Samoa: Building capacities of women candidates for the 2016 elections

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Twelve women who intend to run for 2016 elections are attending a four-day training aiming at building their skills for running in the elections effectively and becoming a good parliamentarian.

The training, held in Apia this week, is part of the Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS), a joint initiative between UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Samoa and the Australian Government.

Sessions are focused on a wide range of topics such as: preparing to be a candidate, communicating and engaging with the voters through the use of different media and planning the election campaigns. During this week, the training is providing the participants the right tools to develop a successful campaign plan that they will implement leading up to next year elections.

Participants come from different communities and were identified through the work of Samoa Ala Mai who has been organising, deploying, finding out and encouraging women to run for Parliament both in Upolu and Savai’i since 2014 to present. Some women have already been in the media publicly declaring their intention and many of these attended the first training that was run for political parties on August 5th this year.

Elizabeth Weir, a senior international parliamentary expert, is facilitating the sessions. She has extensive experience in training parliamentarians, political party activists and candidates in many countries of the world. Weir has worked in transitional and post-conflict democracies in Central and East Asia, the Balkans, East, West and North Africa, the South Pacific and Northern Ireland.  As a former parliamentarian, senior government official and political party leader in Canada, she also brings an exceptional range of experience to her work as a trainer.

Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, IPPWS Coordinator, said: “It is incredibly fulfilling seeing the commitment of those women, their interest in the sessions we are holding and their enthusiasm about practicing those new skills.” And she also informed that: “The IPPWS is preparing a hand book that will be launched next November. The handbook is full of information, guidance and support that candidates can usefully make use of.”

UN Women’s Country Programme Coordinator for Samoa, Mele Maualaivao, highlighted that: “Exposing women to new strategies for campaigning and engaging with the media is key to facilitating their success in being elected”.

Media Enquiries:

Mele Maualaivao
Country Programme Coordinator
Phone: +685 23670 Ext 54

Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga
IPPWS Coordinator
Phone: +685 23670 Ext 65