The National Elections Commission (NEC) has conducted a four-day institutional, consultative and capacity enhancement workshop for on-boarding and Senior Election Commissioners and Managers.
The exercise was held on July 22-25, 2020. It is being supported and funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Liberia Elections Basket Fund, European Union in Liberia, Irish Aid, Canada, and Embassy of Sweden near Monrovia.
During the 3-day event, NEC Chairperson Davidetta Brown Lansanah told the gathering that the Commission faces a task of delivering credible, democratic and transparent elections as well as a referendum, which requires bringing together staffers with sufficient knowledge and experience to support one another.
“This coordinated support must be at the level of units, sections, departments and the Board as we bring our experiences together on a common table of reasoning and support to one another,” Lansanah stressed.
She expressed appreciation to development Partners, including UNDP Elections Basket Fund for its continued support to the NEC over the years.
Speaking at the event, Swedish Head of Cooperation in Liberia Elisabeth Harleman urged the Elections Commission to encourage more women’s participation in the electoral process by mainstreaming the issue of gender at the policy level and also to ensure that first-time voters are not left out.
Madam Harleman says that the role of women in the electoral processes serves as an inspiration to the growth and development of everyone in Liberia.
“The NEC has a primary responsibility to support women’s participation in the electioneering process, to help influence the change needed for the development of the country,” Harleman stated.
In an earlier remark, UNDP Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai mentioned that UNDP is supporting the NEC to conduct an onboarding process, to integrate and acculturate new commissioners together with the capacity enhancement of other senior elections managers. He said the aim is to strengthen relationships and manage expectations.
Dr. Beyai believed that the successful pending Mid-Term Senatorial Elections and National Referendum are critical not only to further consolidate Liberia’s democracy but are also tested for the new Board of Commissioners to attract partners as well as instill public trust in future elections.
However, he emphasized that the NEC cannot do it alone and without the concerted effort of all stakeholders— government, partners and the Liberian people.
Dr. Beyai: “In the midst of competing demands for resources during the global coronavirus pandemic, cost-effective approach to the electoral process and government’s funding commitments are necessary to attract support from partners.”
Dr. Beyai encouraged NEC to open discussions with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders in order to decrease the cost of elections, effectively utilizing existing assets, with a view to fostering a sense of national ownership and reaffirming UNDP’s commitment to genuine partnership with NEC as well as to further nurture democracy in Liberia.
He was optimistic that the successful conduct of the workshop points to an opportunity not only to hold the routine administrative and operational electoral discussion amongst elections staff but by this measure, the workshop was able to target consolidating ideas from across the various NEC participating departments, sections and units into a forecast for initiating a way forward.
Dr. Beyai said it is highly anticipated that those ideas will be used to highlight what has worked in the past, nationally and internationally, based on informed knowledge sharing.
He concluded as saying that the knowledge sharing process shall list not only the challenges for conducting elections in Liberia but also those indicators can be incorporated in leading the road to do it successfully.