The Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan with financial support of UNDP/ELECT conducted the BRIDGE Voter Registration Program from 03th up to 10th Sep 2012 at IEC headquarter.
The training program was organized for the HQ (IEC) staff. 31 H_Q staff including 6 female was attended in the program from IEC different department such as; Field Operation; Training & Capacity; Kabul Provincial office; Information Technology; Public Outreach; Gender Unit; and Policy Program Support Unit staff. Some of the participants had already been attended in BRIDGE training programs in past but some of them were newly recruited and had never been attended in any BRIDGE programs. The program was initially organized for 5 days but due to the public holiday it had been rescheduled (from 03-05 Sep and from 09-10 Sep).
Prior to the first presidential election in 2004 a nations wide voter registration had been conducted in Afghanistan and the updated VR process conducted for 2005, 2009 and 2010 elections too , a comprehensive voter list to connect each voter to specific polling station has not been established yet; due to different problems during the previous VR process .
IEC has recognized that without having a comprehensive voter list it won’t be possible to conducted free and fair election and it won’t be sustainable in term of expenses. With this taken into consideration and the lessons learned from the past VR process in Afghanistan; the IEC is currently looking at different VR options to be implemented in Afghanistan.
The IEC came to the conclusion that conducting the BRIDGE VR module training in this critical time would help and support the IEC staff to better plan for the VR process which is currently going on.
The main purpose of this program was to increase the general knowledge of the staff about VR and familiarize them with VR principles, kind of VR processes, importance of VR list and different techniques.
The program was facilitated by two workshop facilitators (Mr. Awal Ulrahman Roodwal and Mr. Abdul Basir Aziz) and two semi accredited facilitators, (Mss.Marzia Sediqi and Mr. Rockai Mehran)
Some of the participants on this program had previously attended other BRIDGE programs. The mix of staff created a Voter Registration workshop that had an amazing training environment. This VR training program was completely different from all other training programs. Participants were from a young generation, from different departments that somehow has link with VR project. All the participants were actively participated in discussions, role playas, presentations and working group activities. Participants tried to share their own experiences and linked it to relevant BRIDGE VR topics.
During this training program participants had the opportunity to compare the VR process which had been conducted in Afghanistan with international VR standards, participants agreed that with taken into consideration the continuous VR process will be suitable and sustainable for our country, using biometric data, issuing the VR card and providing the voter list were strongly recommended by training participants.
Participants were very satisfied with both the methodologies and facilitation methods used; they showed their interest in all relevant topics including; VR principles, kind of VR, case studies, legal framework for VR, using technology, collecting information and providing voter lists.
At the end of program participants thanked IEC, UNDP/ELECT and all BRIDGE partners and expressed the view that there should be similar BRIDGE workshops for them in future. Participants were issued the certificate by Mohammad Samim Hashem the deputy CEO and facilitators.