“In every community in Solomon Islands there is a church”.
 These are the words of Mrs Lily Chekana, in her welcome note to the church participants during a two day ‘Voter Awareness Church Engagement Strategic Workshop’ organized by the Solomon island Electoral Commission supported by the UNDP Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP).  
Mrs Chekana was the facilitator of the ‘Voter Awareness Church Engagement Strategic ‘workshop which was held at Heritage Park Hotel on the 2nd and 3rd November 2017 last week.  
 The purpose of this workshop is to look at strategic ways in which churches can assist the Electoral Commission in voter awareness activities in reaching out to voters in the country. 
Electoral Commission’s Media, Communication and Public Awareness Officer, Mrs. Philothea Paul said that this workshop is a continuous effort of the Electoral Commission to achieve its objective of ensuring active stakeholder and community engagement in the electoral activities. 
“This is a very important workshop as it enables the Electoral Commission to inform church leaders and representatives on the electoral processes and to identify areas that we could work together in informing voters about the electoral processes in enhancing voters’ participation.” 
Using the church structure is one of our strategies in stakeholder engagement and I am happy that this workshop has enabled us to know, understand and identify areas and levels within the structure that we can work with”, Mrs Philothea Said. 
Rev Jefferey Takina one of the participants said that this workshop is fitting and has enriched and given us a clear understanding of the Solomon Islands Electoral cycle and processes. 
“It is timely for churches and the government right and responsible authorities to work together in informing and motivating so as to give confidence to all Solomon Islands citizens to participate with an informed mindset in the election process”, Reverent Takina said. 
Pastor Jack Maega, founder of Home and Family Impact Ministry who was a participant at the workshop also voiced his appreciation to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission for recognizing the need to work with the churches. 
“Solomon Islands is a Christian country and it is the church that has the highest population outreach and therefore it is the only most effective network for the dissemination information to the grass-root”, Pastor Maega highlighted. 
He also shared that, there were some attempts from other organizations to work with the churches in the past however has not came to the local church level. 
“It is my hope that this initiative is actively actioned and successful” 
It has been a fruitful two-day workshop. 
The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) would like to thank the churches and the participants for recognizing the call for working together by responding and actively participating in the strategic workshop. 
The Electoral Commission would also like to thank UNDP SECSIP international partners Project (SECSIP), the Government of Australia and the European Union, for their financial support in ensuring these initiatives are implemented.