UN builds stakeholder capacities on effective electoral practices

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Civil society and youth representatives, government partners, women, and state elections committees in Northern Bahr El Ghazal came together for a two-day workshop facilitated by the United Nations Integrated Electoral Assistance Team to boost capacities on electoral standards, principles and management techniques. Photo by Emmanuel Kele/UNMISS

24 May 2024

UN builds stakeholder capacities on effective electoral practices

Emmanuel Kele

NORTHERN BAHR EL GHAZAL – “Conflict in South Sudan has left us women in a position where we aren’t well versed or equipped to take our rightful place in politics, governance or decision-making,” revealed Maria Aluek Bak from Northern Bahr El Ghazal’s Women’s Association.

Maria was speaking at a forum facilitated and organized by the United Nations’ Integrated Electoral Assistance Team (IEAT) which aimed to hold discussions on electoral standards, principles, and management techniques necessary for a free, fair, credible and peaceful process.

“Women must be made aware of their rights and responsibilities before they set out to cast their vote,” she added.

With high rates of illiteracy among women, Maria believes that such interactive workshops are the key to ensuring their robust participation as this young nation approaches its first post-independence elections.

“The training we have received here is vital and it’s our responsibility to trickle this down to our peers in our communities. We shall be the voice for women to have more active agency in the life of our nation,” she declared passionately.  

The workshop focused on boosting confidence and capacities in electoral issues through peer-to-peer engagement. During discussions, 25 participants exchanged experiences and electoral community networks of practice between their respective organizations.

“The training was fruitful because we learnt about the legal framework for the elections, obligations, and standards, as well as electoral management bodies. As civil society representatives we shall reflect this knowledge by training our colleagues on their responsibilities as citizens of this country,” said Marco Madut Wol, speaking on behalf of members of civil society organizations attending the event.    

For their part, youth representatives, too echoed their appreciation for the initiative and called for more such trainings prior to the start of polling for young people to be able to cast informed votes when the time comes.

“It’s vital for us as young people to be fully informed of political developments and especially as we are heading towards our country’s first elections. Such workshops have a significant impact because we get clued in on our rights, roles, and responsibilities. We hope that the UN will hold similar workshops across the state and in different parts of the country so that young South Sudanese can help actively shape a peaceful, prosperous future,” said Marco Manut Majak, Deputy Chairperson of the Northern Bahr El Ghazal Youth Union.

The training brought together members of the state’s election committees and their secretariats; civil society; government institutions; and media partners.