The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) national office in Liberia, in collaboration with the National Elections Commission, has commenced a week-long civic education and voter awareness in three of Liberia’s 15 counties, namely Nimba, Bong and Margibi, which started yesterday in Ganta, Nimba County.
The civic education and voter awareness on non-violent and conflict free elections will be held under the theme: “Promoting non-violence in the 2017 general and presidential elections in Liberia.”
According to an ECOWAS press statement, the civic education is part of efforts aimed at ensuring that voters receive specific information in order to enhance an effective voting experience. The civic education will also focus on the rights and responsibilities of voters as citizens to participate in the political process, the importance of elections, the concept of free and fair elections and the importance of not just participating but voting as well.
The statement said the three counties are part of the first phase of the ECOWAS initiative targeting a population of 3,000 participants, who are expected to come from student and youth groups and pen-pen riders due to the fact that people in these categories are the ones mostly at risk of being influenced to easily engage in violent behaviors as occurrences in the past have shown.
The ECOWAS national office said a population of over 600 persons will be targeted to participate in each event in each county.
The ECOWAS national office stated that the counties were selected based on the fact that they are the most populated in terms of registered and eligible voters and their urban communities are dominated by mostly young people, heavily students and pen-pen riders, while the last one (Nimba) is a unique case given its proximity with the neighboring member state of Guinea.
Phase one will cover Ganta City, Nimba County; Gbarga City, Bong County; and Kakata City, Margibi County, while the second phase will focus on Paynesville City, Montserrado County and Tubmanburg City, Bomi County. Program of activities earmarked for the project include soccer games that bring together teams from various schools, youth groups and pen-pen riders’ associations across the selected cities.