Two orientation workshops focusing on law-making and the budgeting process were conducted for Members of Parliament (MPs) on 5-6 December and 9-10 December 2011. A total of 103 MPs attended, including 19 female MPs. The orientation sessions focused on law-making and the budget processes. On 12-13 December, another training session followed for 54 parliamentary staff, including 4 women.
By the end of the training, law-making and the budget processes were well understood by MPs. The training also provided the opportunity for new MPs to share their experiences in Parliament and better familiarise themselves with parliamentary processes. Beyond the original focus on law-making and budget processes, MPs from the ruling coalition and the opposition debated on major challenges hindering their functions and mandate as parliamentarians
and presented their views on how to improve their role as the legislative branch of the government.
As for parliamentary staff, a manual was produced Livret pour les assistants parlementaires [PDF]) and the session enhanced their knowledge and competencies on the main functions of MPs, their own role as parliamentary support staff and the various types of assistance, personnel and skills involved in parliament work. Participants also used the opportunity of the training session to discuss their working conditions with the Clerk of Parliament and other decision-makers of the National Assembly.
EISA, in consultation with CSOs, identified the need for civil society organisations to be able to engage constructively on issues of common concern with elected representatives. To facilitate this process, EISA organised a workshop on 2-3 September aimed at assisting CSOs in their engagement with Parliament. 23 participants from CSOs attended the session, including 11 women. The workshop provided the opportunity for participants to share their past experience in engaging with elected leaders in parliament and discuss avenues for improving this interaction, especially through parliamentary committees and existing MP networks in the country. Participants were also given the opportunity to express their views on the conduct of EISA's parliamentary programme and suggest additional modules/sections for inclusion in the CSOs' training manual.