Bernadette Ntumba, 61, travels with her new voter’s card everywhere she goes. She is one of some 30 million people registered to vote in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s second ever national elections, scheduled for 28 November this year.

“I always have it with me because it also serves as an ID,” she says of her card, issued at one of 8,163 registration centres set up by the independent National Electoral Commission through a project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working together with the Congolese government.

In addition, each registration centre was equipped with a voter kit made up of computers, cameras, fingerprint scanners and printers to enable staff to issue new voter cards, avoid double registration and build a reliable database.

In some cases, due to the vast distances and the time pressure on the registration operation, transporting equipment and collecting vote information from hard-to-reach towns and villages involved helicopter airliftshe peacekeeping UN Operation for the stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO).To ensure electricity supply at centres in more remote areas, UNDP provided 1,000 diesel generators, while 1,000 solar panels were installed in locations where fuel is scarce.

Through the electoral project fund of more than US$202 million, UNDP trained some 31,000 Electoral Commission and temporary staff to conduct various functions for the upcoming presidential and assembly vote, including registration and updates to the existing register.

Funds for all aspects of the electoral processes - including provincial and local elections to take place from 2011 to 2013 – are being managed by UNDP and have been contributed by a range of donors.Donors comprise the following: Belgium, Canada, the European Union, France, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UNDP and the United Kingdom.DRC’s first multi-party general elections took place in 2006.

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