International attention has been focused on the referendum for independence for Bougainville in November-December 2019. HWC was actively engaged before, during and after the referendum.
Leading up to the referendum, HWC delivered a program on CIVIC EDUCATION involving 6 large scale activities throughout Haku, a Radio Awareness program and many villages and church-based awareness sessions.
This work was made possible through a surprise funding partner from Washington, USA. The National Democratic Institute sent out funding representatives from their partner IRI (International Republican Institute) for awareness in democratic election processes.
HWC developed our own three main messages to deliver when we fielded 6 teams of 6 presenters in each area of Haku:
Voting and counting
20 HWC members registered with the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) as Accredited Observers – DOMESTIC. We had 20 observers in small teams observing each of the 5 Haku Polling Teams – covering 23 Polling Stations over one week from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 November.
Then 10 of us were accredited to attend the Counting Centre as Observers for the BRC operation at the Hutjena High School Hall.
This was a 24-hour process and the volunteers worked in shifts, sleeping on floors on their breaks.
We had interesting roundtable discussions with several of the International Observer Teams including some from the Pacific Islands Forum The whole experience was historical and a privilege to witness. See the HWC report with our observations and recommendations.