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WAWEO Training Narrative Report- Monrovia (Oct, 2011)

WAWEO Training Narrative Report- Monrovia (Oct, 2011)

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Published by: wacsi on Feb 01, 2012
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Elections Observation Training Report
 
ELECTIONS OBSERVATION TRAINING
ORGANISED FOR
WEST AFRICAN WOMEN'S ELECTIONS OBSERVATIONTEAM (WAWEO)8-9 OCTOBER 2011Palm Spring Hotel, Monrovia-Liberia
ELECTIONS OBSERVATION TRAINING REPORT
Introduction
 Women in Africa are increasingly making their presence felt in the political arena. Despite thisprogress, the number of women actively and visibly engaged in politics remains low in mostAfrican countries mainly due to prevailing societal belief that politics is a male domain. 2011and 2012 present new opportunities for women in West Africa with eight countries scheduled tohold parliamentary and presidential elections. In view of this, the delegates at the 2nd AnnualWest African Women Policy Forum conveyed by WIPSEN-Africa and WACSI under the theme:
“ 
Our Politics is NOW: Moving Beyond the Rhetoric of Women’s Political Part
icipation
” 
called for the formation of a West African Women Elections Observation Team (WAWEO)consisting of two representatives from each of the fifteen ECOWAS member States. Theyrepresent women within the civil Society, Electoral Commissions and non-governmentalorganizations and government. WAWEO is a women-oriented, women-focused and women-driven Elections Observation Mission established to monitor, serve, protect and promote thebroader interest of women from all sectors during the forthcoming elections in West Africaincluding parliamentary, presidential and (general) elections. It is envisioned that the WAWEOteam of women observers be deployed to complement the work of the ECOWAS Elections
 
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Elections Observation Training Report
 
Observer Mission in every general election across the sub-region. Women observers with genderexpertise are better placed than male observers to understand how electoral procedures affect
women’s participation in elections
 
and the need to protect women’s interests
,
 promote women’s
 participation in politics. Hence, there is a great need to train women elections observation team,representatives from across West Africa on election observation techniques.Section 1 of this report presents the opening ceremony; Section 2 summarizes the training anddiscussions held and finally Section 3 provides main recommendations arising from the training.
SECTION 1: OPENING CEREMONY
The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in partnership with the Women, Peace andSecurity Network (WIPSEN-Africa) and IBIS-Liberia organized a two-day ElectionsObservation training from 8-9 October 2011, in Palm Spring Hotel, Monrovia-Liberia. Thetraining aimed at equipping the WAWEO team with requisite elections observation skills,techniques and procedures in preparation for electoral processes in the sub-region in order toplay effectively their role of elections observers. It also aimed at strengthening the knowledge of women of electoral processes and advocating for more gender sensitive election plans in WestAfrica by documenting and disseminating lessons from the observation of elections in all thetargeted countries. The training, initially scheduled for 30 participants, was held for only 7participants due to resource constraints. Participants were from Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia,Nigeria and Sierra Leone.The opening ceremony was chaired by Ms. Eunice Roberts, Facilitator of the training and MsRosalind Alp-Hanson, Country Director of IBIS- Liberia. IBIS is a non-profit, Danish non-governmental organization that works at global, national and local levels to support equal accessto education, influence and resources for both men and women through advocacy in Africa andLatin America. Ms Eunice Roberts welcomed participants to this august training defying all oddsand outlined the rationale behind the establishment of the West African Women ElectionsObservation Team (WAWEO) and the objectives of the Elections Observation training. Ms PearlAtsou-Dzini, Executive Assistant of WACSI, representing the Institute also welcomed
 participants and expressed the Executive Director’s best wishes for the training. Ms Rosalind
Alp-Hanson in turn expressed her appreciation and excitement for this initiative, which she
 
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Elections Observation Training Report
 
believes has a great future. She stated that this marks the first time IBIS is partnering with awomen organization. She reassured the team of her support and that of IBIS to this laudableproject as it is important and necessary that women are involved in elections observation. It is animportant step for all women globally for taking the stand to observe. She thanked the organizers
for the opportunity given IBIS to be part of this initiative. She reiterated IBIS’s commitment to
support elections observation of WAWEO in any way they can and wherever IBIS has a countryrepresentative in West Africa. Ms. Rosalind Alp-Hanson wished the team a fruitful training andseized the opportunity to introduce the Communication Officer, Ms Rikke Bruntse-Dahl andProgram Development Advisor of IBIS-Liberia, Ms. Kadja Christensen.The Country Representative of UN WOMEN, Ms. Derex-Briggs attended the opening ceremonyand showed solidarity and support to WAWEO team. She encouraged members of the WAWEOteam and wished them a successful training.WIPSEN-
Africa, WACSI’s p
artner in this initiative and in charge of deployment wasrepresented by Ms. Blanche Selmah.
BRIEFING FOR ELECTIONS OBSERVERS
As the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) was holding a briefing session for allinternational observers, the WAWEO team was conveyed to the NEC secretariat. The briefingaimed at providing international observers with detailed information about the overallpreparations towards the 2011 general elections in Liberia. After welcoming all observers, theexecutive Director of NEC, Hon. John Langley, gave an overview of the 2011 elections whichstarted with the registration of voters, a referendum to agree on certain decisions regarding thenumber of years of stay in Liberia before qualifying as presidential candidature. The FieldCoordinator, Mr. Lamin Lighe then gave updates from the field. He informed observers on thearrival of elections materials, the logistics and security put in place to ensure transparency andfairness of the elections. He also informed observers on the number of magistrates, districts andpolling stations and how many NEC staff will be deployed in every polling station. Observerswere asked to introduce themselves upon arrival to the presiding officer of each polling station.The next person to intervene was the IT specialist of NEC who highlighted the new technologywhich will be used to tally and count votes. He assured of the safety of the link and made somedemonstration to observers. Participants were given the chance to ask questions which were

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