By Rositta Liosi – EMTV Online
There are a few or no women in parliament in most Pacific countries – women have never comprised more than 10% of the membership of Pacific national parliaments.
Samoa, currently has three women in parliament which ranks its political participation of women at 126 out of 138 countries, which is among the lowest in the world.
The Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IWWS) Programme was launched in March 2015, and is aimed at encouraging more women in Samoa to stand for positions in parliament.
Under this project the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women in partnership, with the Government of Samoa, have organised a number of training sessions for political candidates, as well as journalists, NGOs and political parties.
The IWWS programme has strengthened the capacities of its participants in areas such as communication and engagement of voters through different forms of media, the planning and running of a successful election campaign, how to become a good parliamentarian by providing services to the constituents after the election, and debating on the role MPs should have in the national budget process.
As part of the programme, a Practice Parliament will be held to support female candidates, especially since the elections in Samao are scheduled to be held in March of this year.
The Practice Parliament will include a debate for the introduction of a Practice Bill and a question time session with the Honourable Speaker, Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt.