MHRYN The NDI Project
Previous elections and campaigns were observed as not being issue focused but mostly based on propaganda and character assassination.
Young people take part in politics through youth wings which politicians also take advantage to misuse youths to advance their evil agendas such as disturbing political opponents’ rallies.
The role that youth have been playing in the past elections has usually been negative. Politicians have been using youths to intimidate their political rivals. Campaigns as such do not address, nor help voters in making informed decisions.
The Malawi Human Right Youth Network (MHRYN) is implementing an Issue Based Voter Education project with funding from USAID through NDI.
The project is being implemented in two constituencies namely; Lilongwe City Centre covering wards such as; Mgona chatata ,Mvunguti, Kabwabwa, Chimutu, Nyama, Lumbadzi and Maria and Lilongwe city south west constituency covering wards such as; Mchesi,kawale1, kawale2, Ngwenya, Biwi, Tsabango 2 and Sese and Mtandire.
The goal of the project is “To ensure that the electorate votes for political leadership based on issues, sound manifesto content, ideology and policy”
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
I. To promote active youth and citizen engagement with aspirants
II. To promote issue-based voting among the electorate
III. To encourage accountability among elected politicians
MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF THE PROJECT
- MOBILIZATION AND BRIEFING OF KEY STAKEHOLDERSMHRYN conducted briefing meetings for key stakeholders such as the Chief Executive and Other District executive committees, Multiparty Liaison Committees and meetings with key stakeholders at community level. The following are some pictures during the mobilization meetings;
- Issues Scoping:
MHRYN engaged in issues identification meetings in both constituencies targeting over 60 young people per ward representatives of various sects of youth. During these meetings, young people identified several issues and managed to prioritize them as follows please see annex NDI 1 for identified issues according to ward and constituencies. The issue identification meetings helped the youth to identify and prioritize development issues that affect them. These issues also helped to inform political parties and candidates manifestos concerning issues relating to the youth.
- Issues publicity
After issues scooping the identified were compiled comprehensively and according to thematic areas and produced Leaflets, posters and banners. The issues were also publicized to the communities and constituencies. Picture showing posters of compiled issues.
- Candidates Debates:
After identification of issues and publicizing them to the constituencies, MHRYN conducted debates for both aspiring MPs and Councillors to promise on what they will do to the youth once voted into government in relation to identified issues.The candidates also signed commitments to address issues affecting the youth in order to also ensure their accountability to the electorate once voted into power.
- Pledge and voter education Campaigns:
Both aspiring MPs and councillors from the two constituencies signed statements of commitments on the issued identified by the youth. See annex NDI 2 for issues and signatories of aspiring candidates.MHRYN also conducted issue-based voter education campaigns through conducting road shows, drama, and jingles. The civic education was aimed at encouraging the youth go participate in voting and not to engage in violence.
POST ELECTION ACTIVITIES
• MHRYN intend to conduct capacity building of the youth, on how they can follow up on the commitments
• Conduct awareness and civic education on the roles of local councils and members of parliament
• Conduct human rights education among the youth across the country with emphasis on minority rights
• Advocate and lobby for reinforcement of section 65 and 64 etc
Download the key issues which emanated during the mobilization meetings and debates