Who

Citizens who want to exercise their right to vote, especially those historically marginalized and left out of civic engagement.

What

Improving citizen engagement in the political process.

Where

16 provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Equateur, Haut Katanga, Haut Lomami, Ituri, Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Kinshasa, Lomami, Lualaba, Nord Kivu, Nord Ubangi, Sankuru, Sud Kivu, Tshopo, and Tanganyika.

How

Training local groups to improve effectiveness in helping citizens know their civic rights and how to participate in democratic elections.

Challenge

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is emerging from decades of dictatorship and conflict. After a controversial national election in 2011, many Congolese people wanted to learn more about the democratic process and how they can participate. Women, youth, indigenous populations, and religious groups are particularly likely to be marginalized in the civic space, yet their inclusion in civic life is essential to the democratic process. Public awareness and voter education activities are critical to help citizens learn how to vote and why their vote matters. Civil society organizations exist for this, but additional resources are necessary to navigate a complex security situation and confront this as a country-wide issue. With tensions high and the eyes of the world upon the upcoming elections, Counterpart is helping these civil society organizations ensure that Congolese citizens are informed about their democratic rights and are encouraged to participate peacefully and to the greatest extent possible in the political process of their country.

Promise

In preparation for new elections, the country launched a voter registration process in 2016. After repeated delays, elections are now scheduled for December 2018. Counterpart is supporting democratic processes in the DRC through the USAID- and UKAID-funded Congo Demokrasia project and the . Both support a more fair and transparent democracy by increasing voter participation, focusing specifically on increasing the civic engagement of women, youth, religious groups, and indigenous populations. We are building the capacity of local organizations to deliver voter education programs that help citizens make informed voting decisions and participate actively and peacefully in elections.

With generous support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, Congo Demokrasia uses a variety of tools and media to increase the civic engagement of a variety of diverse populations, including women, youth, rural populations, indigenous populations, and other marginalized groups.

A second program, Promoting Increased Civic Engagement in the Lead-up to Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (PRICE) program, builds on the successes of Congo Demokrasia. Supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, PRICE supports a peaceful electoral process in high-risk areas of the country. Partnering with three influential civil society organizations, Counterpart has designed voter education campaigns, citizen forums, and media campaigns about peaceful civic engagement, specifically targeting women and youth, who have been marginalized in past elections.

Impact

Counterpart has reached millions of citizens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through our programs:

  • An estimated 11,760,000 citizens were impacted through media campaigns discussing relevant milestones of the electoral cycle and conveying civic education messages; More than 3 million citizens have been reached through face-to-face sensitization campaigns, such as civic and voter education forums;
  • More than 3 million citizens have been reached through face-to-face sensitization campaigns, such as civic and voter education forums;
  • 264 local civil society organizations have coordinated more than 28,000 activities to facilitate an increased understanding, particularly among marginalized populations, of peaceful civic engagement, the electoral process, and the right of citizens to participate in the civic space; and
  • More than 800 civic and voter education facilitators learned to communicate the details of the electoral calendar and constraints from the new electoral law using the fiche thematique (fact sheet) in 2018.

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Partners

Congo Demokrasia Funders: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UKAID)

PRICE Funder: United States Department of State

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