Empowering our Green parties in the Asia Pacific


The Australian Greens are always busy fighting for a better future here at home, but the work we do around the world is just as important. This year we are supporting Green party projects in Iraq, Indonesia, India and the Solomon Islands, as well as supporting database pilot programs to strengthen membership and fundraising initiatives.

By Michelle Sheather

The Australian Greens International Development Committee (IDC) works with emerging and new Green parties in the Asia, Pacific and Middle East region, as well as supporting our regional body, the Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF).

Annually, we support five to seven projects from national Green parties, party trainings both in Australia and in-country, and initiatives such as policy frameworks and infrastructure assistance for the federation of parties. This year, we are supporting Green party projects in Iraq, Aceh (Indonesia), India and the Solomon Islands, as well as supporting database pilot programs to strengthen membership and fundraising initiatives.

We receive a federal government grant through the Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program, which encourages the formation of new parties to democratically contest elections, as well as empowerment of women and youth. Many parties face significant obstacles to register their party, such as a huge registration cost or large membership numbers from across all districts/regions in their county. This is in a climate where small parties are discouraged, so the power remains with the established dichotomy of parties.

One of the key issues within the program is to empower women in non-OECD countries to take up key roles in their parties and to stand for election at all levels of government.

We commenced our APGF Women's Network mentoring program with a pilot of four women mentors and mentees in 2017. Since then, it has grown to an intake of ten mentoring pairs in the current year and a growing alumni. Many of the women who have given their time as mentors are from the Australian Greens.

As part of this program, we have annual online trainings, and bimonthly webinars with guest speakers from around the world on topics such as women and reproductive health, women and forests, and women and leadership.

We started the first gender equity training with the national India Greens party in late 2019. Since then, we have conducted two further online trainings with the India Greens.

Next month we will be helping organise a national gender equity training for the Green Party of Nepal in Kathmandu. A pilot national mentoring program will then be set up so many women can participate in their own language.

The gender equity training will be followed by our first regional training of future gender equity trainers from the Green parties of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, who in turn will lead these programs back in their own countries. The program aims to upskill and build confidence in women to be active in their party, take up key roles in the party executives, and to begin to field female candidates in elections.

The next APGFWN Zoom webinar on February 4th, titled Gender Equity in the Asia-Pacific, is open to all Australian Greens women members. Details can be found here.

The next intake for women’s mentoring is in March 2021. Australian Greens women who would be interested in becoming mentors can contact the program coordinator Saruul Touvuuren here.

Michelle Sheather is the Australian Greens International Development Coordinator.

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