eTraining via satellite in support of African electoral cycles begins in Congo

2 December 2008

The pilot operational phase of SatElections, an innovative project for the production and delivery of eLearning modules on Effective Electoral Assistance and Electoral Administration via satellite, was launched on 18 November 2008 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The President of the Independent Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (IEC-DRC), Mr Apollinaire Malu Malu, inaugurated the system.
The SatElections project interacts closely with the activities of the Global Training Platform on Effective Electoral Assistance, lead by a joint European Commission - United Nations Development Programme Task Force (EC-UNDP) on Electoral Assistance and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). This represents the first step toward validating the fulfilment of the operational communication and data transmission needs required by most African electoral management bodies.

With financial support from the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy, the SatElections system is being developed by an industrial consortium coordinated by ESA in the frame of the Industry Partnership Telecommunications Programme, the fourth element of ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme. The industrial consortium includes OpenNet Technologies S.p.A. from Italy, SES ASTRA from Luxembourg and Newtec from Belgium.

The SatElections satellite network is based on the broadband internet protocol technology of Newtec’s Sat3Play, which has been developed through ESA’s ARTES programme. It is operated by SES ASTRA from the network operation centre located in Betzdorf, Luxembourg, using Ku-band capacity provided by SES-ASTRA on the southern-African beam of its NSS7 satellite.

Through the cooperation of the industrial consortium, the IEC-DCR, the Joint EC- UNDP Task Force and International IDEA, the SatElections project aims to:

  • produce the first ever eLearning modules on effective electoral assistance and electoral administration
  • assess the feasibility of broadcasting the modules with appropriate, cost effective, and sustainable satellite technology
  • assess the feasibility of using the same satellite technology for creating an internal network for electoral management bodies and for their electoral data transmission

The project will demonstrate, through the real case opportunity of the 2008-2011 electoral cycle of the Democratic Republic of Congo, that the SatElections system and associated services can provide an effective, sustainable and scalable solution for audio, video and data transmission in support of African electoral cycles.

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