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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomePoliticsZim Strengthens Democracy with Electoral Integrity Initiative

Zim Strengthens Democracy with Electoral Integrity Initiative

UNDP Chief Technical Advisor Vincent Da Cruz

The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) has embarked on a crucial initiative to bolster electoral integrity and governance through the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Elections (BRIDGE) program.

This program aims to familiarize electoral stakeholders with the BRIDGE curriculum, emphasizing professionalism and innovative training methodologies in preparation for upcoming electoral activities.

Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International IDEA, Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and The United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs(UNDPPA), the BRIDGE program brings together representatives from various institutions, including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Media Commission, and numerous civil society organizations (CSOs).

“This workshop represents an invaluable opportunity for us to come together to collectively deepen our understanding, to learn, share experiences, and to build the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of advancing democracy,” said ZESN Chairperson Andrew Makoni during his opening remarks.

He encouraged participants to engage actively, challenge assumptions, and build lasting connections to drive meaningful change within their organizations and communities.

The BRIDGE program seeks to create awareness of its curriculum among electoral stakeholders and introduce innovative training methodologies.

By fostering professionalism and offering a platform for interactive discussions and practical exercises, the program aims to empower participants with the tools and insights needed to effectively promote democratic principles.

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“As we embark on this collective journey, let us embrace the diversity of perspectives and experiences that we bring to the table. Let us cultivate an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect, and solidarity, recognizing that our strength lies in our unity and our shared vision for a better Zimbabwe,” Makoni added.

UNDP’s involvement, represented by Chief Technical Advisor Vincent Da Cruz, underscores the international community’s support for Zimbabwe’s democratic development. Da Cruz highlighted BRIDGE’s global impact, describing it as the “global gold standard for professional development in our field.”

He stressed the ongoing need to sustain, refresh, defend, and improve democracy, acknowledging that no democracy is ever fully consolidated.

“Taking part in a TtF is a great opportunity, for you as individuals and for the organizations that you represent. Many election professionals have waited many years before having had the chance to take part in a TtF, taking part in such a course has been a career-changing moment for many, and even a life-changing one for some,” Da Cruz remarked.

ZEC Deputy Commissioner, Ambassador Rodney Kiwa emphasized the significance of the training, noting, “The training aims to create awareness of the BRIDGE curriculum amongst the electoral stakeholders, a tool for professionalism, as well as to expose them to the BRIDGE training methodologies for future training in preparation of the next electoral cycle activities.”

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He elaborated on the Train the Facilitator (TtF) capacity-building workshop’s role in equipping participants with essential facilitation skills and electoral knowledge.

“TtF is tailored for institutions dedicated to upholding democracy and CSOs, aiming to empower participants with the tools and insights needed to drive meaningful change within their organizations and communities,” Kiwa stated.

He also underscored the importance of collaboration and mutual respect, saying, “It’s a privilege to have such a dedicated and dynamic group gathered and united by our shared commitment to fostering democratic values and principles in our beloved nation. Let us cultivate an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect, and solidarity, recognizing that our strength lies in our unity and our shared vision for a better Zimbabwe.”

The training will span eight days, offering a comprehensive approach to strengthening electoral processes and governance in Zimbabwe.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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