Qatar: Training for Women Candidates 1999 Central Municipal Council Elections - Final Report
From December 5 to 12, 1998, the International Foundation for Election Systems ("IFES") conducted a comprehensive training program in Doha, Qatar for women candidates running for office in the March 8, 1999 municipal council election in Qatar.
The training was requested by, funded and carried out under the supervision of the Preparatory Committee for the Municipal Elections. The United States Information Agency also generously provided financial support for the project, 'in the form of airfares, accommodations and per diem for the IFES Program Officer and Trainer. USIS/Doha also provided critical programmatic support to IFES. The Preparatory Committee, whose members include many of Qatar's leading women and is chaired by Sheikha Aisha Bint Khalifa al-Thani, during 1998 conducted numerous awareness and educational activities in advance of the election. Committee has focused on encouraging the participation of Qatari women, as voters and as candidates. As testimony to its successful efforts, nearly 45 % of the registered voters for this election are women, a remarkably high percentage in the Arab world.' The Committee appears to be unique in the region: IFES is not aware of a similar committee in any other Arab country.
IFES is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, based in Washington, DC, which supports the development of democratic institutions and practices worldwide. IFES provides training and technical assistance in all areas of democratic development, with a special expertise in the organization of elections. Since its founding in 1987, IFES has worked in more than 90 countries. In the Arab world, IFES has conducted projects in the Palestinian Territories, Yemen, Morocco, and Qatar, as well as projects with Arab non-governmental organizations throughout the region.