As part of the Australian Government’s longstanding support on governance to Tonga, funding has been provided to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and the Tongan Electoral Commission (TEC) to develop electoral education programs for use in schools and the Tongan community.
As a first step in developing the electoral education programs, the AEC and the TEC conducted a BRIDGE workshop in Nuku’alofa from 14 – 16 January 2014 involving 18 participants from stakeholder groups who will be involved in the delivery of civic education in Tonga. The stakeholder groups participants represented included government ministries, civil society, women’s and youth groups and UNDP.
The workshop was officially opened by Pita Vuki (TEC Electoral Commissioner & Supervisor of Elections), Miss Lolohea Lilika Fusimalohi (Guest representative for Australian High Commissioner & Senior Program Manager, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Richard Mark Burton (Parliamentary Advisor & Programme Coordinator, UNDP).
The three day workshop explored the voter information and civic education modules and covered definitions and principles of public outreach programs, the steps involved in designing, planning and implementing public outreach programs and the importance of monitoring and evaluation.
The workshop gave participants an opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge, but also to enable professional networking amongst the group who all have a role to play in the electoral environment in Tonga.
Participants showed great enthusiasm, commitment and creativity in their contributions to the workshop. The workshop style was very interactive and a large variety of activities were undertaken to tap into the knowledge of the group and facilitation skills of facilitators.
Participant feedback on both the content of the workshop and facilitator presentation was very positive. There was particular appreciation of the participants being able to actively participate which enhanced their learning. Some feedback about what participants learnt or found enjoyable/useful included: