Sustineo was engaged by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conduct the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) Voter Awareness Survey. This survey is part of the ongoing effort to improve electoral outcomes in the Solomon Islands. The objective of the project was to provide an evidence based assessment of the performance of the Voter Awareness Programs, establish a baseline data set to assist with future monitoring and evaluation, and to inform future communication messaging and funding decisions.
Sustineo drew together a combination of strong expertise in Solomon Island electoral systems and survey development, with deep experience working in the Pacific. Sustineo’s signature collaborative and open approach to client relationships with the project partners, SIEC and UNDP, was critical to developing and ensuring the survey that was developed was credible, rigorous and practical. The survey drew on a representative sample of the entire voter population, estimated to be 339,000 people. Sampling considered key variables of gender, rural/urban divide, age, and education levels. A total of 1,332 respondents were surveyed from 14 Enumeration Areas (EAs) across five provinces within the Solomon Islands (Honiara, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Western Province and Makira-Ulawa).
Sustineo recruited, trained and coordinated a team of 17 local staff with all survey enumeration and data entry conducted in the Solomon Islands. SIEC were engaged during the training and piloting stages to provide their insight regarding the electoral process and to ensure confidence in the team undertaking the work. The enumerators were closely engaged with the survey throughout the survey design period, which built project ownership, validated the survey design and translation, and ensured the enumerators understood the survey and its purpose.
The final report provided a comprehensive assessment of key aspects of voter knowledge, attitudes and practice related to electoral systems in the Solomon Islands. The survey results both produced baseline information regarding electoral behaviours but also provided important insight into the effectiveness of key communication channels used in the VAPs. The findings highlighted that many of the previously assumed best mechanisms for the VAPs were not providing the desired returns. The final report provided recommendations for policy makers to more effectively target messages towards key demographics, and guidance regarding which aspects of the electoral system need to be subject to greater attention within the VAPs. Project outcomes were noted by UNDP as being beyond their expectations and will inform future strategy development regarding VAPs, as well as inform the communication channels used by SIEC.