NIMD supports activities to empower representatives of marginalized and minority groups to become active participants at the policy-making table. In Latin America, Africa and the South Caucasus Region, for example, we empower female candidates during elections and provide training in political skills, media engagement, networking and political campaigning. We do that in close collaboration with women’s wings and electoral committees. The result is an increase in the number of women, young people and ethnic representatives on electoral lists, and more diverse legislatures.

In Honduras we have set up an NIMD Political Academy that provides career development for female politicians. We have also set up a monitoring system to track their contributions to gender-sensitive policies and legislation.

In Kenya, Colombia and Tunisia, NIMD provides technical support to political parties to assess and reform their internal rules and regulations. In particular, we encourage male leaders to reform discriminatory internal party rules and regulations.

Strengthening women in political parties in Colombia

In Colombia, violence against women has increased considerably in recent years. According to the newspaper El Tiempo, every six hours a Colombian woman is abused due to the armed conflict in the country, and a daily average of 245 women are victims of some type of violence. While there has been very little documentation of the violence used to impede women’s participation in politics in Colombia, violence against female leaders of social movements is common.

Since 2011 UNDP, NIMD and International IDEA have worked with women and political parties in Colombia via the Democratic Strengthening programme. At the individual level, this work has included supporting the nomination of candidates, the promotion of women in legislative benches and commissions, and the creation of meeting spaces for elected women and social organizations. More than 1500 women took part in these activities.

The political parties received support to assess and reform their internal rules and regulations.