Benin: Election Support

GPECS and UNDP were involved in the run up to Benin’s general election, held in March and April 2011. The overall project involved a country-wide census mapping exercise, biometric registration of citizens, the development of a computerized permanent voters list (LEPI), and the production and distribution of voter cards. It involved local and national media, civil society organizations, and religious, social and political organizations.

The key element of UNDP’s electoral assistance to Benin was to support the registration of four million voters through a computerized voters list. As part of the process, the agency also provided the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA) with 18,000 ballot boxes, 360,000 sequentially numbered seals, indelible ink and other electoral material.

GPECS’s contribution of US$1.4 million was used to acquire biometric kits and help support a population-wide sensitisation campaign.

Snapshot of a voter supported in Benin:

Simone is an independent retailer of various household items such as plastic bowls and children's clothes that she buys in Nigeria and Togo. This work brings in just enough money to feed her family and pay for her three children’s school fees. Since she never had identity documents, Simone needed to pay bribes to cross the border. As a result of the project, Simone was able to obtain a voter card made at one of the collecting centres. This card, which includes information about her identity, fingerprints and a photo, also serves as a national identity card. With it in hand, Simone can now cross the border and has no need to pay additional fees.