16 Mar 2022
Earlier this week, more than 40 participants attended a Community Education Workshop on Electoral Systems and Processes at the Peninsula International Hotel in Suva. The workshop was part of the “Building Public Confidence in Elections in Fiji through Civil Society Action” project, which is jointly implemented by Dialogue Fiji and International IDEA and is funded by UKAid.
Speaking during the opening session of the workshop, Mr. Amitesh Prasad, the Programme Manager of theConflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for the Pacific region, said that elections were an important cornerstone of democracy and afforded citizens the power to choose their leaders. Given its implications for political stability, the focus on elections was integral.
“We feel that there is a dire need to work in areas of conflict and the issues that bring stability and security,” said the CSSF Programme Manager.
“One of the reasons why we felt that election support is important is because no matter how many security issues we tackle, we don’t fundamentally the cover issue of elections and electoral processes. Thus, we decided to fund this project to be implemented by Dialogue Fiji in conjunction with International IDEA.”
Workshop participant, Joape Namawa, a University of Fiji student said that there is a need to enlighten youths about the importance of their participation in electoral processes either as voters or candidates, the procedure to become eligible for voting and to actually cast their vote; and ways to assess the poll-worthiness of a candidate.
“After this workshop, I understand the roles and responsibilities of youths like myself in determining our country’s fate,” said Namawa
Another participant, Jone Biunaivalu from Hakwa Foundation, thanked the facilitator for his insightful presentation and the DF team for coordinating and managing the workshop.
“I think Dialogue Fiji’s workshop are really enlightening, every time I attend any of these, each time I learn something new. I just hope that whatever I have learnt today can be brought to all Fijians so that they are aware of their individual power in the next elections,” Biunaivalu shared.
The day-long workshop was facilitated by the DF Executive Director, Nilesh Lal, who took participants through various sessions on electoral systems and processes, history of electoral system development in Fiji, seat allocation methods and implications, and afforded participants opportunities for deliberation.
The next Community Education Workshop would be held in the western division. A call for Expression of Interest for participants would be made soon.