The United Nations is seeking to empower women candidates ahead of Tanzania’s general elections in October, including by improving their skills in public speaking, media engagement, campaign planning, presentations, community mobilization, advocacy and lobbying.
During workshops conducted throughout September by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), candidates will also learn about women in Tanzanian politics, current political issues surrounding the elections, the roles of Parliament, the House of Representatives and local councils, and relevant election laws, rules and regulations.
Women and men must “join hands to promote equal representation, participation and leadership of women in the political processes and representative institutions,” Ni Sha, UNIFEM’s Deputy Regional Programme Director for East and Horn of Africa, noted in a news release.
Tanzania’s Constitution has allocated 30 per cent of parliamentary seats for women. However, women only accounted for 17 out of 232 contested seats in the last general elections in 2005.
The workshops will be conducted by 30 facilitators from across the country who have already received training from UNIFEM – which is part of the larger, new gender entity known as UN Women – earlier this month.
UNIFEM is also collaborating with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to coach community radio coordinators in the cities of Arusha, Pemba and Unguja in September to spread awareness on voter information to women in remote areas.
Journalists will also be coached to provide fair and equal coverage of female candidates ahead of the 31 October polls, UNIFEM added.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is also providing substantial technical assistance to support the country’s elections through the Elections Support Project 2010.
The project, which began last year, is aimed at helping the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) plan for and manage elements of the electoral process such as voter registration, voter education, coordinating election observers, and communications.