Solomon Islands Parliament staff completes women in politics training

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11 December 2011

Two National Parliament staff successfully completed a two weeks training program on, “Women in Politics” at the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) of the Australian National University from November 23 to December 1, 2011. Lisi Vave, National Parliament Human Resources Manager and Joy Rikimae, Director Parliament Media Unit, were part of a team of four women from the Solomon Islands who were selected among the hundreds of applicants for the training.

The other two were Jennifer Hunu'ehu, Senior Administrator, Interim Solomon Islands Green Party and Alice Aote'e, Webmaster, Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour &Immigration.  All four women are members of the newly established ‘Young Women’s Parliamentary Group.’ Mrs Rikimae said the training was highly relevant to their scope of duties within the National Parliament Office as well as to Solomon Islands’ current situation as a whole where zero number of women is a Member of Parliament. She said the training was very timely due to the fact that women in the Solomon Islands need to prepare well before taking a career in politics.

“Especially when seeing Papua New Guinea, our closest Melanesian brother passed the 22 reserve seats for women in their Parliament. Thus, for sure Solomon Islands will follow suit.”

She said, “We as a group are prepared to share the wealth of knowledge and resources we have gained, especially through the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group (YWPG), for which we are members of and also through our normal duties in the Parliament Office by exploring avenues where aspiring women leaders can be assisted to have their voices heard in Parliament.

“Not only that, but as a group they would want to also discuss with men and women who have worked so hard over the years to get women into our National Parliament.”

Mrs Rikimae said the training covered a wide range of topics. “Topics on why it is important to have women in Parliament, Electoral systems and their impact on women; Political parties and women; approaches to getting women into Parliament; Resource mobilisation before and during campaigns; developing strategies for campaign; becoming a media spokesperson; Temporary special measures and engaging with the Civil Society.”

Solomon Islands participation has increased this year as there is greater need for women to increase their participation in the local and national politics. YWPG is a resource for enhancing policies involving women’s participation in all sectors. It provide venue for young women who aspire to be leaders to have their voices heard in Parliament concerning issues affecting the nation. It aims to get young Women from various sectors to support each other to reach their full potential. It is also a resource tool to enhance voice of women in Parliament through capacity building. YWPG is a newly established group designed to be an agent for positive change by helping to bring key issues for Solomon Islands women directly to the floor of Parliament for debate and remedial action.

The increasing desire of many Solomon Islanders to see the role of women in public life, coupled with the failure of the present political system to accommodate that aspiration led the Speaker of the National Parliament, Sir Allan Kemakeza and National Project Director of the United Nations Development Programs Parliamentary Strengthening Project to inaugurate the YWPG.

[Solomon Star News]

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