The Elections Disability Accessibility Working Group (EDAWG) has introduced a robust 4-year work plan, marking a major step toward ensuring all Fijians, irrespective of their abilities, have equal participation in the democratic process.
Anaseini Senimoli, the EDAWG Chairperson and Director Operations of the Fijian Elections Office (FEO), emphasized the recent successful endeavors of the group.
“We’ve introduced the Assisted Voting Steps Diagram, developed an Assisted Voting Steps Easy-to-Read Guide, and expanded its accessibility in languages like Hindi and I-Taukei,” Senimoli remarked.
She also highlighted the translation of these guides into Braille and audio formats, ensuring they were available across the country’s 2055 polling stations.
With the support of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), EDAWG introduced a Voter Instructions Booklet and transformed it into Braille.
“Our achievements underline the unwavering support of partners like USAID and the Pacific Community. Their dedication harmonizes with our ambitions within the PROJECT Governance framework,” said Senimoli.
She acknowledged the contributions of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the SPC.
“Their support enabled us to enhance the ‘Assisted Voting’ section of the Presiding Officer’s Manual.”
EDAWG’s future plans, leading to the upcoming General Election, encompass conducting accessibility audits, offering disability-awareness trainings for election staff, and partnering to frame disability-friendly policies for the Fijian Election Office.