Since 2014, CEPPS has been working in the Pacific Islands to help the region strengthen and consolidate its democratic transition by establishing more participatory, transparent, and accountable government processes. The Pacific Islands region encompasses 12 sovereign nations - the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:
CEPPS works with political parties, government officials, potential candidates, civil society organizations (CSOs), and election management bodies (EMBs) throughout the region to reinforce the foundations of good governance and democratic processes which are responsive to the needs and aspirations of Pacific Island citizens, including traditionally marginalized communities such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities.
To advance this goal, CEPPS supports regional electoral officials to better prepare for and deliver credible elections that are inclusive of all citizens. In addition, we focus on promoting leadership skills among women, youth, and persons with disabilities to run for office and engage established national leaders throughout the region to amplify the voices of these marginalized communities. We also prioritize strengthening the capacity of CSOs and the media to enhance meaningful citizen engagement and increase government accountability.
CEPPS Key Achievements in the Pacific Islands:
CEPPS increases the inclusion of women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized groups in the Pacific Islands’ political process:
- Empowered Pacific women with disabilities to advocate with government officials through Power to Persuade trainings, as a result a woman with a disability was encouraged to run for a provincial seat in the Vanuatu 2020 general elections. Her campaign was a powerful example of leadership for women with disabilities in her country;
- Established a dynamic network of women leaders across the region through the Leadership Training Schools which trains women to advocate for issues of critical local importance – with alumni going on to run for office in Tonga and Vanuatu, establishing a CSO in RMI, advocating for the passage of the Coral Sea Cable System through their Solomon Islands communities and supporting other women affected by COVID-19 through capacity building trainings with subawards;
- Partnered with the Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) to support citizen election observation using a gender perspective – most recently, BWF observers monitored the by-election for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville’s representative in the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea, in January 2021.
- Partnered with the Solomon Islands National Council of Women to conduct Youth Leadership Trainings in two provinces reaching 40 young men and women to help better advocate for youth issues in local governments;
- Provided three subawards to local CSOs meant to combat misinformation and hate speech surrounding COVID in Fiji;
- Conducted research and dialogue with civil society organizations, political party representatives and government officials on elimination of violence against women in politics in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands;
- Partnered with regional organizations to combat misinformation in the Pacific Islands on issues surrounding COVID-19;
- Empowered women, youth and persons with disabilities to advocate for inclusive COVID-19 policies.
CEPPS strengthens electoral processes through support to Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and CSOs:
- Conducted needs assessments in the Solomon Islands to identify areas for the EMBs and government to address gaps in services and strengthen democratic processes – findings will inform CEPPS efforts to support both the Solomon Islands Election Commission (SIEC) in enhancing operations as well as local residents and CSOs in contributing to developments in their communities;
- Supported roundtables with CSOs, law enforcement authorities, election officials, and the international donor community to increase awareness of violence against women in elections and discuss strategies to mitigate its risk in the 2019 Bougainville referendum;
- Supported three CSOs to provide voter education campaigns and combat misinformation ahead of the 2019 Bougainville referendum which reached roughly 6,400 people, including over 3,000 women and young persons;
- Partnered with a local CSO to develop and distribute a short film to combat misinformation ahead of the 2019 Bougainville referendum; and
- Conducted a regional survey with EMBs, CSOs, and other regional actors to identify and respond to challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, with special attention to its unique impact among marginalized groups, including women and persons with disabilities.