Election Project 2016
In order to achieve this, we did a number of things. Firstly, we went onto local radio where they held debates and topics regarding the elections. These included appearances from parliamentary candidates who used this as a platform to inform their audience of their party manifesto. This was delivered in the relevant local languages to make sure that it was accessible to the desired audiences. By doing this, we aimed to encourage beneficiaries to be able to come to an informed decision themselves about which party most strongly correlates with their own views.
TradeAID also provided practical demonstrations on how to vote, with narrations provided in Fra-Fra. We brought a member of each community and taught them about the policies of each party, with the intention that these individuals would pass on their findings to their communities. We also taught the blind how to vote using a tactile jacket, which had a different number of beads to represent a different party. This allowed them to vote independently instead of having to rely on someone to take them. We also took the van into communities to educate people on how to vote properly, as well as registering people who had never voted before. In addition, we put up posters explaining how to vote for both literate and illiterate people, with diagrams to explain both the system in place when you get the voting ballot and how to properly display your vote on the card.
When working on this project we always had in mind the principles of TradeAID and creating Sustainable development, so that progress can continue when our work is done. In providing communities with knowledge about political parties, as well as how to vote, how use a tactile jacket and so on, we have provided knowledge that the beneficiaries can put to use in not just this election but future ones. In teaching individuals to ‘peer train’ others, we encourage them to pass on their knowledge, which can be passed onto new generations.
The societies were pleased that we had taken the time to help them in time for the elections, enabling them to use their own voices to have a say in issues which affected them. Such groups are often largely ignored in the run up to elections, because they are for one reason or another unable to vote. The ability to vote not only allows them to say a say in issues that affect them, but also means that politicians will begin to increasingly make policies with them in mind, in order to hope to win their vote.
Of the five communities, the number of votes cast increased in three. The number of spoiled ballot papers also decreased in three of the five. As such, we have deemed this project a great success!