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UNMISS with partners hold electoral administration skills training in Yambio

Learning more about democratic electoral processes was the objective at a recent workshop organized by UNMISS in Yambio. Photos: Felix Francis Katie/UNMISS

WESTERN EQUATORIA – With South Sudan’s first post-independence elections expected to take place in December, much building of electoral capacities in the young nation is needed. In Yambio, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan recently held a three-day training for both civil society representatives and members of the National Election Committee from across the state.

The workshop was an opportunity for participants to learn more about acceptable standards, principles and administrative techniques that are essential for the electoral process to work smoothly.

“It has equipped us with knowledge and skills on how to approach different aspects of an election, not least how we will engage with and inform our population at the grassroots level,” said Udie Daniel, Head of Governance of the Network for Civil Society Organizations in Western Equatoria.

A key factor of any electoral process is inclusivity, for example the active and effective participation of women before, during and after the elections. This, too, was addressed by Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE), the international umbrella organization, consisting of UN entities and others, responsible for the facilitation of the training session.

Electoral participation can take multiple forms that contribute to the realization of civil and political rights. One important thing is supporting women's political participation across the electoral cycle a message well captured by Moni Tabitha, a participant and Head of African Women Help organization in Mundri.

“Now we are ready to talk to our sisters in a way that will make them want to and be able to get properly involved,” said Moni Tabitha, Head of the African Women Help Organization in Mundri.

“We women should aim higher than the 35 per cent political representation stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement. We must understand that we have rights that go beyond being housewives and parents,” she added.

Supporting the implementation of the peace agreement is an important part of the UNMISS mandate, as is providing technical support to South Sudan’s electoral preparations.

“We expect the civil society members to contribute positively to the process. We hope that they will have a positive impact by raising electoral awareness among their fellow citizens,” said Farayi Nyamayaro, focal point for the peacekeeping mission’s Electoral Affairs Division’s office in Yambio.