Statement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission
Launch of the Pilot Community Elections Advocate Training of Trainers Community Engagement Project
Tanoa Waterfront Hotel, Lautoka
The Supervisor of Elections;
United Nations Development Programme staff;
Representatives of various community groups and
Members of the media
Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
We have had two (2) general elections under the current electoral system. Until now, Fiji has had elections based on the ‘first past the post system’, ‘limited preferential system’ and now the ‘proportional representation’ system.
As the Electoral Commission [EC], it is our job to create and disseminate information about the electoral system and Fiji’s electoral processes. We firmly believe that only through direct and crude information, we can build an active, informed and confident voter population in Fiji.
I am here today to launch this ambitious initiative that should contribute to building the stock when it comes to our efforts. We will directly train community based representatives to become Election Awareness Trainers. These Community Elections Advocates will then conduct a 15-minute awareness session with their community members.
We decided to be strategic about this. The Fijian Elections Office [FEO] has already conducted its Nationwide Registration of Voters Drive and this new initiative will add to the ongoing awareness efforts. It will add to the transfer of information and continue to build on the information that is already out there.
What better than having a conversation about one of the most important functions we have as citizens of Fiji than to have that conversation with your friend, colleague or community representative. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility and we should know about it. We should be the ones talking about it!
I would like to acknowledge the collaboration of the UNDP with the FEO in facilitating this critical community-based initiative. Making elections a topic of discussion in the grass-roots and arming people with direct crude information is certainly the way to go!
Before I conclude, I want to wish all the participants that have been selected and who will be trained all the best and I am confident that you will be able to carry out your roles diligently and effectively.
With that being said, I now officially launch the Pilot Community Elections Advocate Training of Trainers session.