Improving women’s participation in PNG politics: learning from recent success: CDI Makes a Difference to Women’s Political Representation | DevPolicy Blog | 21 June 2013
A recent blog post from Anthony Swan and Grant Walton from the Development Policy Centre notes that CDI’s program of Women Candidates Training before the 2012 national elections in PNG ‘shows how donors can make a difference’ in encouraging increased women’s political representation.
Swan and Walton note that the Governor of PNG’s Eastern Highlands, Julie Soso, credits ‘external support from the UNDP’s Practice Parliament (PP) training and the Centre for Democratic Institution’s (CDI) inaugural PNG Women Candidates Training Strategy (WCT)’ as having ‘helped her electoral prospects. Both training programs were organised by the PNG Office for the Development of Women, with the WCT funded through the Australian Aid Program. The training was open to all PNG women (and their campaign managers in the case of WCT).’ Governor Soso was one of three women candidates elected to the Parliament, another of whom, Loujaya Toni, also participated in the WCT.
The blog also quotes CDI Program Manager, Luke Hambly, who argues that WCT was successful because it ‘responded to demand from female candidates. Rather than trying to recruit women into politics, the program supported women who were already interested in becoming candidates’ and focussed on ‘how women could practically respond to the difficulties of standing for office and campaigning in PNG. The program showed women how to enrol as a candidate and identify their constituency. Acknowledging women’s limited financial resources, it highlighted the importance of efficiently raising money and using it well. The WCT also provided strategies for meaningfully engaging constituents as opposed to buying their vote.’
PNG academic and CDI Associate Dr Orovu Sepoe is also cited in the blog, saying that although some donor assistance in the past ‘resulted in widespread accusations of neo-colonial cultural interference … the example of the WCT program shows that engagement with women candidates can support internal demand and avoid imposing a policy agenda’.
CDIs continuing support for increased women’s political representation in PNG has also recently been endorsed by the PNG-based blogger Emmanuel Narokobi. Posting on the The Masalai Blog, he endorses the work done by CDI, in partnership with PNG’s Office for the Development of Women, to develop and distribute a Campaign Handbook for women wanting to contest the 2013 local level government elections in PNG.
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