NEC, Partners Discuss Inclusion of Older and Disabled People in 2017 Elections

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As Liberia prepares for the 2017 elections, the Coalition of Caregivers and Advocates for the Elderly in Liberia (COCAEL), along with its collaborating partners, will on Thursday, December 8, hold a Consultative Forum to discuss with the National Elections Commission (NEC) and stakeholders the challenges facing older people and persons with disabilities in the country’s electoral process.

They will also devise strategies to address these challenges to ensure an inclusive election in 2017, a COCAEL release said.

The forum is the beginning of a series of activities to be undertaken by the partners as part of their voter’s education project to promote the participation of older people and persons with disabilities in the electoral politics of Liberia, most especially in the upcoming presidential and general elections.

It will be held at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship Church on 9th Street, Sinkor, beginning at 11a.m. and is expected to bring together officials of the NEC, Election Coordinating Committee (ECC), National Union of Organizations for the Disabled (NUOD) and the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD). International agencies invited to participate are UNDP, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

COCAEL is hosting the forum in collaboration with NUOD, NCD and the Center for Community Advancement and Family Empowerment (CECAFE) of the United Methodist University (UMU).

In addition to the voters’ education project, a joint research project will be undertaken by CECAFE and the Gerontology Department of the University of Massachusetts (Umass-Boston) with support to be provided by McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global studies.

Prof. Sam Togba Slewion of the UMU and Dr. Nina Silverstein, Professor of Gerontology at Umass-Boston, will serve as Co-Investigators of the research studies.

The objectives of the research, among others, is to conduct a pilot to understand the voting trend of older people and persons with disabilities in the last two elections held in Liberia in 2005 and 2011 and design strategies to improve the participation of older people and persons with disabilities in the electoral process in Liberia with the goal of increasing their political and social capital.

The primary objective of the forum is for the various stakeholders and civil society actors to share with older people and persons with disabilities the preparation being made by stakeholders, especially the National Elections Commission and its international partners to ensure that older people and persons with disabilities exercise their franchise in the upcoming elections consistent with the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as Vision 2030 within the context of “Leave No One Behind.”

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