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National Commission for Democracy concludes Civic, Voter Education

HomeAYV NewsNational Commission for Democracy concludes Civic, Voter Education

National Commission for Democracy concludes Civic, Voter Education

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AYV News, June 2, 2023

The National Commission for Democracy (NCD), with support from International Idea and with funding from the European Union has completed a day’s Town Hall Meeting on Civic and Voter Education for first-time voters, youth, women and the physically-challenged at the Kossoh Town.

Similar engagements were earlier held in Kenema, Bo, Makeni and Port Loko.

Following the Message Development and Validation Workshops and the production of the messages into jingles, posters, radio and TV dramas and text messages, NCD embarked on the implementation phase of the Sierra Leone Democracy Strengthening Project supported by International IDEA with funding from the European Union.

NCD Commissioner for the Western Area Rural, Benjamin Macfoy said that they have organised similar events in the regions, that NCD is the oldest governance institution in the country and that when developing the concept note they looked at various thematic areas.

The NCD Executive Secretary, Abdul Rahman Conteh commended donors for the support to implement the program, reiterated the need to engage various stakeholders on the election and civic education and appealed to all to live in peace as well as observe violence free-elections.

Senior Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, Haja Rugiatu Kamara enlightened that the Ministry is the conduit between the public and government, assured that they would take the concerns of the people to government and appealed to participants to disseminate the knowledge gained at the meeting reiterating that the importance of the meeting cannot be overstated.

Elections Coordinator for the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (EC-SL), Bailor Jalloh disclosed that they are guided in their operations by the Constitution of Sierra Leone, assured that they involve all stakeholders in every stage of the elections process and guaranteed that the process will be credible, free, fair and transparent.

Chairperson of NCD, Mariam Samu asserted that she has special interest in first-time voters and youths because they are the future leaders of the country, appealed to participants to make positive contributions during the engagement and reminded them that rights go with responsibilities.

John Lahai, Program Officer, NCD, made a similar statement.

Director of Communications, NCD, Rev. Gibrilla Kargbo gave a PowerPoint presentation of the Proportion Representation and District Block systems of voting respectively.

The regional engagements were in line with Specific Objective (SO) 1 of the Sierra Leone Democracy Strengthening Project to wit: enhance the active and inclusive participation of citizens in the electoral and political processes, with a particular focus on women, youths and persons with disabilities.

In each of the five administrative regions of the country, NCD brought together the targeted audience (women, youths and People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) in an interactive session with opportunities to interface and interact with the messages produced with room for feedback that will inform further modification or review of the messages.

With these thematic focuses, NCD is expected to address the concerns that are often raised by way of closing the noted gaps in the electoral and political processes in the context of the June 24, 2023, national elections with due consideration given to the democratic aspirations of the people.

As conscious effort is made to enhance the participation of the people, NCD is being very strategic in its approach to having a face-to-face interaction with the women, youths (especially first-time voters), PWDs in each region of the country.

The general goal of the Regional Town Hall Meetings is to ensure that a select group of the targeted audience is engaged with the messages produced by NCD in an interactive session as mindsets are positively impacted for the best outcomes in the elections.

The specific objectives of the engagements are to improve on the perception of women, youths and PWDs about the elections; enhance the participation of women, youths and PWDs in the elections; create an opportunity for questions and answers especially on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the elections;

The expected outcomes are to improve perception of women, youths and PWDs about the elections, enhanced participation of women, youths and PWDs in the elections and opportunities created for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the elections.

Each Regional Town Hall Meeting targeted a maximum of a hundred (100) people with each regional office inviting about eighty (80) people including the core staff. Sister institutions in these regions formed part of the invited guests even as NCD was mindful of its targeted audience (women, youths and PWDs).

Also, the headquarters of NCD, the Sierra Leone Office of International IDEA and the European Delegation in Sierra Leone were represented by twenty (20) people.

The Regional Town Hall Meetings were characterised by opening ceremonies followed by interactive sessions included presentations of the messages and the question-and-answer sessions under the auspices of an Internal Coordinator.

The Communication Team of NCD interviewed representatives from each of the targeted audience for onward broadcast on traditional and social media with room for press releases on each regional engagement. Furthermore, each Town Hall Meeting was broadcasted live by community radio stations to make room for feedback from an external audience in the regions where the programs were hosted.

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