Election Official Training in Bangladesh: Project Overview and Recommendations
The International Foundation for Election Systems has been most grateful for the opportunity to serve the Election Commission Secretariat of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The Election Official Training Assistance Project undertaken in October/November 1995 was originally proposed by the International Foundation for Election Systems in the report of its pre-project assessment mission conducted in January of 1995. In follow up to that assessment, a subsequent visit was scheduled in June of 1995 at which time specific elements of the proposed project were discussed with the Election Commission, Election Commission Secretariat and USAID. Upon favorable consideration, the project was approved and was ultimately funded by USAID.
The primary focus of the proposed project was to provide technical assistance and commodities support to the Secretariat in support of its newly established Electoral Training Institute. In particular, IFES proposed a multi-tiered project to help prepare the new Institute in developing a comprehensive training program for election officials throughout Bangladesh for the upcoming Parliamentary Elections tentatively scheduled for the winter of 199511996. Throughout preliminary meetings emphasis was placed on the development of materials and training techniques that would not only give polling station officials an improved understanding of the procedures to be followed in the conduct of the poll. Key to the proposal was an intent to design components which would also serve to strengthen their confidence and ability to work effectively and impartially within the difficult political environment which continues to hinder the smooth conduct of free, fair and safe elections. Integral to the proposal was a desire to elevate the· standards of conduct to which polling station officials would feel compelled to aspire, and to help promote public confidence in their integrity and competence.
Toward these ends, the project encompassed several components which have been completed:
• Preparation of an Instructional Manual and Quick Reference Guides
• Development of an Election Official Pledge and Code of Conduct
• Assistance in Formulating a Training Plan • Preparation of a Trainer's Manual
• Production of a Media Campaign Designed to Promote Public Confidence in their local Election Officials
• Provision of Necessary Computer and Communication Equipment to Improve the Capacity of the Training Institute to Conduct its Activities
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