The European Union (EU) and Germany are supporting Naymote Partners for Democratic Development to organize a BRIDGE Training program for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Political Parties in Liberia.
The workshop, which focuses on Voter Information, Education, and Election Observation, aims to strengthen the capacity of these critical stakeholders ahead of the Liberian General Elections in 2023.
This support is intended to complement the National Elections Commission's (NEC) voter education initiatives. The EU and Germany remains unwavering in their support for the Commission's efforts to hold inclusive credible elections in October.
Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Elections, or BRIDGE, is a highly regarded program created to improve the abilities and understanding of people and organizations involved in various election processes.
This project demonstrates Germany's and the EU's dedication to advancing democratic norms and principles both domestically and internationally.
Although the Afrobarometer (2023) reveals that the majority of Liberians support democratic government, many Liberians are unaware of their civic responsibilities to the state. Despite the National Elections Commission (NEC), CSOs, and other election stakeholders' voter education efforts in the run-up to the 2017 general elections, a substantial number of invalid votes (5.3%) were reported, much above the NEC's target of 3%.
To effectively use Civic and Voter Education (CVE) as a tool to promote knowledge of the voting process, accountability, decrease polarization, encourage participation, and prevent election fraud, the European Union and Germany believe that the efforts of the National Elections Commission (NEC) must be complemented by similar engagements by CSOs and political parties to address the country's CVE programming-related issues.
This BRIDGE Training on Customised Voter and Civic Education & Election Observation Modules, which is slated to take place from September 4 to 15, 2023 at the RLJ Kendela Resorts and Villas, is therefore critical, especially considering the country's current growth in fake news and disinformation surrounding elections.
To this end, Naymote Partners for Democratic Development is planning a 10-day BRIDGE training on voter education and information for CSOs and political parties in Liberia.
This activity is being implemented with support from the ECOWAS Peace & Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project. The training is primarily geared toward young people in line with the project's commitment to supporting the ECOWAS agenda on the promotion of enhanced youth engagement in the electoral process in West Africa.
The EPSAO Project, which is is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH), supports the ECOWAS Commission in its mandate to address regional peace and security threats through strengthening of capacities in four crucial policy areas including: Peace Support Operations, Conflict Prevention, Security Sector Reform and Governance, and Electoral Affairs.
By enhancing the capacity of CSOs and political parties to conduct effective CVE programs and Election Observation, the EPSAO project aims to contribute to building a stronger democratic system in Liberia. The EU and Germany commend the commitment of the CSO and political party participants who came together to improve their capabilities in the areas of voter education and election observation. This dedication is an example of the group effort necessary to advance democratic ideas.
As Liberia prepares for the 2023 General Elections, the EU and Germany believe that a well-prepared and informed civil society, as well as effective political parties, is critical to the electoral process's credibility and success. The information and skills acquired through the BRIDGE training program will not only help in the next elections but also contribute to improving Liberia's democratic institutions in the long run.