The VEC in Fiji

A group of people posing for the camera in Fiji. They are smiling and some are wearing traditional dress.

Recently our Education and Inclusion Manager, Abigail Elliott, went to Fiji to work with the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP). Abi helped facilitate workshops and discussions encouraging people to speak openly about Fiji's last general election, and opportunities for improvement.

'They invited a great group of Community Election Advocates (CEAs) who could offer lots of useful insight and value,' Abi said. 'They looked for people who had strong voices and weren't afraid to speak up.'

On the first day of the workshop Abi spoke about the VEC's community engagement programs and what we've learned through running our own Democracy Ambassador program. On the second day, the group focused on the engagement of people with intellectual and mental health-related issues. The UNDP currently has a strong focus on engaging this community, as they are often the most under-represented and marginalised.

On the final day of the workshop, the group examined privilege and how to better include marginalised community members. Two female community leaders attended the workshop – one who leads a women's community organisation and one who is the only female Turaga-ni-Koro (village head) in Fiji. They highlighted different issues for women in leadership positions and spoke about how various challenges, including the strong patriarchal culture in the villages, impacted women standing as candidates.

Abi emphasised the value of contributing to democracy by participating in this opportunity and learning about another country's electoral system.

'Sharing the electoral engagement we do in Victoria hopefully helped the FEO,' Abi said. 'It was also a valuable opportunity to reflect on what we can learn from other countries, especially for the culturally and linguistically diverse communities we work with in Victoria.'

Contact us to learn more or to book an education session with one of our Democracy Ambassadors today:

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