non-Transferable Voting system, and to awareness of local cultural practices. Guest speakers in the early part of the workshop included Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini, Opposition Leader Edward Natapei, former President Kalkot Matas Kelekele, Justice Minister Charlot Salwai, and Ralph Regenvanu MP.
The workshop was attended by 18 intending candidates. Most of these women will be standing in October's national election, with a few targeting Vanuatu's municipal and provincial elections (due to be held in January 2013). CDI has previously conducted women candidates training programs in Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
There is currently only one women in Vanuatu's 52-member parliament, and only five women have been elected since Vanuatu's independence in 1980.
See the following links for details on CDI's training work in the region with women candidates: