Training Election Officials and Rights Advocates in Papua New Guinea for Disability-Inclusive Elections

On November 8, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) conducted a training with Papua New Guinea Election Commission (PNGEC) staff and disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) on disability-inclusive elections. The training, which was led by IFES Senior Inclusion Officer Rebecca Aaberg and IFES PNG Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Officer Aileen Sagolo, empowered PNGEC and DPOs to work together to identify barriers to meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

PNGEC and DPO participants discuss how to design disability-inclusive activities for the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion pillar of the Corporate Plan.

For most PNGEC participants, this training provided their first opportunity to work with DPOs. Through an interactive training methodology, participants collaborated on the development of action plans for the implementation of disability-inclusive activities toward the fulfillment of the PNGEC Corporate Plan. Election officials and advocates also learned about direct and indirect discrimination in political life, reasonable accommodations for electoral participation, and intersectional barriers experienced by persons with disabilities who have multiple social identities.

“There has always been a gap between [the] PNGEC and DPOs and now in the training, we have built the bridge to address and improve processes to be more inclusive.” – Alice, PNGEC official

IFES will continue to work closely with PNGEC to implement the Corporate Plan and provide expertise on how to include persons with disabilities in electoral activities.