In Kinshasa, the president of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Father Apollinaire Malu Malu, presided, on 18 november 2008, over the official launch of a pilot project intended to train electoral personnel in the use of new technology to further reinforce their capacities.
Nicknamed "SatElections", this project is being put in place thanks to a partnership between the IEC, the European Space Agency (ESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Commission, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and a consortium made up of OPENET Technologies Spa (Italy), SES-ASTRA (Luxemburg) and Newtec (Belgium).
Making use of special technology, this online training will help to overcome many logistical and financial problems in terms of the deployment of personnel, and to facilitate the transmission of electoral data, the registration of candidates and election results in a timely way.
According to Father Malu Malu, the project aims to produce the first-ever e-learning modules on effective electoral assistance and electoral administration; to assess the feasibility of broadcasting the modules with a cost effective and sustainable satellite technology ; and also to assess the possibility of using the same satellite technology for creating an internal network for electoral management bodies to meet their electoral data transmission needs.
He said that thanks to its deployment in the case of the DRC's 2008-2011 electoral cycle, the SatElections system will provide an effective, sustainable and adaptable solution in support of African electoral cycles.
Six towns will receive equipment that operates online. These include Matadi, Kinshasa, and Lubumbashi which are already covered by NSS7 satellite, and three other towns, namely Kikwit, Kananga and Mbuji-Mayi, which will be covered later. Five other towns not covered by NSS7, namely Bukavu, Goma, Kindu, Kisangani and Mbandaka will be provided with offline equipment, Father Malu Malu said.