Effective Communication Skills for Women Parliamentarians

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A two days workshop on ‘Effective Communication Skills Workshop for Women Parliamentarians’ with the aim to foster better understanding, visibility and competency of Women Parliamentarians in the media was conducted from 16th September until 17th September 2016 at Nagarkot. Media Advocacy Group (MAG), with the support of UNDP/PSP, jointly organized the workshop with a total of 22 women parliamentarians with diverse participation from different political parties and ethnicities. The program was conducted as an extension to recommendations and demand for such programs received during the pilot program on effective communication skills. The workshop was highly recommended as due to gender imbalance in visibility among men and women parliamentarians. It was followed by a series of sessions which explored the challenges, concerns and solutions in relation to media dealing for Women Parliamentarians.

Ms. Babita Basnet facilitated the program by highlighting the importance of relationship of the Parliamentarians as well the media to better disseminate as well as to gain better insight into political agendas respectively. Additionally, the program objectives, schedule and the overall vision for the collaboration between MAG and UNDP-PSP was shared. The workshop was assisted by three experts in their respective fields of media and communication; Dr. Mahendra Bista (President, Federation of Nepalese Journalist), Mr. Dev Prakash Tripathi (Former TV talk show host and Chief Editor, Ghatana ra Bichaar) and Dr. Sudhamshu Dahal (Assistant Professor on Strategic Communication, Kathmandu University). The sessions were divided into three parts with a brief background to Media Rights:

  • Media Rights: Explored the rights guaranteed to the public by the media. The parliamentarians highly commended on its grave importance and to have learned that public are guaranteed of Media Rights
  • Session 1: Women Parliamentarian’s reach, situation and opportunities in Information Technology  and Social Media
  • Practical Session: Use of social media
  • Session 2: Relationship between media and Women Parliamentarians
  • Session 3: Comprehensive guide to Interviews
  • Practical Session: Parliamentarians were interview in an actual studio setting

(Every session followed question and answer rounds)

These sessions were specifically designed to assist women parliamentarians to utilize the present media platform or independently use social media tools to ensure visibility amongst the voter mass.

Furthermore, the Women Parliamentarians showed keen interest on learning about the role, structure and policies of the Press Council in case of violations by the journalists. They were made aware of the guidelines to procedure on appeals, media law and rights that are presently available. Also, they demanded programs where both media and the parliamentarians could jointly discuss, sort out and interact on the way forward. Nonetheless, Mr. Mahendra Bista further requested the women parliamentarians to approach him in case of any concerns relating to media violations.

The closing ceremony was followed by Ms. Sophie Kemkhadze (Deputy Country director, UNDP) who embarked upon the importance of empowered Women Parliamentarians to better foster prominent presence in the Parliament. Additionally, she reflected on the role of women parliamentarians in implementation Sustainable Development goals. All in all, the two days program achieved the expected outcomes through collaborative efforts of the women parliamentarians, resource persons and the overall team.

Feedback from the Parliamentarians:

Honorable Ms. Tara Rai (CPNUML)

“I would like thank MAG and UNDP-PSP for providing us with the opportunity to gain insight on social media and the media for Women Parliamentarians. It is evident that the reach of Women Parliamentarians in social media is limited and programs as such will definitely help better articulate our message through the media. We were also able to understand how to deal with harassing, vulnerable and unfamiliar circumstances while dealing with media. Moreover, we realized there is more to learn and further exposure is needed as Women Parliamentarians. I am very happy that I could finally find my lost twitter account and I have already tweeted twice. All the Parliamentarians in the Parliament must be encouraged to participate in such workshop”.

Honorable Ms. Yashodha Lama (Dalit Janajati Party Nepal, Dhanusha)

“We were clarified about gaps and issues of importance regarding relationship between Media and Women Parliamentarians. I , as a parliamentarian, didn’t know how to use twitter or even email which clearly show the need for technological advancement among Nepalese women. Although it doesn’t seem like a big development or achievement but such small instances definitely plays a big role for wider good. Also, I got the chance to experience television interview scenario which was not possible otherwise. I am very thankful for the organizing team for giving us the opportunity to learn so much in such less time”.