The Economic Community of West African States National Office in Liberia in collaboration with the National Elections Commission is expected to commence a week-long civic education and voters’ awareness in three of Liberia’s 15 counties namely: Nimba, Bong and Margibi Counties, beginning this Sunday, October 1, 2017 in Ganta City, Nimba County.
The Civic Education and Voters 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 statement released last Friday, the Civic Education and Voters Awareness is part of efforts aimed at ensuring that voters gain access to specific information in order to enhance effective voting exercise. The civic education will also focus on the rights and responsibility 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 continued that the three counties are part of the first phase of 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 experiences in the past have shown.
ECOWAS National Office says over 600 persons will be targeted to participate in each event in a county.
The statement furthered that the project will provide civic education and awareness on the rights and responsibilities of voters as citizens to participate in the political process, civic education and awareness to voters on the importance of these elections; civic education and awareness to voters on the concept of free and fair elections and civic education and awareness to voters on the importance of not just participating but actually voting.
However, the ECOWAS National Office stated the counties were selected based on the fact that they are the most populated counties in terms of registered and eligible voters and their urban communities are dominated by mostly young people, large number of students and pen-pen riders, while the last one is a unique case given its proximity with neighboring States.
Phase one will cover Ganta City, Nimba County, Gbarnga City, Bong County and Kakata City, Margibi County, while the second phase will focus on Paynesville City, Montserrado County and Tubmanburg City, Bomi County. Programs or activities earmarked for the project include soccer games that bring together teams from various schools, youth groups and pan-pan riders associations across the selected cities