MIFTAH caps off training entitled 'Supporting young women cadres in Palestinian factions to promote their participation in upcoming elections'
MIFTAH recently completed a training workshop entitled “Supporting young women cadres in Palestinian factions to promote their participation in upcoming elections” as part of its program “Promoting political participation of women in public life”, which MIFTAH implements in partnership with the Norwegian Representative Office.
MIFTAH project coordinator Hanan Said, said the three-day training was carried out in all districts (northern, central, southern and the Gaza Strip) in which 60 women participated. The training was conducted by trainers Nibal Thawabteh and Binaz Batrawi, who gave the participants both theoretical and practical training on issues pertaining to election campaigns, how to develop their media capabilities and empowering them to express themselves through their public speeches. Said continued that the training was part of MIFTAH’s interest in promoting the participation of Palestinian women in decision-making positions at the political and social levels in order to better their opportunities for participating in the democratic process.
Promoting media skills
The participants were unanimous on the importance of the information and skills they acquired during the workshop, expressing their request for more similar workshops in the future, with a focus on media skills and discourse.
Fatah Revolutionary Council member Arij Khalili, said that while she felt the training was beneficial, she had wished it had focused more in depth on media skills and discourse and how to stand before the camera and conduct interviews.
Ratiba Natsheh from the “FIDA” Party had similar thoughts. “The training was good overall, but it needed more time to cover the entire file we received from the trainer, in order to into more depth on some of the practical points.” Natsheh, however, said the training was unique in terms of the method employed by the trainers in applying practical and theoretical methods at the same time. “In this sense, the benefit was definitely reaped.” She reiterated that they needed more training in the future that addressed the issues of discourse, body language and developing political programs.”
Participants from the Gaza Strip included Suheir Khader, Fida Handiq from the PFLP, Naima Mheisen and Suheila Nahhal, all of whom are activists. The women all concurred that the training workshop played a major role in expanding the scope of information among women candidates regarding the electoral process and becoming acquainted with its concepts, exclusivities, regulations and phases of the electoral process. They said they also learned about how to prepare an election campaign, election speeches and how to address the public and ultimately how to conduct a successful campaign. This, they said, included teaching candidates how to market themselves and have an impact on their audience. They maintained the workshop taught them new terms such as “political collusion” and citizenship,” and how debates are conducted between candidates and their importance. The training also introduced them to skills that any successful candidate must have, saying the training resulted in more self-confidence for them and stronger communication skills.
On her part, media trainer Nibal Thawabteh said the goal of the training was capacity-building for the candidates for PLC elections, particularly in preparing their electoral platform and increasing their knowledge of the electoral system and procedures. It was also aimed at empowering them with the necessary skills for managing election campaigns, including its procedures, planning, implementation, management, dealing with the public, debates and communicating with the media.
Thawabteh continued, “The importance of the training was also reflected in the fact that it brought together candidates from various locations and parties, which helped them learn about various experiences. This allowed them to analyze the nature of the relationship with the various media outlets in order to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats and to help develop a campaign plan that includes the necessary financial and human resources and a timeframe for its activities. An evaluation and monitoring plan was developed with clear and measurable indicators to follow up on the implementation of the campaign plan and to guarantee that its goals are met. The training also increased the knowledge and skills of the candidates in other aspects of the campaign, including letter-writing, analysis of the political map and conducting debates.”
Meanwhile, media and development trainer and consultant Benaz Batrawi, pointed out that the beneficiaries had all undergone the experience of local council elections. She said they had been trained on preparing electoral programs and managing their campaigns in the media and had acquired skills and knowledge regarding women’s representation in electoral lists, the role and duties of a PLC member, drafting an electoral program in the PLC, ways of utilizing methods of mass communication, writing press releases, organizing press conferences and the specifications of a media spokesperson. The women, Batrawi, continued, also received training in visual and audio media, how to prepare for a talk show, the principles of public debates and utilizing the written media in election campaigns.
Batrawi suggested additional days for training to delve deeper into social media networking in the service of election campaigns and so the candidates can acquire more educational information on the election process through the Central Elections Committee. “The candidates in the training workshop showed enthusiasm and passion for running in the elections, with some discrepancies among them. Some need more empowerment than others,” she maintained.