IFES Trainings Build Electoral Inclusion Capacity in Liberia
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized two one-day workshops on February 16 and 17, 2017, in Monrovia, Liberia, to increase the capacity of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) on electoral inclusion of persons with disabilities. Working closely with the NEC Gender Section, which co-facilitated the training, IFES designed interactive sessions on disability inclusion throughout the electoral cycle. “Empowering Persons with Disabilities to Participate in Elections” included members of disability rights groups from all 15 counties of the country and was the first opportunity for many NEC participants to interact with members of DPOs.
Activities throughout the day included interactive sessions on a variety of electoral topics. Participants learned about and provided their own examples of reasonable accommodations for elections and barriers to participation of persons with different types of disabilities. A session on designing inclusive polling stations focused on assessing physical accessibility and training poll workers to support voters with disabilities. The NEC and DPOs also discussed disability rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Electoral Code, as well as conducting disability-inclusive activities throughout the electoral cycle.
“Thank you to IFES for organizing such a great work shop that was an eye opener for us.”
– DPO training participant
The workshops were part of a larger initiative to enhance efforts of the NEC Gender Section on disability rights. In addition to leading the NEC and DPO workshops, on February 22, IFES Inclusion Officer Rebecca Aaberg worked with the NEC Political Section to organize a roundtable discussion with the Inter-Party Consultative Committee Forum, a body of political parties convened by the NEC, on leadership of persons with disabilities in political life.