SECSIP completes pre-election training for CSOs

April 9, 2024

Training participants in Solomon Islands.

Photo: Supplied

Honiara, Solomon Islands – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has continued its support to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) through a series of pre-election trainings for Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the country.

As part of UNDP’s Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP), jointly supported by the European Union and the Government of Australia, this nationwide outreach effort integrates the hands-on experience of CSOs with the expertise of UNDP’s electoral assistance in conducting awareness outreach campaigns, with the goal of effectively communicating and promoting fair and transparent elections throughout the country.

The initiative also underlines the importance of informed participation in the electoral process, empowering individuals to become more actively engaged in the democratic process.

A total of 17 provincial and community based CSOs successfully underwent training. Participants included: Development Service Exchange, Young Women’s Christian Association, Dignity Pasifik, Hearts of Hope, Tefita, Stages of Change, Solomon Islands National Youth Congress, COPGI, Apunepara Ha’amwaora Natural Resource Association, Western Provincial Council of Women, Choiseul Provincial Council of Women, Isabel Provincial Council of Women, Central Provincial Council of Women, Guadalcanal Provincial Council of Women, Makira Provincial Council of Women, Temotu Provincial Council of Women and Rennell and Bellona Provincial Council of Women.
The SECSIP facilitated trainings were conducted in nine different locations throughout the country namely; Honiara, Lata (Temotu province), Kirakira (Makira province), Auki (Malaita province), Tulagi (Central Islands province), Buala (Isabel province), Gizo (Western province), Taro (Choiseul province) and Rennell and Bellona province.

SECSIP Deputy Project Manager, Zefi Keritina, noted that the training was designed to empower citizens with information and knowledge of the democratic process, elections and the system of governance in Solomon Islands.

“The six key areas of focus covered in the trainings include understanding Solomon Islands governing system, rights and responsibilities of electors and candidates, mechanisms for delivery of public goods and services, election offences, correcting common misconceptions and election facts. Each section of the training was designed with clear objectives, enriched content and interactive activities or questions to foster engagement. The goal was to empower citizens with knowledge on the democratic process, governance system and their rights and responsibilities as electors and candidates.”

She added:

“CSOs were provided important insights on the Solomon Islands’ Constitution, traditional governance and representative democracy, misunderstandings between democratic principles and customary practices, fundamental rights and duties of electors, conditions for candidacy, importance of choosing competent representatives, election bribery and undue influences, election process and joint elections, procedures for polling day, vote counting and results, and post-election activities.”

The SECSIP training has since received overwhelming support from many of its participants, labelling the initiative as timely.

“This workshop is very important to cater for the right of information of every Solomon Islander that will practice their right to vote in this year’s election,” Ruth Maetala of Dignity Pasifik Organization described.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Selina Berah of the Guadalcanal Provincial Council of Women:

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to gather information on the challenges experienced during former elections as well as best practices that we are to convey to our communities.”

Meanwhile, the awareness outreach campaigns to be delivered by CSOs have rolled out this month in communities across all corners of Solomon Islands and will lead up to the joint parliamentary and provincial council elections set for 17 April 2024.

SECSIP is UNDP’s flagship project supporting the Government of Solomon Islands in the country’s democratic development by strengthening the sustainability of electoral processes and the capacities of key electoral institutions to deliver credible elections.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Burke, SECSIP Project Manager, UNDP Solomon Islands, +677 7445703