Thursday, 28 October. 2021
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Ramallah – 6/4/2021 – MIFTAH, in partnership with the Central Elections Committee (CEC), recently capped off a number of interventions targeting women looking to run in local council elections, as part of its EU-funded “My Voice, My Right” project, which is carried out in the West Bank districts of Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus, East Jerusalem, Jericho and the Jordan Valley, Bethlehem and Hebron. The interventions involved theoretical and practical training workshops to empower women seeking to run in local elections, including current local council members who want to run again the next elections.

The workshops focused on the capacity-building and empowerment of qualified candidates on legal issues and procedures pertaining to local elections, especially campaign management skills. The interventions also included follow-up with targeted activists and members through workshops demonstrating how to prepare media campaigns and how to use social media as an effective tool for reaching voters and networking with relevant parties, particularly the media. The objective of this was to highlight their leadership and community roles in order to increase their chances of reaching decision-making positions. The interventions also boosted the targeted activists’ visibility through social media platforms, including Facebook. Additionally, more space was provided for the women in the media by being hosted on local radio stations.

Beit Kahel local council member, Wafa Atawna, said the training focused on the core message of briefly and directly addressing the public. She maintained the message showed them how to stand and speak before a crowd, handle the media, be mindful of body language and how to manage election campaigns within good governance criteria. “All of this significantly impacted my future approach for running in the next elections for president of the Beit Kahel local council.”

Amal Salah, member of the Dar Salah local council, said the training workshops enriched both her personal knowledge and skills and also strengthened her ability to convey her message to her constituents. “The direct result of the training was that it increased my aspirations to run in the next elections, not as a member of the council, but as its president. Today, I feel I am more qualified for this task. I hope MIFTAH continues to provide us with similar trainings, which we find very beneficial and which have had a huge impact on all of us.”

Furthermore, elections advisor and trainer Fadel Suleiman, said the training’s significance was in its empowerment of women leaders overall and also because it offered candidates information on ways to analyze the political, social and economic reality in their respective locations. More importantly, he maintained, it gave them the means to analyze the needs and concerns of Palestinians amid the accumulating crises, including the coronavirus pandemic, the shortage of water, difficulties in access to waste disposal and sanitation services and debilitated infrastructure in some towns. Suleiman stressed on the importance of the women conveying a message that they have adopted a new and different approach based on participation, good governance, transparency and ongoing communication with citizens to learn their viewpoints on the integrity of provided services.

On her part, project coordinator Hanan Said, said through this project, MIFTAH seeks to support candidates in preparing for the projected 2021 local elections to carry out election campaigns through the use of digital along with audio and visual media. This, she said, was through building the capacities of several women through various media outlets to promote their election campaigns and utilize the various types of media as a platform for raising their voices and promoting their platforms.

The “My Voice, My Right” is part of a group of interventions within MIFTAH’s Elections Support Program through which it seeks to prepare women and young adult leaders to run in general and local elections and to be part of the decision-making process within a democratic climate that promotes the peaceful transition of power.

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