For more than a century, a thirst for gender equality has been growing around the world. Women want equal rights – they wish to be treated fairly, and on a par with their male counterparts, even as they acknowledge inherent differences between the sexes. However, many challenges and barriers to equality remain – and to ensure continuous progress, dynamic and innovative efforts must be undertaken in societies around the world.
Since fall of the Taliban and the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan, many efforts have been undertaken to provide paths for women to re-engage in society and the government. Although women are now represented in all three branches of the Afghan government – and some serve in the highest levels of the bureaucracy – many women are still significantly underserved. To make further progress, they need the ongoing support of the donor community and innovative media and communication outreaches that speak to women’s interests and well-being.
Our goal was to strengthen the communication and media relations skills of 110 female politicians. To accomplish this goal, TriVision and its partner organization CPAU conducted a comprehensive and highly professional training program. This training was funded by USAID, with a grant entitled: Media and Communication Training for Women Politicians/ Activists. The purpose of this program was to enable female politicians to connect to their constituents, use media more effectively and enhance their ability to produce and disseminate timely, accurate and high quality multi-media information to national and international audiences. Another goal was train women to better leverage local media when sharing information about their achievements.
TriVision used highly skilled media pundits to develop a comprehensive curriculum that was specifically tailored to the needs of female politicians in Afghanistan. The topics chosen for the curriculum were identified during the needs assessment conducted with the training participants. Both the training participants and trainers were selected after a thorough vetting process that determined their eligibility for this program. The participants came from all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Due to security concerns, the training was conducted in five TriVision training hubs strategically located in five main cities across the country.
As a result of this innovative program, female politicians/advocates were better able to engage in proactive, effective and truthful media outreach efforts. Second, advocates enhanced their ability to produce high quality PR products that effectively showcased and communicated their messages. Third, politicians could more capably deliver accurate news stories and PR messages – thus improving their rapport with their constituents, the general public, and key decision-makers. Finally, participants improved their ability to conduct effectively run social media campaigns.