WRAPA attends Zonal Workshop on Enhancing Women’s Participation in the continuous voter registration and collection of permanent voter cards (PVC) by INEC
The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), was in attendance at a Zonal Workshop on Enhancing Women’s Participation in the continuous voter registration and collection of permanent voter cards (PVC), themed: The Role of Civil Society Organizations, North Central Geo-Political Zone- Abuja.
The workshop was put together by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with the support of the European Union (EU) and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and took place on the 20th June, 2018. Also in attendance were, other relevant NGOs and CSOs as well as media organizations.
In recognizing women’s rights as human rights, INEC commits to providing a level playing field for all stakeholders in the delivery of free, fair and credible elections to ensure the participation of for inclusive election.Thus the Commission has stepped up Voter Education activities with emphasis on increasing women participation in the electoral process mostly through sensitization programmes. For voters, especially women to participate effectively; they need to be familiar with the requirements and importance of being on the voter register. In this light, and to sustain the gains so far made, the Commission, which has already carried out workshops in five zones of the country on enhancing participation of women in the Continuous Voter Registration, put together this workshop in Abuja being the final and last zone.
The purpose of this workshop was to to encourage more women to register and collect their PVCs in readiness for the 2019 General Elections and beyond, to sensitize women on their rights and the power of their votes to make a difference in elections. Also, by registering to vote, more women will participate in the electoral process which is important for democracy to thrive in Nigeria.
The North- Central Zone (comprising of FCT, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau) workshop in Abuja, provided INEC the opportunity to engage relevant stakeholders on the need for women to register as voters to enable them participate in the electoral process.
By putting together this workshop, the Commission is also fulfilling its mandate to ensure Women’s participation in political process in the global development agenda as embodied in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal No 5 in particular which enjoins all member states to ensure women’s full effective participation and provide equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.
There were over one hundred (100) participants in attendance at the workshop comprising of CSOs and the Media. Through Presentations and interactive discussions, participants were informed and equipped with the necessary knowledge to enable them encourage more women in their states to register and collect their PVCs in readiness for the 2019 General Election.
At this workshop, the INEC Voter Registration and ICT Departments educated participants with a Step by Step Guide on the CVR Exercise. Key points raised at the workshop included ;
- The fact that Some NGOs, CSOs and Women Radio programs have started working on mobilizing women to partake in the CVR exercise.
- Mentorship and networking is very important – lots of women that get elected do not carry along other women especially the young ones.
- Traditional and New Social Media to be fully utilized to spread the word.
- Women should start seeking for election from the grassroot upwards not from the top.
- For visibility, women need to use the media extensively. The men are always ready to come on Radio or TV Programmes while women give excuses not to appear or are always in a hurry to leave. They need to engage with all media channels/platforms to assist women voices.
- All stakeholders need to embark on aggressive advocacy campaign to media houses and target women in strategic positions in their states.
- Target women in power to come out and sponsor aspirants, jingles and women talk shows to amplifier women voices.
- Women Agenda has to be demanded in every aspect especially by Women Radio/TV Producers and Presenters.
INEC will proceed work on the recommendations and key issues raised at this workshop, while participants will go back to their states and utilize knowledge acquired to encourage more women in their states to register and collect their PVCs in readiness for the 2019 General Election.