CIVIC EDUCATION AND VOTER INFORMATION WORKSHOP IN MUTARE

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) with funding from DAI through Transparency, Responsiveness, Accountability and Civic Engagement (TRACE) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) conducted the last of the three day Civic and Voter Information BRIDGE workshop from 1 – 3 November 2017, in Mutare with 37 participants comprising 17 women and 20 men (drawn from different Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).  

Three facilitators (one male and two females) delivered the workshop namely:-

  1. Rindai Chifunde Vava, Female (National Director, ZESN) – Lead Facilitator
  2. Sibongile Zimemo, Female (Consultant, South Africa) – Accrediting
  3. Harris Potani, Male (Deputy CEO, Malawi Electoral Commission) - Accrediting

Zimbabwe has moved from a predominantly manual voters’ register used up to the 2013 harmonised elections to electronic biometric voter registration (BVR). This voter registration system is being rolled out for the first time in preparation for the 2018 elections and is running from October to December 2017. The objective the workshop to the build capacities and enhance the preparedness of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to deliver civic education and disseminate voter information to the Zimbabwean public.

Civic education would provide an opportunity to Zimbabweans to appreciate why it is important for them to participate in elections and to assist in clarifying that the biometric voter registration (BVR) is new and calls for fresh voters’ register and therefore the need for all eligible to register. For voter information, the citizenry needed to know exactly when, where, and how the registration would be taking place including what to present to the registration teams in order to be registered as a voter.

Form the evaluation from the evaluation and feedback received it shows that participants liked it. They described it as eye opener. They also called for the holding of a similar workshop but with adequate period focussing on the 2018 General Elections on Get Out to Vote campaign. A good number of participants called on the need for an “increased participation of more the physically challenged” and “Practical involvement of various people with special needs among the participants”

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