The United National Development Program-UNDP, on Wednesday June 10 turned over assorted materials worth US$ 72,000 to the National Elections Commission, to support their ICT unit and the data center. The donation was made possible through funding from the government of Sweden, one of the donors of the Elections Basket Fund Project. It comes at a time when NEC is preparing for the holding of a Special Senatorial Elections in 2020, which requires effective and efficient ICT operations.
Making the donation on behalf of UNDP, the Resident Representative- Pa-LaminByai, first congratulated the newly appointed Commissioners and reaffirmed UNDP’s commitment to the bilateral partnership with NEC in promoting democratic governance in Liberia.
He added that the donation was the agency’s way of responding to the urgent need to refurbish the ICT setup at NEC, emphasizing the critical role of the National Elections Commission in the perseverance of democracy through the conduct of free fair and credible elections, to which ICT and Data Center play an essential role.
The UNDP Boss thanked donors including Sweden, EU, Irish Aid and Canada for their continuous partnership with UNDP in supporting the National Elections Commission, and called on the NEC to use the materials donated in the best ways that promote the conduct of transparent and credible elections. In separate remarks, the Head of Cooperation at the Swedish Embassy- Elisabeth Hårleman, firstly thanked NEC for continuing the work of elections despite COVID-19.
She added that Sweden was pleased to be part of supporting national development, especially its support for the electoral processes implemented through UNDP. “Sweden will continue to support national development and seeks continuous support for the National Elections Commission (NEC),’’ Harleman noted.
She recognized the importance of ICT in the conduct of elections, emphasizing that she was pleased to be a part of the handover of equipment and materials to enhance ICT capacity which will contribute to the conduct of transparent and credible elections.
Ms. Harleman called on the Government of Liberia through its institutions especially the National Elections Commission, to take concrete steps toward women empowerment and increase their participation in electoral processes.
Receiving the items on behalf of the Commission, the acting chair, Commissioner Davidetta Brown- Lansanah, thanked UNDP and donors for their intervention. She added that the donation did not come as a surprise as the Commission has been the recipient of continuous support from the 2015-2018 Elections Project which started on June 1, 2015.
Ms. Lansanah outlined key support received from the UNDP Elections Basket Fund to include the installation of solar panels to provide electricity at the 19 magisterial offices of the Commission, the installation of an automated platform for work process- the ERP, the provision of warehouse safety materials and equipment, including a modern 3- ton forklift, the ongoing renovations of 12 warehouses including the constructions of fences and generator rooms; the provision of voter registration equipment for the 2017 elections and the provision of technical support through consultancy as support that have strengthened the capacity of NEC over the years.
Commissioner Lansanah concluded by calling on donors and the UNDP for continuous assistance to NEC, while promising to use the items donated to further promote credibility in election processes. The items donated, include 72 solar batteries for the battery bank, a Network Access Storage (NAS), 7 pieces 12000 BTU air-conditioners, 2 -24000 BTU air conditioners and 4 electronic access control- security locks system.