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 Ahead Of 2017 Election, NEC Launches Its Revised Strategic Plan July 21st, 2016

The Revised Strategic Plan of the National Elections Commission (NEC) was on Thursday, July 21, 2016 launched in Monrovia.

The Plan was launched by the Co-Chairperson of the Commission, Cllr. Sarah Jegede Toe who described the document as a milestone achievement in the 2012-2018 electoral cycle. Cllr. Toe said the Revised Strategic Plan has helped the Commission to clarify the sets of goals and strategies that reflect the changing external and internal environment in which the Commission operates noting that the last few years have brought many changes to the way in which elections are conducted in Liberia.

She said for the next several years, the pace of change promises to be even more intense as a result of rapid advances in technology, legislative change and evolving expectations on the part of our citizens and other stakeholders.

The NEC Co-Chairperson said the Commission, guided by its Strategic Plan for the period 2012-18, has so far successfully met most of the challenges of the electoral cycle, with the conduct of the 2014 Special Senatorial Election and the reform of the election laws which were the focuses of the first part of the Strategic Plan.

She however noted that having now reached more than half way through its implementation, the scope of the Strategic Plan needed to be reappraised to ensure that it remains relevant to the evolving needs of the Commission and its stakeholders.

The NEC Co-Chairperson noted that in the last months, the NEC, in collaboration with its partners, has conducted a series of consultations and held internal discussions to reassess the purpose of the Commission, analyze the external environment in which it operates and determine the current challenges and opportunities.

“The result of these multiple efforts is our Revised Strategic Plan. It builds upon the work we have undertaken over the past four years to envision our strategic direction for the period 2012-18 and upon the achievements we have realized in implementing the first part of this Plan. This document also reflects a consensus on the realignment of the major areas where we believe the NEC must focus its attention and build on the significant progress already made in meeting the goals for improved services and innovation,” she noted.

Cllr. Toe said through the revision of its Strategic Plan, the Commission has harmonized the key objectives and related broad strategies that the NEC would pursue over the period 2016-18 and how such progress can be measured.

The Revised Strategic Plan represents the strategic direction that the Commission will pursue over the next two years (July 2016 – June 2018). Under five pillars, the Plan seeks to achieve the following strategic goals and related strategic actions and activities which have been detailed in the Commission’s operational plan:

  1. Legal Framework: To strengthen the legal framework ensuring that clear guidelines and regulations are provided which defines how the Commission operates; enhance stakeholders’ understanding of the laws, regulations and guidelines that inform effective management of elections.
  2. Electoral Stakeholders Engagement: To engage the participation of stakeholders in the electoral process and to enhance cooperation between the NEC and electoral stakeholders thereby strengthening the integrity of the electoral system.
  3. Civic and Voter Education (CVE), and Public Information: To strengthen Information, Education and Communication (IEC) services of the Commission and enhance citizens’ understanding of the electoral process; increase voters’ participation in elections; mainstream gender in the CVE processes; and increase the participation of the media in CVE campaigns.
  4. Institutional Strengthening: To strengthen the Commission’s human capacity, strengthen its management and information systems, and mobilize resources for the purpose of delivering free and fair elections.
  5. Election Operations: To deliver free, fair and credible elections in support of the sustenance of peace, stability, and democracy.

Additionally, The NEC Revised Strategic Plan embodies three important features that require attention. These features underscore the major highlights from the revision, as well as present the argument for realigning the priorities of the Commission:

       a. Gender

The strategic plan has given due consideration to the issues of gender, outlining key steps to pay attention to the special needs of men and women. Besides efforts to promote the participation of women in the electoral process, there are clear actions to increase the participation of women as elections workers. So, the plan is gender-sensitive.

      b. Participation of special needs groups

The plan outlines actions for increasing outreach to persons living with disability in order to ensure their equal participation in the electoral process. This also includes working with youth to increase the participation of first-time voters. Overall, the plan supports a grassroots approach - work with local communities by forging strong partnership and collaboration with local structures such as women groups, youth groups, civil society organizations, and local and traditional leaders.

      c. Monitoring and Evaluation

Indicators for measuring these results have been well articulated in the plan. In support to the Strategic Plan, departmental operational plans have been developed, outlining performance targets and detailed timeline. The mechanism for results management is outlined in an M&E plan.

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