10 November 2010 -- A three-day training on civic and voter education for civil society organizations ended in the Western Bahr El-Ghazal state capital of Wau.
Organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with UNMIS and the UN International Organizations for Migration (IOM), the workshop was attended by representatives of 12 civil society organizations from the states of Warrap, Western Bahr El-Ghazal, Northern Bahr El-Ghazal and Lakes.
Among the issues discussed during the workshop were the legal and administrative framework for the January 2011 referendum in Southern Sudan, the eligibility criteria for casting ballots in that vote, the nine-member commission that will administer the referendum and the procedures for voter registration that gets underway next Monday.
UNDP Senior Referendum Advisor Hadija Miiro said the training was a capacity-building exercise for members of civil society in Southern Sudan who participated in the country's general election last April.
"Civil societies are traditionally very active in conveying messages and knowledge to the public." Ms Miiro said. "(The workshop) is also intended to enhance the participants' understanding of the referendum and share information on other civic and voter education activities taking place in their areas of jurisdiction."
Robert Majok Kuol of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau's branch office in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal state said the training workshop was useful.
"This is a very important and timely training which increases our skills and understanding about the coming referendum," said Mr. Kuol, who has been assigned to public outreach activity for the bureau. "We are ready to discharge what we acquired during the training into practical activities."
Philip Deng Ulak is working for the referendum bureau in Western Bahr El-Ghazal state, and he expressed similar sentiments about the three-day training.
"I benefited a lot from this workshop and understand several important issues associated with the referendum," he said.
Ms. Miiro said similar workshops have been conducted in Khartoum, Juba and Malakal to equip civil society organizations with enhanced voter information to better educate the public at large about the referendum process in Southern Sudan.