ARLINGTON, Va., November 13, 2018 – Counterpart International today announced a new initiative to strengthen voter education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, Counterpart will implement the Je Vote! project, which will work alongside Counterpart’s two existing voter education projects by educating citizens on election day rules and procedures.
Presidential, national, and provincial assembly elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are scheduled to take place on December 23, 2018. Voters have expressed concerns about the reliability of the voter registry and electronic voting machines, which will be used for the first time in this election.
Through offices in Kinshasa and six provincial capitals, Counterpart International’s two existing projects in the DRC have supported civic education and voter mobilization, informing citizens of their rights and assisting them in registering to vote. With Je Vote!, Counterpart will build upon its extensive network of civil society partners to quickly disseminate information to voters and provide technical assistance to the independent national election commission (CENI).
The project will:
- Conduct civic and voter education sessions in partnership with local civil society organizations and CENI. These sessions will educate 210,000 voters by election day.
- Facilitate consultations between civil society and CENI to improve understanding of observation and poll watching during the elections.
- Develop education posters that will be used by rapidly mobilized animateurs who will conduct brief, as-needed education sessions. 10,000 copies will be posted in the schools, churches, markets and other public locations where voter education sessions are held.
- Produce a radio campaign that will reach six to eight million citizens. The campaign, designed in partnership with Fondation Hirondelle, will consist of short public service announcements on voting procedures to be broadcast across the country through community radio stations.
“We have found that, in many communities, Counterpart’s voter education initiatives are the only source of information on elections and voting that people will receive,” said Steven Sharp, Counterpart’s Chief of Party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Je Vote! will allow us to reach several hundred thousand additional people in the final weeks of this immensely important electoral campaign.”
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