The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in partnership with the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) conducted two BRIDGE workshops in Honiara, Solomon Islands on Electoral Contestants for registered political parties. The workshops were supported by the Solomon Islands Political Parties Commission. Funding for this capacity building program was provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The aim of the three day workshops was to assist participants from registered political parties in the Solomon Islands to develop greater understanding of the electoral process and the vital role that political parties play. Participants in the workshop explored key topics of relevance to political party development such as electoral principles, planning across the electoral cycle, platform development and campaigning and working with stakeholders.
Participants came from a variety of registered political parties in the Solomon Islands including members from women and youth party wings. Party officials were also joined by staff from the Political Parties Commission, the Electoral Commission and members of non-government organisations. Participants brought a rich and diverse range of political and electoral experiences to the workshops.
Sir Paul Tovua, Chairman of the Political Parties Commission and HE Mr Roderick Brazier, Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands jointly opened the workshops. In his opening, Sir Paul Tovua noted that these workshops form part of a larger training program offered to political parties by the Political Parties Commission, which is particularly relevant following the passage of the Political Parties Integrity Act in 2014 and leading up to the next national elections in 2018-2019. In his opening address, the Ambassador noted this opportunity for political parties to learn more about elections, to help them run better campaigns and to engage with their communities and constituencies more effectively.
The workshops were facilitated by Mr Gordon Marshall (AEC), Mr Jiv Sekhon (AEC), Mr Reuben Rongomea (SIEC) and Ms Madlyn Lagusu (SIEC). Ms Madlyn Lagusu was accredited as a BRIDGE Workshop Facilitator in the course of the workshops, thus further building the pool of local facilitators who can deliver BRIDGE in the future.
The workshop was the result of a specific request from the Registrar of Political Parties and the Political Parties Commission, which provided excellent support for the workshops.
The participants and facilitators created an enjoyable atmosphere of sharing where participants reflected openly on their particular challenges and experiences. Discussions were enriched by presentations from the Registrar of Political Parties and through sharing of current challenges facing political parties in the Solomon Islands. The facilitators were particularly impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the participants and their desire to learn and make a difference within the Solomon Islands electoral processes.
Participant feedback on both the workshop content and facilitator presentation was highly positive. Participants appreciated the opportunity to learn and engage with colleagues and requested more opportunities for training in the future.
Positive participant feedback included (What I learnt or found enjoyable/useful)…
I learnt a lot of things that relates to elections which I did not realize before.
All good. Excellent workshop. Awesome facilitators. Looking forward to join more BRIDGE training programs.
My important take-home learning is creating my own party platform. I’m very thankful for your presentations. It’s simple and engaging. I did learned a lot. Wish you both all the best.
Most of the topics – very interesting as it expands my way forward towards the coming election. We need more workshops like this to help convince our people in most of the provinces.