In many places in the world there are people who struggle to be heard. When it comes to having a voice in the highest authority in the land, the difficulties in some countries can be almost insurmountable.
Access issues affect all aspects of an election. People with special needs face numerous barriers to participation in political and electoral processes. This module examines strategies for promoting their participation in elections,
This module is designed for women and men in electoral management bodies, governments, donor agencies and NGOs, gender specialists, disability specialists, as well as individual consultants and trainers, who are interested in access issues in relation to election processes, and/or have the responsibility of ensuring fair access in their organizations.
The module explores some key governmental and societal elements that must be aligned to ensure all eligible voters are able to participate in all election processes. These include:
The module is structured around the various phases of the electoral cycle, election stakeholders and political life:
1. Election Phases
2. Election Stakeholder Organisations
In election administration, as in the wider world, people with special access needs seldom occupy high-ranking positions or possess significant public status. In this module, participants explore some of the obstacles faced by people with special access needs in the workplace and public life, and look at ways in which they can be overcome.
The module focuses on analyzing and addressing inequality in the staffing, procedures and culture of organizations as well as in development programs. It covers practical strategies and skills for mainstreaming the inclusion of people with special needs, including the use of planning frameworks, logical frameworks and inclusive policies that address typical access issues. Critical analysis of current theory and practice is encouraged throughout the course.
It also explores best practices from around the world that enhance the participation of people with special access needs in both post-conflict and more stable democracies.
3. Political Life
This module explores the concept that democratic elections are key to peace-building in post-conflict situations, and that the inclusion of all types of people is vital to ensuring sustainable democracy. Elections provide a key opportunity for people who regularly suffer discrimination to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed. Through participating in elections, their potential contributions to peace and democracy can be maximized.
Through regular contact with officials, political parties, media representatives, NGOs and other electoral stakeholders, people with special access needs can provide valuable insights into the rights of all types of people, the barriers to equal participation in public life, and the reforms that might help overcome them.