Electoral Contestants’ In Liberia
2 October 2012
IFES/Liberia in cooperation with UNDP/Liberia and NEC held the four-days BRIDGE workshop on Electoral Contestants for members of 10 Political Parties and members of the External Relations Department of the NEC at Golden Gate hotel from 24-27 September, 2012 in Monrovia, Liberia.
IFES currently is implementing five-year, USAID-funded Building Sustainable Elections Management in Liberia program, supporting the various elections in Liberia, including the constitutional referendum, 2011 general and presidential elections, and by-elections. Ultimately, IFES aims to increase the capacity of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to efficiently, effectively, impartially, and sustainably manage elections in the coming years. This support has also focused on delineation of electoral districts, voter registration, civic and voter education, and general capacity building. The Electoral Contestants’ workshop aimed to provide Political actors and NEC external relations department with an understanding of some fundamental concepts of elections and particularly electoral contestant’s related issues.
In total 25 participants (20 male, 5 female) attended BRIDGE workshops, out of which ten were political party representatives, five from the NEC External Relations department and six from the Youth political party organizations.
The workshop was facilitated by the BRIDGE accredited IFES and NEC facilitators, namely: Natia Kashakashvili (lead expert facilitator), James Wallace (NEC workshop facilitator) and Daniel Gegbeson (NEC semi-accredited facilitator).
The workshop was opened by the NEC acting chair and NEC commissioner (responsible for training issues), IFES-Liberia CoP Florim Purova and UNDP/Liberia Training officer George Baratashvili. They welcomed the participants, talked about the importance of the workshop and wished them successful conduct of the workshop.
During the workshop, major topics of interest were the political campaigning, unfair political campaigning and codes of conduct for Contestants. Participants were exploring new approaches to campaigning as well as new ideas from different country case studies.
Throughout the workshop, participants noted the need to analyze and make parallels to Liberian context, though at some point, participants started to understand that BRIDGE material triggers to make comparisons by themselves.
Participants praised the methodology used at the BRIDGE workshop and some of them mentioned that they will incorporate the facilitation skills in their own work (trainings).
Participants expressed the willingness and interest to further increase their knowledge on Elections and namely on proportional electoral systems, media accessibility, codes of conduct of other stakeholders, gender and elections and electoral reform.
At the end of the workshop, facilitators together with the participants set in a circle to evaluate the conduct of the 4-day workshop, while putting prospects for the future.
Based on the evaluations after each training day and workshop, the workshop on Electoral Contestants can be considered necessary and timely. The workshops acted as a showcase for this particular stakeholder, triggering them seeking for more knowledge of electoral issues in depth.
In recognition of completion of the four-day training course, (with the help of NEC commissioner, Political Party liaison) participants were handed the certificates with the signatures of expert facilitator and workshop level facilitator.