Civic and Electoral Education
Civic and Electoral Education
The civic and electoral education programme focuses more on youth and women than the general populace. The programme empowers youth, women in particular and other stakeholders to participate in civic life. It disseminates civic information on Lesotho’s political system and context not ignoring the economic, social and political matters. As part of electoral strategies, these groups are further engaged in immediate electoral processes to actively participate in the democratic life of Lesotho. The department provides voter education during election periods to help the public appreciate electoral processes, their roles, responsibilities and rights as voters. It aims to give Basotho information and training on the democratic and electoral affairs of the country, making the public understand the relationship between elections and democracy.
Youth and women are enabled to demonstrate critical thinking, understanding and interpretation of democratic and electioneering matters. This program assists youth and women to engage and interact with policy makers to influence positive change. The Programme creates platforms for community dialogues and public debates on local and national governance issues. Amongst other activities undertaken are youth and women trainings on democracy education, media advocacy on treaties and legal frameworks which protect women and girls, students’ parliament, national dialogues on public participation laws and electoral reforms.
Empowering young people on democracy education: with this intervention, the focus is actually on out of school youth drawn from youth formations (political party youth leagues, church youth, and young entrepreneurs. The programme facilitates dialogues and debates involving young people on broader issues of democracy education. These youth organizations are selected from within community councils.
Empowerment of women and girls to participate in politics: Participation of women in politics is very low in Lesotho (only 22 percent of women representation in the National Assembly; only 1 political party in parliament is led by a woman). The programme intends to enlighten women on a number of practical cases affecting them in relation to the existing legal frameworks which hinder the growth of women and girls to take active role on democracy and good governance issues within their communities. It further facilitates media campaign that provides publicity of ratified treaties which protect women.
Civic education: Lesotho’s voter turnout has dropped below 50 percent which is an indication of poor civic education and inadequate commitment of stakeholders such as civil society organizations, faith based organizations and the local authorities to support civic education projects. This has resulted in limited public participation in democratic and developmental activities. To reverse this particular trend the programme undertakes civic education that is inclusive of all sectors of the people within the communities. This approach has targeted organised groups (community based organisations, faith based organisations) within the communities, civil society organisations at national level, political parties’ structures (national executive committees), young people (students), women groups and people with disabilities.