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Bosnia and Herzegovina Women’s Caucus Strengthens its Lobby and Advocacy Skills
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina– Since its inception in March 2013, the women’s caucus in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has made significant strides in its organizational development and impact within Parliament. To date, the caucus has worked to draft amendments to increase sanctions against perpetrators of domestic violence, change the age limit to be legally considered a minor and harmonizing compensation for maternity and paternity leave across the country.
To further assist with the development of the caucus, WDN, in coordination with the International Republican Institute (IRI), hosted a two-day workshop focused on lobbying and advocacy. In addition to strengthening the advocacy and lobbying skills of the caucus, the workshop provided an opportunity for participants to hear from members of the women’s parliamentary caucuses of Finland and Macedonia.
While explaining that in increasing women’s political participation “it is not the figures that count, it is when you change the mindset” that makes the most difference, Elizabeth Nauclér, member of the Parliament of Finland, gave an overview of women’s roles in Finnish politics, a country that currently has 42.5 percent of its parliamentary seats held by women. She also shared examples of weekly outreach strategies conducted by the women members of Parliament, emphasizing tothe Bosnia and Herzegovinawomen’s caucus members that outreach “is an essential element of politics.”
Tanja Tomic, a WDN member and member of the Parliament of Macedonia, explained in detail the structure and functionality of the Macedonia Women’s Parliamentary Club and discussed the importance of working together to build consensus among the caucus members to achieve results. In addition, she recounted her own experience of building internal and external support networks, emphasizing that she found support in WDN, stating, “Being a part of WDN, I’ve learned a lot from women around the world. Before joining WDN in 2006, I never thought of running for Parliament…We all need support of someone who believes in us, and I found that in WDN.”
Ensuring that the lessons learned are immediately applied in a pragmatic way, Milos Djajic, director and chief executive of the Center of Modern Skills, provided caucus members with an in-depth understanding of the aspects of a public advocacy campaign. Participants then identified objectives for their advocacy campaign, developed an advocacy map of stakeholders and a strategy for approaching relevant actors.
As part of this campaign, the caucus members discussed the use of technology to aid their outreach efforts. Adding to the effectiveness of the caucus’ strategic action plan, Zana Karkin, President of doIT, discussed the caucus’ website, which will serve as a channel for informing the public of their work.
Closing the workshop Nauclér praised the caucus for their achievements, stating, “I think the women’s caucus has a special role to play in transitioning countries as it is crucial that…women have common ideas and goals, women can be the bridge builders.”