iKNOW Politics, an online network dedicated to the advancement of women in politics, launched a new Arabic language version in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 27, opening it up to potentially millions of new users in a region where women are significantly underrepresented politically.
NDI is one of five partner organizations in the project, along with International IDEA, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the UNDP and UNIFEM. iKNOW Politics, which stands for the International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics, www.iknowpolitics.org, began in 2007 and now operates in English, French and Spanish, in addition to Arabic. The Arabic launch was made possible through the generous support of the United Nations Democracy Fund and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
About 150 women leaders, political candidates, activists and representatives of women’s organizations primarily from the Middle East and North Africa attended the two-day launch event, which focused on the impact of media and information technology on the number and effectiveness of women in politics in the region.
The keynote speaker at the event was Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan, who is known for her advocacy of women’s rights. In addition to highlighting women’s achievements, the Princess said, iKNOW Politics’ Arabic website “will help to set positive change in motion by engaging its members in an open dialogue, and creating a forum in which information and knowledge exchange can consolidate the voices of women from all over the world.”
The Speaker of the Jordan House of Representative, Abdulhadi Al Majali, hosted the official launch and described iKNOW Politics as a means to enhance democracy.
Other speakers at the Parliament building ceremony discussed some of the virtues of the site and the aspirations of women who will be using it. “Networking is the main weapon of this era,” said the Hon. Milouda Hazeb, chair of the Al Nakheel Municipality in Morocco. “Together we will make the impossible possible, but also the reality,” said Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, director of the Democratic Governance Group of the UNDP and formerly a minister in South Africa.
The introduction of Arabic as an iKNOW Politics language widens an ongoing dialogue on the site, which provides access for women across the world to resources and expertise, and allows women to expand their knowledge and share and benefit from each other’s political experiences. It is, in effect, a network of networks, where women who use the site share what they have learned with political networks in their own countries.
The resources of iKNOW Politics are open to anyone who visits the website, which about 15,000 people did last month. They can read online discussions, review a wide and expanding selection of articles on political topics, view links to more than 210 organizations and have access to a library of 1,500 free resources, including skills training manuals, sample legislation and many other materials in the four languages.
Those who register as iKNOW Politics members, of which there are currently 6,000, can post information to the site, have access to the network’s 70 experts from 30 countries who are available to answer individual questions, and take part in E-discussions, which have attracted submissions from 148 members in 35 countries in the past year.
Published on October 28, 2009