On 12 January 2014, the Iraqi Al-Amal Association and Hivos started a Train-the-Trainer workshop in Erbil for Iraqi women candidates running in the upcoming federal parliamentary elections in April. This training is being conducted within the framework of a new project on “Women’s Power in Politics” (WPP), implemented by Al-Amal and Hivos through March 2015. The project aims at enabling female candidates to run successful election campaigns and provides post-election support to the new MPs to perform effectively in the House of Representatives.
27 trainers from all Iraqi provinces are participating in the six-day workshop, receiving training in gender concepts, the political and electoral system in Iraq, the development of women’s political participation, communication skills with community and media, and how to build and run electoral campaigns.
Two specialist trainers are also participating. From the Netherlands, Ms Anne Graumans, a member of the Amsterdam City Council until 2010 and specialised in political campaigns, techniques of dialogue and handling and communicating with the media. From Iraq, Ms Ilham Makki Hammadi, specialised in gender, violence against women and political participation of women.
Mr. Jamal Al-Jawahiri, member of the Board of Trustees at the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, welcomed the participants to the workshop and stressed the importance of the project for promoting and developing women’s political participation in building a democratic system in Iraq based on the principle of equality among all Iraqis without discrimination. Mr. Marcel van der Heijden, programme manager of the Women Power in Politics programme at Hivos, pointed out in his welcoming statement that this project is part of a broader Hivos programme that focuses on developing and furthering women’s political participation in various countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
This workshop will enable participants to train 1000 women candidates to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections in all provinces and to organise community debates with voters in which they present their personal programmes and the platforms of their blocs or parties. Workshop participants will also teach candidates how to strengthen their linkage with media professionals. Once elected, the new women MPs will continue receiving support to improve their political performance and will get opportunities to exchange experiences with Dutch women parliamentarians and meet up with other Iraqi political parties.