Jordanian Youth and Women to Lead the Way in November Elections

Posted on 20 July 2010 by

Coming up in the first week of August, Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan and WLP are launching the second Youth Tech Festival for 150 youth from across Jordan with a focus on preparing youth to participate in upcoming elections in November 2010. I am really excited to see what the outcomes of this year’s Youth Tech Festival will be! Last year’s Youth Tech Festival in Jordan was a resounding success as youth created campaigns and videos to combat violence against women. This year the participating youth will create independent projects with a focus on women’s political participation, reconvening in the fall to share their work and to celebrate. (Make sure to check back to see samples of their work.) It’s pretty amazing to see the creative initiatives these young activists come up with when they are inspired to lead change in their communities.

Jordan Youth Tech Festival  © WLP

Jordan Youth Tech Festival 2009 © WLP

Not only are we working with youth in preparation for upcoming parliamentary elections in November, but WLP and SIGI/J are also partnering to engage women to participate actively as voters and candidates. The comprehensive approach being taken is innovative and an excellent model that we will document and share.

Earlier this year, SIGI/J worked closely with the government on reform of the elections law in Jordan, including meeting with high level government officials and the Prime Minister. While the goal of a 20% quota for women was not achieved, the number of seats allocated to women was doubled to twelve! Not a bad start.

The next phase of our program includes intensive trainings for potential candidates, as well as awareness-raising workshops for voters on the importance of women’s political participation. There will also be a media campaign to support women candidates.

Women are being included from all twelve governorates in Jordan, especially in the rural areas where traditionally women have been influenced to vote according to their familial or tribal allegiances. Because many women who served in the previous parliament were unprepared to lead effectively, the training will focus on building specific skills, including: coalition building, working with media and civil society, public speaking, as well as the technical aspects of legislating. We will, of course, utilize our new political participation manual, Leading to Action, which we launched in April–just in time for elections in several of our partner countries. The manual, by the way, is currently being translated into Arabic, Persian, and Portuguese. Women candidates who win the elections will participate in ongoing sessions to help build their capacity and facilitate mentorship opportunities, so they will be impactful advocates for enhancing women’s rights. We hope to bring you some of their voices along the way.

Make sure to check back for updates on this year’s Youth Tech Festival and elections in Jordan …

More election info:

Jordan-Royal Decree endorses Elections Law

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