Forum 50%: Reflections on the US Programme

Jana Smiggels Kavková, Director of project partner Forum 50%, reflects on the GEPLE Project’s trip to the USA, where we met with leaders in Civic Tech and Democratic Empowerment. The trip was organised by our project partner VoteRunLead, who are well versed in using tech to advance their cause.

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The GEPLE Project Partners in Washington DC

I have spent last two weeks traveling with our team from Forum 50 % around the US. Together with our partner organizations from Finland, Poland and Ireland we took part in a study trip to New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, organized by our American partners VoteRunLead. The aim: to gain experience with empowerment of women into politics in the USA.

We saw and heard a lot over the fortnight; I am still trying to sort out all the impressions, experiences and encounters, sitting behind my desk in Prague with a heavy jet leg. Personally I really appreciated the diversity of the program, enabling us to meet with a wide range of people and organizations. From a visit to the William Way LGBT community center in Philly´s gayborhood to National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of Latino groups who runs a leadership program for women „Latinas Represent“ and progressive think tank New America in Washington.

And since the world today, including politics. is moving more and more to cyberspace, there were also visits to, amongst others, Facebook Washington DC and Pipeline Philly, a co-working space for start-ups. We discussed about the use of technologies for public good. But also about giving voice to people and communities which are currently underrepresented in politics: young girls, Latinas or immigrant women. And how to make the electoral system more democratic and accessible to everyone.

Big thanks to our dear colleagues Erin and Karen from VoteRunLead for the fantastic program. There is so much to remember!

A big thank you to all of the organisations who shared their knowledge and experience with us during this trip. We really appreciate it and look forward to using our learnings in our own countries. Thank you to to the Erasmus+ programme for giving us their support and making all this possible.

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