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GIZ, ECOWAS Train Administrators, Stakeholders In Electoral Boundaries

ECOWAS Electoral Affairs Division (EAD) has organized modular training on electoral boundaries aimed at identifying the need for ECOWAS member States to establish a formal structure and guidelines to complete delimitation process.
The training is supported by GIZ through the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) project, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).
Hosted by the BRIDGE accredited facilitators (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections), the training in Lomé, Togo began on July 26, 2021 and will continue until July 30, 2021.
The objective is to strengthen the capacities of professional election administrators to achieve effective and sustainable electoral process.
Modular training is also aimed at allowing electoral administrators and stakeholders to explore the potential consequences of the route of electoral boundaries or not and identify the principles that lead to a fair and effective delimitation process if electoral boundaries are to to be created.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. Remi Ajibewa, ECOWAS director of polite affairs thanked the European Union, the German government and all the partners involved for their financial and technical support.
Dr. Ajibewa stressed the importance of training and acknowledged that ” it is important to equip electoral administrators so that they can master electoral districts and face the challenges associated with this critical stage of the electoral process “.
Speaking also at the event, Yusuf Shamsudeen, technical adviser on electoral affairs, said; ”It is clear that there are several challenges facing the electoral division in the subregion.
Addressing these challenges requires not only a good understanding of the principles and criteria of standard boundary delimitation, but also a conclusive commitment from all electoral actors. ”
He thus noted that training should not be considered a punctual intervention. Knowledge gathered should be used to engage essential stakeholders around electoral districts in the respective countries.
Mr. Shamsudeen reiterated that GIZ will continue to collaborate with ECOWAS in capacity-building initiatives related to electoral issues.
While recognizing the importance of training, the President of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Mr. Ayassor Tchambakor, pointed out that a better understanding of the knowledge translation that will be acquired during the training will lead to an improved electoral boundary process in West Africa and also urged participants to follow with great attention.
At the end of the training, it is expected that all participants will know how to explore the concept of alternative approaches to border delimitation, understanding the broad principles behind credible and acceptable border delimitation process and the magnitude of the electoral district as well as understanding the principles and criteria for a good boundary and its structure.
In addition, participants will participate in practical delimitation exercises such as seating assignment, producing map and database, assessing district plans and preparing an operational plan for conducting a process of delimitation.
Participants will also learn how to compare and contrast the delimitation practices in many countries, explore the potential consequences of adopting different approaches and assess which methods are potentially sustainable in their own context.
This is the first of two BRIDGE training courses planned by ECOWAS with the support of the GIZ-EPSAO project.

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