Two boats with OBM and other Election Support Items were handed over to the Electoral Commission by UNDP Deputy Resident Representative and Country Manager, Mr Berdie Berdiyev and First Secretary to the Australian High Commission in a brief Ceremony earlier this week at Electoral Office’s warehouse. The ceremony was witnessed by all staff at the Solomon Islands Electoral Office and the SECSIP Project.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony, Mr. Berdiyev acknowledged the Government of Australia, the UNDP major donor partner to the Strengthening Electoral Cycle Solomon Island Project (SECSIP). SECSIP through financial commitment by Australia and UNDP will continue to provide its support to the Commission in achieving its main areas of project outputs, Mr Berdiyev pledged.
Similar sentiments were offered by the First Secretary of the Australian High Commission, Mrs. Kellie Raab, of its ongoing support to the Commission.
Acting Chief Electoral Officer, Mr Fredrick Bosoboe, received these items with deep appreciation on behalf of the Commission.
“Australia Government and UNDP through SECSIP has been supporting the Electoral Commission in fulfilment of its roles and responsibilities”. Mr Bosoboe said.
“I am grateful to the SECSIP/UNDP and the Australian Government for continuously coming to our aid”, Mr Bosoboe uttered.
Mr Bosoboe said that such assistance is timely as SIEO gears up to administer voter registration update in Western and Choiseul Provinces commencing in August 2022 and their provincial assembly elections that will follow suit in December”.
“Voter Registration Centres and polling stations within these two provinces are only accessible by sea transport and is not cheap. Boat hire makes up a considerable expense for Provincial Election Budgets during Electoral events and with the rising fuel prices surge in goods and services in the country, such cost-effective form of assistance will save monies intended for hiring of boats”, Mr Bosoboe said.
“A truly cost cutting assistance and we want to thank you”, Mr Bosoboe reiterated.
In the bigger picture, this is not only cross cutting but it is in line with the Commission’s plan to also establish its provincial election offices in all provinces.
This assistance also allows SIEO staff to soon take possession of new laptops and ICT equipment which will upgrade and enhance staff’s capabilities in carrying out their work.
With our recent upgrade of our office network and the installation of the fibre optic connection, we are optimistic our electoral services will soon go online.
“To our donors, we sincerely appreciate your support in equipping my team at the SIEO. Mr Bosoboe concludes
Items that were handed over includes two boats (23 Feet, Yamaha Rayboat) and two Outboard Motors with lifesaving gear (16 life jackets, 4 TELESCOPIC PADDLES, two anchor kits); COVID 19 protective equipment and products ( face protection shields for staff use, portable water devices to be placed at the entrance of venues for handwashing, hand-sanitizer gel, soap, hand gloves, face masks and hand wipe and other stationary kits in support of the voter registration campaigns, computer hardware, printing and scanning machines.
SECSIP’s funding support to the Electoral Commission has since 2014 is consistently provided and has achieved number of major projects which includes support towards the implementation of the biometric voter registration system and the elections in 2014 and 2019.
Such support has enabled Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to successfully introduced COVID 19 preventive and risk mitigating procedures and measures in its electoral processes, training staff and raising awareness amongst the electorate enabling the citizens of Solomon Islands to continue exercising their rights and electing their representatives in 2020 and 2021.
SECSIP III is an example of a successful collaboration where the efforts of the Solomon Islands Electoral authorities, UNDP SECSIP and Australia have been put together to continue advancing in the consolidation of democracy and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
In development towards achievement of these goals; together as partners; SIEO will continue to acknowledge and support such form of donor assistance for enhancement and strengthening the delivery of election services in the country.