The PIANZEA Network, with funding from AusAID’s Pacific PSLP program is conducting a series of BRIDGE workshops aimed at building knowledge and the capacity of electoral staff in the Pacific to assist them in the conduct of elections. It is also planned that these workshops will strengthen the links between EMBs in the Pacific and allow the staff to meet with other professionals from the region to share experiences and learn from one another.
In February the Polynesian members (Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands) of the PIANZEA (Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators) Network descended on Rarotonga, Cook Islands for the BRIDGE Electoral Management Design Module.
The three day workshop held from 22-24 February was hosted by the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice, administration was provided by the PIANZEA Secretariat in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice. Facilitators for the workshop were Hagen Siosikefu (Niue) and Peita Mamo and Erik Scholte (Australia).
The workshop looked at topics such as the various types of EMBs and the advantages and disadvantages of each, promoting sustainability of EMBs, the guiding principles of electoral administration, the challenges faced by EMBs, electoral activities and the electoral cycle, what it means to be independent and the different types of independence, building and maintaining the credibility of EMBs, identifying stakeholders and the EMBs role in electoral reform.
This was the first BRIDGE module attended by many of the participants and their willingness to participate so wholeheartedly and share their experiences is testament to their dedication to their work and as a result made the workshop a resounding success.