“Training awakened our eyes… it made us think carefully…we learned a lot.” This was how a participant of the three-day BRIDGE workshop on Voter Registration held in May from 14 to 17 2018 in Mogadishu, Somalia, described the workshop.
This BRIDGE workshop was a historic event, signalling commitment of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) of Somalia, to set the wheels in motion towards universal suffrage. The workshop, generously funded by the European Union, Governments of Germany and the United Kingdom, drew a total of 47 participants comprising Commissioners, the secretariat the Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation (MoIFAR) attended the workshop.
The workshop, is part of a series of BRIDGE modules to be run in Somalia, covered the ambitious programme successfully by:
- Exploring the principles of voter registration (why have registration? What are the criteria for eligibility?).
- Exposing participants to key operational steps towards successful voter registration.
- Providing Commissioners and participants with alternative approaches to voter registration.
- Exposing participants to the logistical arrangements and implementation steps of a voter registration exercise.
- Contextualising procurement of services and materials for voter registration in line with local procurement procedures.
- Exposing participants to practical case studies of dispute resolution in the context of voter registration.
- Interrogate, analyse and contextualise key elements of the voter registration feasibility study and implications thereof.
Twelve of the participants were female which translate to twenty-five percent. Participants were active throughout the workshop with facilitators and the different resource persons included the former Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission, Ahmed Issack Hassan and the Integrated Electoral Support Group sharing their experiences drawn from different countries across Africa and the Globe. The participants appreciated the BRIDGE methodology as it made all session interactive moreso because it was enriched by the expertise of the resource persons with years of hands-on electoral administration expertise, the understanding of NIEC operations and the socio-political environment in which they operate. The Commissioners’ active participation cannot be downplayed as it demonstrated leadership most needed for the mammoth task that lies ahead.
During the last session of the workshop, the NIEC outlined a framework of action anchored on the outcomes of the Voter Registration Feasibility Study.
Facilitation team included, Immaculate Kassait, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava and Tomsie Dlamini. The workshop was supported by the United Nations Integrated Electoral Support Group.