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WANEP trains 120 domestic election observers

Nov 23, 2016, 9:35 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has conducted a two-day training course for about 120 domestic election observers, ahead of the December 1st 2016 presidential election.

The training activity, organized by the CSO-Coalition for elections, under the leadership of WANEP and funded from the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was held at the Gambia Pastoral Institute on Kairaba Avenue.

The CSO-Coalition stated that its participation in the elections indicates a growing realization and involvement of Gambians in the democratization process of the country, and provides Gambians the unique opportunity to directly participate in the observation of elections in a more organised and robust manner.

As part of the election monitoring and observation process for the 2016- 2018 cycle, the coalition has developed and validated 31 election monitoring indicators to monitor, analyze and to mitigate any possible electoral violence nationwide.

In her speech, UNDP resident representative Mrs Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje expressed delight to be part of the opening ceremony of the training course for Domestic Election Observers, organized by the CSO-Coalition for Elections, under the leadership of WANEP.

“The UNDP has adopted a partnership approach under this project to support the 2016-2018 electoral process. We are supporting civic education, focusing especially on first-time voters, effective participation of women; voter education and training of polling staff; training on effective media coverage and responsible journalism; and inclusive dialogue on electoral issues.

“We are particularly proud to be supporting the CSO-Coalition on Elections, a key stakeholder of these elections. I take this opportunity to thank you for participating in meetings we have invited you to. I am pleased that we could support you for the monitoring and observation of these elections.”

Mrs Lekeotje, who said the theme of the training course - Civil Society Actors Contributing to National Development”  is very appropriate and insightful, stated that peaceful and credible elections are critical elements of democratic societies, and are good for ensuring economic development.

“Development also goes hand in hand with respect for human rights, peace and security,” she said, adding that every country needs civil society organisations, because they ensure that citizens get involved in positive and constructive ways to benefit their communities, regions and countries.

By training and sending electoral observers in the field, the CSO-Coalition on Elections is performing its responsibility, and contributing directly to increasing the transparency of the electoral process and, therefore, to the long-term development and prosperity of The Gambia and its people, she further stated.