….UNDP Gender Consultant
Liberian political parties have been called upon to ensure that women issues are included in their manifestos if they are to be reflected in their policy if they eventually ascend to state power.
The call was made in Monrovia on Monday May 16, 2011 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Gender Consultant, Njoike Ndungu when she addressed a forum of political parties under the theme, “Genderizing Political Parties Manifestos.”
Madam Ndungu, a former Kenyan Parliamentarian, said, a party’s manifestos is intended to inform government policy when the party is elected into power, as such, it should be based on a philosophy. But regrettably, in Africa, she intoned, most parties run on personalities cults and not “institutional values”.
The Kenyan Consultant said, when manifestos are gender sensitive, they reflect and highlight such issues as “child health care, reproductive health care, food security, security and crime, violence against women, water and sanitation, shelter, income generation, literacy and law and order.
She revealed that when manifestos are not gender sensitive and men driven, they reflect such issues as roads, tourism, education, employment, agriculture, defense and foreign affairs.
Coaching of political parties on how to gender rate their manifestos, Njoike said, question such as, “does the party mention gender or does it have substantive content regarding how issues affect men and women differently”, should be soberly asked by the party officials every time they evolve a political party manifesto.
On how a party its manifesto more substantive and not vague, she stressed that it should explain in details what and how it hopes to attain its development goals as outlined in the manifesto.
Political parties were then drilled on how to audit the party and established area in the party where women issues can be mainstreamed in the parties’ manifestos.
Earlier, the Executive Director of the NEC, Mr. John K. Langley, updated the parties on current activities unfolding at the Commission including the impending national referendum, the electoral district delineation and the entire civic/voters’ education initiative put in vogue for all the upcoming electoral events.
Mr. Langley urged political parties to begin bringing women issues on their agenda and ensure that women play key roles in political party decision making in the country.
The dialogue with the political parties is a precursor to a five-day workshop for the leadership of political parties slated to run from May 23-27, 2011 under the theme: “Genderizing Political Parties Manifestos”. That will be followed by an incisive workshop for female aspirants from political parties. Towards that end, a week long Training of Trainers (TOT) was conducted at the Baptist Theological Seminary outside Monrovia.