With a reduction of the international presence in Liberia and a planned full withdrawal of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in 2018 the country continues to strengthen its national institutions and processes to conduct future elections in a credible and sustainable manner.
In 2017 Liberia will be conducting its third general elections since the signing of the 2003 Accra comprehensive peace agreement that ended 14 years of conflict. This will be a key election in consolidating the reputation of the election commission and by extension deepening trust in the electoral system and democratic consolidation.
Although good progress was witnessed in the three years since the 2011 elections in strengthening some of the National Elections Commission’s capabilities there continues to be a need to consolidate these achievements.
Support to the 2015-2018 Liberian Electoral Cycle builds capacity of the National Elections Commission for improved delivery of credible and transparent elections.
The project supports institutional capacity building of the election commission, strengthening administrative structures and staff capabilities that are crucial to the conduct of elections.
It also works to increase the participation of all individuals eligible to vote or be elected in public elections by promoting an inclusive electoral process that increases the participation of women and young voters as well as builds public confidence. Conflict resolution platforms and increased stakeholder outreach are part of the overall strategy of inclusion.
Preparations for the 2017 general elections are also supported and technical expertise provides assistance to a number of areas. This includes planning and logistics, training material and manuals, information technology and procurement.
What are the core outputs of Support to the 2015-2018 Liberian Electoral Cycle project?
Outputs work to increase long-term capacity in the following areas:
Strengthening institutional capacity by supporting training tools, staff development and assisting introduce modern administration systems.
Increasing the role of women and youth in public and political life by promoting greater participation of women and young people as voters and candidates as well as more women in positions in the electoral management body.
A more inclusive election supporting the election commission strengthen its abilities to reach out and engage stakeholders, and resolve disputes, in an effective and transparent manner.
Supporting the 2017 general elections including a new voter register with 2.1 voters registered using equipment supplied by the project. As part of this initiative a civic and voter education campaign reached over 1 million people using traditional communication platforms such as palava hut meetings.
Training and capacity building specialist
Kulsoom Akhtar Meraj is working with UNDP Liberia Election project as Training and Capacity Building Specialist since September 2016 and has over 16 years of experience in designing, planning and managing capacity-building programs in fields of elections and other sectors.
Before joining UNDP Liberia, she worked with IFES Pakistan as “Training and Capacity Building Manager” where she led the training activities for the Election Commission of Pakistan. Prior to work with IFES, she worked with UNDP, JICA, GTZ, Plan International and HEAL. She has extensive experience in developing user-friendly training materials, designing and implementing large scale trainings and capacity building programs for permanent and temporary Electoral staff. Kulsoom managed two nationwide polling staff trainings during the 2008 and 2013 General Elections in Pakistan. During the training courses approximately 1.2 million electoral staff were trained across country.
Ms. Meraj holds M.Sc (Honors) degree and is a certified BRIDGE facilitator. She has led workshops on electoral systems; out of country voting (OCV); voter registration; boundary delimitation; electoral technologies; polling, counting and results; and pre-election activities. She is an author of various publications including research papers and thesis.
National program officer
Roosevelt has over Thirteen years of professional experience- Four years working as school administrator and about nine years of uninterrupted work experience in UNDP Liberia since August 2007.
At UNDP-Liberia serving as National UN Volunteer and service contractor respectively, Roosevelt worked in various positions including National Program officer for the National Youth Volunteer Service Program in Lofa and Grand Bassa Counties, Administrative Assistant for the Volunteer for Peace Project; Administrative Assistant for the 2010-2012 Liberia Elections support project and now National Program officer for the 2015-2018 Liberia Elections support project.
He holds a Master of Science Degree in Regional Science and a BA degree in Sociology from the University of Liberia, with several post graduate certificates including “BRIDGE” ToT, certificate in project management and public procurement from the Liberia Institute of public administration.
His key functions include effective and accurate financial resource management and oversight, implementation of operational strategies and procedures, proper control of the project assets, management of project budget, financial reporting to donors and other stakeholders and providing advices and guidance on financial matters to Electoral Commissions.
Jérémie Kouakou is an Admin/Finance Specialist with 20 years of professional experience with the United Nations (UNDP and UNOPS).
Prior to joining this position in August 2016, Jérémie Kouakou served as:
Jérémie holds a Master degree in Finance from “Ecole Supérieure de Gestion”, Paris/France and an Advanced University degrees in Computer management (BTS) and DEUG 2 in Economics Science from the University of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
CTA – UNDP election project
George Baratashvili is a United Nations election expert with 17 years working experience in the field of governance and elections. His area of expertise includes electoral strategic planning and operation, administration, institutional changes, staff capacity building and rule of law.
He is currently UNDP Liberia Chief Technical Advisor. Baratashvili’s working experience includes capacity building of electoral officials, advising election administrations on electoral operation, external relations and training matters.
During his intensive electoral experience, George provided consultancies on electoral planning for IFES, UNDP, UNOPS, The Asia Foundation in Afghanistan, Liberia and Georgia. He has participated in organization of the elections in Georgia (2003, 2004), Afghanistan (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010) Liberia (2011, 2014) and implemented electoral processes in the field of staff training, procurement, logistics, field operation and capacity building.
George took part in development of post-election staff capacity building projects in Afghanistan and Liberia. George is graduated from Tbilisi State University faculty of International Law and Relations and holds Masters Degree in Law (LL.M) from Lund University in Sweden.
Procurement assistant – elections
Robert Hill is the Procurement Assistant for the Elections Project (UNDP). He has more than 10 years of supervisory/managerial experience in procurement and logistics, both with international non-governmental organizations and government (higher education). He has worked in relief (conflict environment) and development operations.
Before joining UNDP, in 2010-2016, he served as Director of Procurement at the William V.S. Tubman University in Maryland County, Liberia, having oversight responsibility for its entire procurement process. Before Tubman University, he worked with Save the Children Fund Liberia in 1996 – 1999 and Oxfam Liberia as Senior Logistician operating in a war and hostile environment. Mr. Hill is a CIPS-qualified and very experienced procurement/logistics professional.
Scholastica L. Jasy-Toe newly joined the UNDP Liberia Election project as Administrative Assistant on 1 July 2017 providing administrative support to the project. She has over 7 years of Administrative experience with projects, operation and finances.
Before working with the UNDP Election Project, she worked with UNDP Operations in the Security Unit as Administrative Clerk, Ministry of Internal Affairs as Administrative Assistant, UNDP Kokoyah Millennium Village Project, Marking Department, Total Liberia Limited, Sofina Nursery and Elementary Schools.
Scholastica holds a BPA degree in Public Administration and minor in Sociology at the University Liberia.