Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Best Kept Secret

One story that has been hugely under reported over the past year is the landmark elections held in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year. In 2006 UNDP helped register over 25 million citizens - many of whom could only be reached by helicopter or boat - setup 53,000 polling stations, and help coordinate two rounds of voting.

Considering that country is the size of Western Europe, elections went off with only minor problems and the country's first democratically elected President and Congress were selected to begin undertaking the task of helping the country recover from a 40 year civil war.

Of course elections only mark the beginning - not the end - of recovery. DRC will require further support from its neighbors and the rest of the world as it rebuilds. UNDP is helping out in a number of areas, including a large program to help democracy take root by building local institutions, tackling corruption and helping the new legislators understand what it means to represent their fellow citizens.