EISA Madagascar: Women's representation in politics


Webinar: Transformative leadership and the balanced representation of women and men in decision-making bodies: what practices to ensure their sustainability?

18 Jun 2021

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Friday 18 Jun 2021; 12:00 (GMT+3)
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In March, the Generation Equality Forum (FGE), which was launched in Mexico City, called for increased acceleration with regards to the establishment of coalitions between women and men that are aimed at identifying and carrying out concrete, ambitious and transformative actions with the aim of achieving gender parity and equality. In light of this, the Coalition Movement and Feminist Leadership aims to bring togther different voices, including EISA's, that will inform, exchange, express their points of view and their experiences on how to achieve a fair and equitable female representation in different arenas.

The concept note can be read here

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Women's empowerment, development and environmental conservation

15 Mar 2021

Women remain under-represented in the various public decision-making spheres, including environmental matters and Madagascar has yet to close its political empowerment gap. To date, only 17.7% of the political power gap has been closed. The national topic chosen by the government for the celebration of the 2021 International Women's Day was related to women's resiliency and empowerment in a healthy and sustainable environment.

As part of the celebration of International Women's day, EISA held a networking event, to connect about 25 environmental experts, researchers, academia, members of parliament, members of civil society organisation, and the media, discussed the role of women in sustainable resources management. The event was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Despite the specific vulnerabilities of girls and women to environmental degradation, their experiences, skills, and contributions to development and environmental conservation are not yet sufficiently recognized and valued. The opportunity provided by the Covid-19 pandemic to "build back better" must be seized to highlight their contributions, strengthen their voices, and contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for their development at all levels.

Recommendations to improve and increase women's participation in climate and environmental decision-making processes were formulated. The event was followed by a published call to action in written and a video format, to decision-makers and women citizens for more female participation and representation at all levels of decision. The event took place in Antananarivo on 15 March 2021 and was live-streamed on Facebook (see video top right); 2715 people watched the live streaming on Facebook and the video has been viewed 800 times on YouTube.

Consultation of political parties on better representation of women in party leadership

Feb-Mar 2021

As part of the gender audit of political parties, EISA Madagascar consulted the political parties represented in the National Assembly, presenting them with the gender audit tool and its purpose to enhance the equal participation of men and women in political parties. Twelve political parties, including their main leaders such as former President Ravalomanana, the Speaker of the National Assembly and other high political figures, were consulted during February and March 2021. All expressed great interest in the tool and agreed to use it, with the support of EISA.

Women's representation in national legislatures or executives is determined by a wide range of factors including political parties, who are considered as gatekeepers of democracy and women's political participation. This makes it important to ensure that political parties operate more democratically in creating a more equitable playing field for men and women. The consultations will be followed by a workshop to introduce party members to the use of the gender audit questionnaire and assist them in preparing their individual plan of actions to tackle gender inequalities.

Click for full infographic
Audit of women in political parties in the National Assembly

Feb-Mar 2021

EISA Madagascar conducted a gender audit of political parties in the National Assembly in Februry and March of 2021.

The audit found that 67% of parties recognised the need to have structures and policies that promote female participation. Of the 12 parties, only one was founded by a woman and only three political parties are lead by women.

See the data presented in an infographic.


Roundtable to increase women's participation in politics

4 Mar 2020

As part of the national celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, EISA supported the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Promotion of women in organising a roundtable on March 4 on the right of women to participate in public life. The celebration was held in Toliara, one of the provinces of Madagascar where women's participation is the lowest. The roundtable was an opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of women's participation in decision making and to discuss the barriers that prevent women from fully engaging in politics in that province, by traditional leaders, local government officials, and members of women's organisations.

Joint recommendations on actions to improve women's participation in public life in the province were drafted by participants to be included to the overall strategy of the Ministry. EISA's contribution to the yearly celebration of International Women's day is to strategically place EISA as the point of reference regarding the promotion of women's participation in politics.


Updating of the national policy on gender

December 2018

The support to the Ministry of Population and Gender Promotion started on September and the draft of the national gender policy was finalised in December 2018 and will be followed by a national action plan in 2019. This support will enable the country to have an up to date national policy that should be a basis to advocate for the adoption of legal reforms on gender equality.

Review: Women's organizations' gains in women's participation in public life

8-9 Aug 2018

Participants at the review workshop, 8-9 August 2018, Antsirabe

A workshop to review the achievements of women's organizations in promoting women's participation in public life Twelve female heads of CSOs working to promote women's participation in public life attended a workshop in Antsirabe August 8 and 9.

Before the workshop, an organisational audit of the CSOs structure and human and financial resources was conducted and the results of the presented during the meeting. The audit also included recommendations on how they could effectively improve women participation.

EISA Madagascar's work lauded by Parliamentarian

10 Mar 2018

The President of the Network of Women Parliamentarians, MP Rahantasoa Lydia, praised EISA Madagascar for the work it had done to improve women's representation in Parliament. Speaking to the press during the celebration of International Women's Day 2018 in Antananarivo on 10 March she said, "Thanks to training provided by EISA since 2013, the number of women MPs has risen from 13 in 2013 to 29 at the moment".

In the News

FANO DERANIAINA 2018 "Faible taux de la participation des femmes dans les sphères décisionnelles de la vie publique", Madagascar-Tribune.Com, 12 mars, [www] http://www.madagascar-tribune.com/Faible-taux-de-la-participation,23677.html (accessed May 2018).

Celebration of International Women's Day at the National Assembly

9 Mar 2018

As part of the celebration of International Women's Day, EISA and the Liaison Office of the African Union in Madagascar held a seminar on 9 March 2018, with the parliamentary women's caucus from the National Assembly on strategies to reach the quota of 30% in the participation of women in public life by 2020. Women MPs and parliament's staff during the 2018 International Women's Day Seven women MPs from the different party benches in the lower house facilitated the panel. Two hundred and six parliamentary staff members of the National Assembly also attended the seminar. This seminar has allowed MPs to not only share best practices on increasing women's participation in the next legislative elections but also to commit to reaching the 30% quota by 2020.

EISA also participated in the celebration organised by the Ministry of Population on 10th March on a discussion on the evolution of women's participation in public life in Madagascar, facilitated by the head of the caucus of women MPs together with the EISA Madagascar country representative.


Inégalités hommes-femmes dans le travail parlementaire

Novembre 2015

Cette revue de l'intégration des problématiques d'égalité hommes-femmes dans les lois votées par l'Assemblée nationale s'inscrit dans le cadre de l'accompagnement technique à la Commission Genre et Développement: Revue Rapport


Report on gender mainstreaming workshop
Report on gender mainstreaming Parliament disseminated

December 2014

On 3 October and 2 December 2014, EISA organized dissemination workshops for the Report on gender mainstreaming in the legislative process in Madagascar (Prise en compte de l'égalité Hommes-Femmes dans le processus législatif à Madagascar).

The two meetings, held in Antananarivo, aimed to share to stakeholders, including MPs, ministries, Civil Society and UN bodies working in the gender field, key findings on gender equality issues in the Parliament. The dissemination which was officially launched by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, who praised EISA-Madagascar's initiatives to promote greater women's participation in national governance, was an opportunity to provide, for the first time in the country, a check-list to assess gender mainstreaming in a particular bill or any draft law. By giving a specific tool to MPs, EISA contributes to the capacity building of the Parliament in the gender area and helps this institution to be more effective in addressing men and women inequalities. More generally, this initiative participates to the improvement of gender considerations in the legislative process in Madagascar.

'L'égalité hommes-femmes en marche : rétro- et perspectives'
EISA et le CNFM rendent hommage aux 30 femmes élues à l'Assemblée Nationale

Pour la première fois dans l'histoire de Madagascar, une femme (RAZANAMAHASOA Christine) va prendre la présidence de l'Assemblée nationale. Mieux encore, la vice-présidence, qui compte six membres, sera composée de trois femmes (NAHARIMAMY Lucien Irmah, RAHELIHANTA Jocelyne, RAHANTANIRINA Lalao). Autre inédit, 30 députés sur un effectif de 147 élus sont des femmes. Jusqu'à présent, le taux de représentation féminine au sein de la Chambre basse n'avait jamais excédé les 10%. Madagascar est ainsi à un tournant décisif dans la quête de l'égalité hommes/femmes.


Candidate MPs' workshops
Empowering women candidates for the December 2013 legislative election

EISA trains women in Madagascar to effectively stand as candidate and increase their chances to be elected during the 20 December 2013 legislative elections. An overall 176 female candidates, across parties and movements as well as independent, have already been equipped with skills and tools to be ready for these elections.

Key components of the training received from EISA include confidence building, message development, voter targeting, campaign planning, public speaking, and media relations. The workshops have also provided a space for first time candidates to benefit from the experience of women who have contested elections in the past or have held prominent political responsibilities in the country.

Besides training female candidates for the legislative elections EISA is also running a national media campaign aimed at raising the interest of women to enter the political arena, galvanising voters to support female candidates, and highlighting the benefits of the inclusion of more women in the decision-making process for the Malagasy society as a whole.

EISA's support to increased women's participation in the decision-making process in Madagascar is made possible through funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

Promoting the Participation of Malagasy Women in Politics and Public Affairs
UN Democracy Fund logo

In 2013, EISA launched a new project aimed promoting the participation and representation of women in politics through increasing the number of female candidates elected in post-conflict decision-making institutions in Madagascar and strengthening women's political effectiveness in these institutions. The project bases itself on the assumption that roles taken by and given to women during a post conflict process may set the stage for them to gain experience and visibility. Women's representation in post-conflict institutions could trigger a long-term process for women's empowerment and inclusion in the decision-making process of all layers of the society.

Funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), the project also seeks to enhance awareness on challenging confronting women's representation in politics and public affairs and share best practices on how to address them.

Providing a window of opportunity for the Malagasy women to meaningfully participate in the post-conflict electoral process and in decision-making institutions and processes requires an integrated approach. Cross-cutting considerations in the overall strategy of this 18 month project includes empowering women for stronger political parties, better chances for women candidates to be elected in the parliamentary elections in September 2013 and more accountable and responsive parliament. This approach entails undertaking a range of complementary activities. These are:

  • Capacity building for potential women candidates: training in policy formulation, leading political campaigns and mobilising voters, etc; and for female MPs to effective discharge their duties beyond their mere presence in parliament;
  • Policy advocacy for political parties to mainstream gender in their recruitement and candidate nomination processes and for the Parliament to consider adopting gender sensitive legislation;
  • Technical assistance to the office of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender Affairs (which will be established after the forthcoming Parliamentary election) with a view to ensuring gender-mainstreaming in legislative debates and adopted laws; and
  • Sharing and dissemination of information on women in politics to the public at large.


Candidate MPs' workshops
Capacity of local facilitators' strengthened

Over the past few years EISA has built capacity of local stakeholders to facilitate workshops to strengthen women's participation in decision-making processes. To strengthen these skills, convened a workshop to upgrade the skills of facilitators who attended the previous EISA train the trainer programmes. This workshop also provided training on how to use the revised pagivolte toolkit developed the previous year. The pagivolte is a series of pictures through which key messages are transmitted through images telling stories of everyday life, making it easier to understand by the beneficiaries and their involvement in trade.

EISA trained 32 facilitators in the use of the pagivolte in a workshop held in Antananarivo. These facilitators are now able to use this tool alongside the other training material that they use. The use of pictorial imagery and conducting the course in and printing material in the Malagasy language has proved extremely successful at community level.

30-50% Campaign Plans of Action supported

Besides supporting the "30-50% campaign" for increased women's representation in the decision-making process in Madagascar, EISA monitored local women's plans of action. One initiative worth mentioning is the capacity building workshop held for traditional leaders in the Brickaville district, in the Atsinanana region in November 2012. The activity was supported by EISA for its originality and strategic nature as it is always through traditional authorities that candidates reach out to communities during the election campaign process. The workshop's objective was to sensitise members of the community on the need to promote women's participation in politics in their communities. The high turnout of the workshop illustrated widespread interest in the topic. While only 30 traditional leaders were invited, more than 40 eventually came from all over the district in spite of the old age of some of them and the long distance others had to travel. The workshop provided a unique opportunity for participants to learn more on gender parity and share views on the current women and men's roles in traditional societies. Most participants expressed their worries vis-à-vis the changing roles of men and women nowadays and the impact on the traditional society. They also unravelled the challenges associated with this transformation and discussed their role in helping their communities respond to them constructively.

University students informed about gender issues and citizen participation

Jan 2012

After successfully concluding an agreement with 5 universities, namely University of Antananarivoy, Antsiranana, Toamasina, Fianarantsoa and Toliara to include university students in the roll out of sensitising the public on issues of greater participation of women at all levels of society as well as greater citizen participation in governance issues, students have been trained in the EISA "Strengthening capacity of women and youth to participation in decision-making processes". From January 2012 the programme has been rolled out with 65 students and 11 lecturers from all five collaborating universities who attended a workshop in Antananarivo in June.

Following the June capacity building workshop, participants, with the assistance of their lecturers who coached them, drafted a three month action plan. This plan included the names of universities or faculties where they will conduct sensitisation workshops, the dates of workshops and the topics they intend to cover. Based on these plans, EISA assessed the needs for each awareness workshop and provided technical, financial and logistical support.

In addition participants have established the Association of Intellectuals for the Promotion of Gender Issues as a result of the training. A coordinator has been identified from amongst the students to promote gender issues in each of the four partner universities.

EISA is also in discussion with the University of Mahajanga in regard to possible collaboration. By and large, the Programme was able to achieve the establishment of a Gender Institute within the University of Fianarantsoa and the creation of the Association of Intellectuals for the Promotion of Gender Issues at each university.


A meeting held on 22 November 2012 in Toamasina with members of the Intellectuals' Association for Gender Promotion in the Toamasina province. This was meant to monitor the level of implementation of gender sensitization activities by Toamasina University students.

One finding that came out of the interaction between EISA and the group was that the campaign has significantly contributed to the personal growth of the students involved in the project. Through the campaign, most students reached out seemed to be more cognisant of the need to promote gender equality at university level although engaging with female Muslim students proved to be challenging. Most of these students refused to accept the notion that the only difference between men and women is merely biological and that both men and women should have equal social roles, rights, and responsibilities. Obviously, more specific action is needed to reach out to the Muslim community owing to religious based stereotypes of their members and taking into consideration the high number of students attending the Toamasina University.

Increased women's participation in politics supported

A conference entitled "Ainga iaraha-Mientana", on strategies to adopt for the success of the Movement 30-50%, took place on 1st March 2012 in Antananarivo. It was attended by 75 participants, including regional representatives of Vondrona MiraLenta ho an'ny Fampandrosoana(VMLF) or "Women's Movement in Politics for the Development of Madagascar", political parties, trade unions, associations such as women physicians, midwives, lawyers, inspectors of the treasury, sociologists, the Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians, women from various political parties such as: Arema, Ampela Manao Politika, TGV, Leader Fanilo, TIM, Green Party, the platform of women in politics and members of the network of women peacemakers. The main objective of this conference was to open the VMLF to other associations so that they can promote the movement 30-50% in these associations

Several associations have been interested in integrating the movement 30-50% in their structures and have requested EISA'S support to assist them.A strategic planning meeting was held further on the 24th April attended by all 22 VMLF regional branches and the National Bureau. Each region has defined their strategy for engaging with other associations in their regions about the VMLF, its aims, objectives and activities. To date 73 associations have been introduced to the 30-50% Campaign including female work inspectors associations, members of the police force and spouses of male members of the police force, journalists and political parties countrywide.


community level capacity building
Capacity building for women at community level conducted

A major achievement for EISA Madagascar has been our engagement with women at community level over the past few years providing capacity building programmes and designing innovative training material.

Nine workshops were held in Boeny (April 2011), Sud Ouest (June 2011), Sofia (January 2011), Vakinankaratra (April 2011), Atsinanana (May 2011), Haute Matsiatra (May 2011), Amoron 'i Mania (June 2011), Diana (November 2011), and Analanjirofo (October 2011) in which 175 women participated drawn from different sectors of society. An example of the diversity of participants is reflected in the workshop held in the Analanjirofo region in October 2011 where the profile of 31 participants from six districts reflected: Professors: 51.61%, public administration sector: 6.45%, veterinarians: 3.23%, working in the region: 6.45%, housewives: 16.13%, community health agents: 6.45%, with 9.68% from non-affiliated organisations.

Through EISA's capacity building programme local facilitators were drawn on to facilitate the workshops providing them with opportunities to strengthen their facilitation skills. This has proved so successful that these facilitators, given the level of formal literacy of participants, adapted the tools very creatively to encourage greater participation, understanding and discussion around the concepts and information contained in the training programme.

EISA also collaborated with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) to design a training tool for local women with low levels of formal literacy. The tool is based on EISA's capacity building programme. To ensure that the training tool was responsive to local women EISA and FAWE designed a toolkit composed of a pagivolte, a pictorial illustration of a particular topic, with a manual for the facilitators explaining how to use the pagivolte. This has proved to be an extremely effective method to engage women at this level.

"Movement 30-50%" Campaign supported

The "Movement 30-50%" campaign was initiated by the Vondrona Miralenta ho an'ny Fampandrosoana (VMLF, a women's gender network for development) with the technical support of EISA as an advocacy tool addressed to policy-makers in support of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to have at least 50% of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors held by women. During the review period the Campaign has supported six regional branches to extend the campaign to their areas with EISA providing support to six of the 22 regional branches. Branches identified a range of interventions to sensitise the local population to the Campaign. For example the Analamanga region has been lobbying for the Movement 30-50% since the beginning of the transition in Madagascar.

Other interventions include sensitisation of traditional leaders on gender issues, creating awareness in schools and radio broadcasts where regional representatives were interviewed and used the opportunity to extend the message to local communities.

University students gender sensitisation programme supported

A concerted effort to engage with university students was undertaken. Consultative meetings were held with the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Sociology at the University of Antananarivo. EISA and the University have agreed that EISA will conduct capacity building workshops for students from this faculty using EISA's capacity building programme for women in decision-making processes as the basis.

Students will be provided with skills and knowledge and will in turn share their knowledge with their peers. The main achievement has been the inclusion of EISA's programme in the students extra-curriculum academic course, which will ensure the sustainability of this programme.


Radio programmes

Local radio stations agreed to conduct interviews with some of the beneficiaries of EISA 's training programme at the community level. This provided an opportunity for these women to discuss the inclusion of women, and what women should do to participate in decision-making processes at all levels. The radio programmes provide an effective platform for the workshop participants to talk to a wider audience about some of the learnings and experiences of the workshops conducted by EISA . During 2010, these broadcasts took place in three regions over a three month period.

Capacity building workshops
capacity building workshops to communities

During 2010 EISA continued providing capacity building workshops to communities at grassroots level as well as to women in positions of leadership at local level. These included six capacity building workshops in six regions involving 240 women at community level and four Train the Trainer workshops training 80 local facilitators selected from the capacity building workshops, equipping these women with the necessary skills to facilitate workshops in their own areas for local organisations and associations. In this way EISA achieves its objective of building local capacity and expertise to ensure long-term sustainability of its interventions. These women are also able to reach the more remote areas that EISA is unable to reach.


Capacity building for women at local level
Capacity building for women at local level

Jun 2009

Agenda 21 (Chapter 37, UNCED, 1992) defines capacity building as "… encompass[ing] the country's human, scientific, technological, organisational, institutional and resource capabilities. A fundamental goal of capacity building is to enhance the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options, based on an understanding of environment potentials and limits and of needs perceived by the people of the country".

Within the context of this definition, the capacity building programmes were designed for women specifically with regard to their entry into the political arena. The programme had two components, the first of which was a practical component that included information on how to prepare a manifesto, prepare an election campaign, how to use the media and design a public outreach programme. The second component provided the opportunity for women to explore issues on gender stereotyping and its impact on women, women and leadership, societal, cultural and traditional perceptions of women and more importantly assertiveness and confidence building skills to support women in breaking free from these stereotypical roles.

Workshops were held with women in leadership positions at local level and with women at community level. In keeping with EISA's commitment to building local capacity, a train the trainer workshop was held in Antananarivo in June 2009 and was attended by 20 facilitators from different organisations. Supported by EISA, two of the newly trained facilitators conducted a workshop in Antsirabe for 25 women representatives at local level from three regions of Madagascar, including mayors, local councillors, chiefs of region, chiefs of districts and chiefs of Fokontany.Two other workshops for women's empowerment at local level were conducted in October and November 2009 in Sambava and Morondava and were attended by 68 participants. The workshops evoked keen interest, so much so that a weekly radio emission on a local channel in Morondava talking about the content of the training manuals was established by a participant.

national plan of action
National plan of action

26 Jan 2009

The main achievement in 2009 was the launch of a "National Plan of Action" to increase women's participation and representation in the conduct of public affairs in Madagascar. The Plan of Action has its foundation in the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development which commits member states to "ensuring the equal representation of women and men in the decision making of member states and SADC structures at all levels" and in particular calling for 50% women's participation in political processes by 2015.

The National Plan of Action was launched on 26 January 2009 at a seminar at the Hotel Carlton, Antananarivo, attended by Dagny Mjos (representative of the Norwegian Embassy in Madagascar), Ms Rasoaranto Ravelonirina Dorothée Myriame, General Director of the Ministry of Health, Family Planning and Social Welfare, as well as 80 participants from civil society, political parties, international organisations, government and Parliament,from Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa, Toamasina, Antsiranana, Mahajanga and Toliara.

The launch of the Plan of Action followed a year of preparatory work undertaken by the VMLF supported by EISA. It was formulated following six regional meetings attended by 280 women who suggested appropriate actions to ensure that their voices were heard in encouraging greater participation of women in the constitution making processes and proposed elections. The Plan of Action took into account the recent political developments in Madagascar and included strategies for women to participate in the constitutional review and to lobby for increased representation as party candidates in the proposed elections. The Plan of Action included a strategy and road map to broaden the movement.

Six regional steering committees were established to strengthen the campaign, with each of them developing a regional plan of action, taking into consideration the realities of each region and the expressed needs of the beneficiaries. The inputs from the regions determined the different activities and focuses of the VMLF (women's movement) from 2009 to 2012, where it will draw the strategy and roadmap to broaden the movement and to advocate for women's participation at all levels of the decision-making process.

Design of the Plan of Action was conducted by Vondrona Miralenta Ho an'ny Fampandrosoana (VMLF), The Steering Committee, established 2007 with EISA's support and EISA Madagascar. Support from the Gender Promotion office and the Malagasy Ministry of Health, Family planning and Social Welfare was also forthcoming.

In general, the Plan of Action put forward the need for behavioural and attitudinal change in men and women. More particularly, it encouraged women to take responsibility as agents of change. The Plan provided a strategy for information and communication regarding the promotion of gender equity and improvements in the standard of living of women. The aim was to interest women in public life and equip them with resources to stake a claim in decision making functions. The principles which underlie these activities refer to various international and national texts. They take as a starting point the fundamental values of, amongst others, democracy, ethics, integrity, citizen participation, accountability and parity.

The first phase of the Plan would be implemented over five years from 2009 - 2013. A programme evaluation would be conducted towards the end of the second year in order to make strategic realignments and necessary refinements. The main goal of the Plan of Action was to promote a society that is underpinned by justice, democracy and good governance and that offers equal opportunities for individual development. The Plan was informed by a situational analysis pointing to a political and public life that remains dominated by men in Madagascar and most African countries, despite programs and international instruments geared towards gender equity and non discrimination towards women. The components of the Plan were:

  1. Advocacy
    Encourage leaders and official decision makers and political parties to open a space for women to access structures and procedures in electoral and decision making processes.
  2. Education
    Sensitise and inform citizens and their organisations to support the advocacy of women in accessing decision making processes.
  3. Capacity building and networking
    Develop skills and competencies in women leaders that will reinforce their capacity. Facilitate information exchange and networking at local, national, regional and international levels.
A national women's rally
National women's rally

For the first time a rally for women was held in Madagascar that had as its main focus the participation of women in decision-making processes. It was a real opportunity to publically call for the increase in the number of women representatives at local and national level in preparation for the forthcoming elections taking Madagascar from the third to the fourth Republic. It was also an occasion for Malagasy women to raise their voices and to advocate for the inclusion of "gender parity" in the forthcoming constitutional and electoral law review outlined in the SADC Gender Protocol.

A national women's rally

The programme initiated by the VLMF complements the launch of the Plan of Action as it builds on the commitments made through this plan. EISA supported the VMLF in conducting twelve regional meetings to broaden the "Movement's goal of at least 30% of women in decision-making positions in 2012 and 50% in 2015". These meetings were attended by more than 1000 participants in November 2009. Thereafter, a national women's rally was organised in Antananarivo in December to gather 600 women and men from 22 regions who all became members of VMLF. A national strategy to advocate for women's participation and representation in the conduct of public affairs as well as a political code of conduct for women in decision-making positions were developed and adopted at this occasion to be launched in 2010.


Designing material for training

EISA designed facilitators' and participants' manuals to build the capacity of women at local level. The first manual addresses women representatives, such as the mayor, the regional and local councillors, chief of region or chief of district, etc. This is an interactive practical manual providing skills and knowledge in both soft and hard skills including women in politics and their different roles and functions, the instruments protecting the rights of women and promoting gender equality, basics of management, leadership skills, conflict management, policy making, drafting of legislation, governance and accountability, and budget formulation including monitoring, implementing and fundraising.

The second manual is designed for participants at the grassroots level and introduces them to concepts such as lobbying, designing an election campaign, speech making, preparing a manifesto and so on. It also focuses on skills such as leadership and public speaking. This manual is more accessible and understandable to the women at local level, with simple exercises and examples, as well as more details about the Malagasy context and the Malagasy laws. All the materials are written in French and Malagasy.

30% representation steering committee established

EISA assisted in establishing a steering committee to develop and facilitate a campaign to advocate and lobby for 30% representation of women in decision-making processes. From July to December 2008, the steering committee laid the groundwork for the Plan of Action consulting with a range of stakeholders and re-formed itself into the Vondrona Miralenta Ho an' ny Fampandrosoana (VMLF), the women's movement in politics for the country's development.

The VMLF, with technical support from EISA, drafted a proposal to take into consideration gender parity within the political law reform process in Madagascar, which began at the end of 2008. The proposal will be launched at a national meeting early in 2009 and thereafter rolled out countrywide. The proposal suggests the introduction of a quota system and a zebra list.


Gender equity seminar

May 2007

A successful two-day seminar under the theme 'Gender Equity in Democratic Processes and Institutions in the Madagascar and the SADC Region' was held in May to take the debate into the public domain and to create awareness of all stakeholders on issues that hinder women's participation and gender parity in the political arena. A hundred delegates drawn from political parties, civil-society organisations, government institutions and professional and faith-based organisations participated.

Speakers included local as well as regional resource people who brought to the discussion regional experiences. Topics included the impact on electoral systems of the inclusion of women in the electoral process and the role of political parties in enhancing women's representation in decision-making. A particularly positive outcome of the seminar was the agreement that a campaign for the inclusion of at least 30% of women in Madagascar political life should be put in place.

Designing material and facilitating workshops

EISA designed a facilitator and participant's manual translated into Malagasy and French. Although the basis of the content was generic, local context content was informed by the discussion that the preliminary team had had with the various stakeholders to hear the concerns and needs of women and men on the challenges faced when trying to enter the decision-making arena in Madagascar. The manual included both 'soft' and 'hard' skills, such as assertiveness and confidence building, understanding gender and gender stereotyping, the legal and constitutional framework, writing a manifesto and designing a campaign and public outreach.

The workshops formed the core of the programme with participants coming from 17 of the 22 regions in Madagascar and 180 women exposed to the content. In addition, EISA facilitated two Train the Facilitator workshops for 60 women so that they could extend the programme to their own constituencies in their regions. EISA also drew on women already in leadership positions to share their experiences with participants. A total of 40% of participants came from women's organisations, 25% from political parties, 25% from the professional sector and 10% from faith-based and civil-society organisations.