A total of forty – seven women intending candidates and women leaders from 8 provinces in the Solomon Islands are currently taking part in the Solomon Islands Mock Parliament for women at the National Parliament House in Honiara.
The highlight of the four days program will be the Mock women’s Parliament where these forty – seven women will debate a motion on the current Constituency Development Fund on Thursday the 13th of February 2014 in the National Parliament Chamber.
This event which is funded by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and supported by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) and the National Parliament of Solomon Islands has gathered women from Ysabel, Western, Makira, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Temotu, Renbel provinces and representatives from the Honiara city.
This program is aimed at preparing women intending candidates for the Solomon Islands 2014 upcoming National General Elections and Provincial Elections.
Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Sir Allan Kemakeza who officially opened the program said so far only two women were elected to our Parliament and only a few on our Provincial Assemblies, in spite of a number of women who contested in both the National and Provincial elections.
It is because of this that the National Parliament of Solomon Islands together with UNDP and Pacific Forum Secretariat have organized this four day program for women in Solomon islands who intend to contest the 2014 National general Election and women leaders representing the Solomon islands Government, Provincial Assemblies, NGO’s and Churches.
Sir Allan said the aim of this program is to engage women in political developments of the country.
“The National Parliament of Solomon Islands recognizes the need for women’s participation in the democratic process and decision making in our political institutions,” Sir Allan said.
But with the current number of women elected to Parliament, Sir Allan said, “this is a challenge for the Government and other stakeholders to address the issue of women in all levels of decision making in our National and Provincial Governments.”
The program has received regional and national facilitators who will facilitate on various areas of their expertise.
Sir Allan thanked all facilitators for taking time out from their busy schedules to travel to this part of the region to share their knowledge and expertise and to participate in the sessions.
He encouraged all participants to make good use of the one week program since such programs are organized only once or twice in every four years.
The mock parliament for women in Solomon Islands is part of broader UNDP Regional programme.
Previously UNDP has assisted National Parliaments to arrange mock parliaments in PNG, Kiribati, Palau and Marshall Islands.
Participants will be equipped with necessary skills and knowledge of parliamentary procedures, the Electoral Commission, good governance and parliamentary leadership in Solomon Islands, separation of powers (Executive, Judiciary, Legislative) and Parliamentary Committees to name a few.
Participants also have first hand information from various leaders within the Government, the National Parliament Office and representatives from the UNDP in a form of training since Monday to Wednesday before the mock debate on Thursday on a motion on the Constituency Development Fund.
The event is expected to be broadcasted live on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation and TTV on the day. The public is invited to attend.
By JOY ANGI