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Canada helps women in Middle East get elected

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Egyptian women protest in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on July 2, 2013. Canada announced funding to help more women get elected in Middle East and North African nations undertaking democratic reforms. (AFP/File)

Canada announced funding Thursday to help more women get elected in Middle East and North African nations undertaking democratic reforms.

Two projects being awarded a total of Can$971,200 (US$932,285) include training in campaign management, and coaching candidates on how to get their message across to the electorate.

While women are present in national assemblies and legislatures throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Ottawa says their rights and interests are often inadequately addressed.

"Women's participation in decision-making processes is essential to ensure that democracies are truly representative of their populations," said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich.

"Canada will continue to support the development of women's leadership skills and increase their active participation in elections so that more qualified women will be elected. These activities will strengthen the voice of women in emerging democracies at all levels of government," she said.

The aim of the projects by the Forum of Federations and the International Republican Institute is to develop women's electoral campaigning skills and help to expand recognition of women's rights in Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.

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