All West Africa Women's Elections Observation Team Established
Maiden deployment of WAWEO during the 2011 Liberia Elections.
The West Africa Women’s Elections Observation team (WAWEO) was formed in response to recommendations from the 2nd Annual West African Women’s Policy Forum jointly convened by WACSI and Women, Peace and Security Network (WIPSEN – Africa). The forum was convened in Abidjan in December 2009 under the theme “Our Politics is NOW: Moving beyond the Rhetoric of Women’s Political Participation”.
The birth of WAWEO revolves around WACSI’s engagement in creating tactical spaces for civil society to promote civilian participation in democratic processes and the development of the sub-region. During the 2011 general elections in Liberia, the WAWEO team comprising of eight (8) nominated observers headed by Madam Eunice Ekweley Roberts, former Commissioner of the Electoral Commission of Ghana was sent to Liberia. From October 5, 2011 when the WAWEO team arrived in Liberia, they worked across three (3) counties; Montserrado, Margibi and Bomi.
Their objective was to establish whether conditions existed for women in Liberia to freely express their will through the polls. WAWEO observers augmented the work of the fourteen (14) observation teams that was present in Liberia at the time.
Although limited funding for the process prevented all trained observers -30 of them - from participating in the observation process, the eight (8) observers unanimously remarked that Liberian women impressively participated in various capacities in the 2011 general elections. “Their enhanced capacities were manifested in the active roles they played as candidates, polling staff, party, agents, observers, security personnel and voters”, they further highlighted.
WAWEO observers reported that above 50% of election observers representing civil society and faith-based organisations were female. 10 of the 99 contestants for the senatorial position were women. 0ne (1) woman out of 16 candidates contested for Vice- presidential office and two (2) out of the 16 presidential candidates were women with Eleen Johnson-Sirleaf emerging victorious for a second term. Kudos! This historic achievement revolves on the tenacity and devotedness demonstrated by Liberian women to foster democracy in their nation.