After relaunching its office in April 2018, with European Union financial assistance, EISA Mali identified five Civil Society Organisations it could support that would be able to focus on developing and implementing a voter awareness strategy during the electoral processes around the presidential elections conducted in late July 2018.
70 long-term observers, including 28 women, were deployed during the national dialogue in the communes (7-8 October 2019), circles (14-15 October 2019) and regions (21-23 October 2019) of the country.
It should be noted that EISA CSO partners are part of the dialogue committees set up by the government at all levels ie communes, circles, regions and national. As such they participate at all these levels and put forward their recommendations. In this context, during the preparatory workshop on the contribution of civil society to the national dialogue, (7-8 September 2019).
A challenge has been the lack of interest in register with the civil registry which, in turn, meant that young people were not included in RAVEC, and therefore the voters' list. Amongst several recommendations made by POCIM to the ministry in charge of administration reforms, was to make possession of new biometric ID cards issued by the civil registry mandatory for access to university. This was agreed to by the government which means that more young people are included in the voters' list as the electoral register is extracted from the civil register. This decision is in according to state policy that provides for the use of more reliable administration documents.
A train-the-trainer BRIDGE facilitator workshops were conducted for EISA CSO partners from 25 October to 3 November 2019 attended by 24 participants, of which 41.66% were women.
The workshop aimed to build a body of facilitators equipped to conduct capacity building sessions for their respective institutions in the various BRIDGE modules contained in the BRIDGE curriculum, including election management, delimitation, election observation etc.
In September a follow-up activity was conducted to assess the impact of an sms mobilisation campaign that EISA supported CSOs conducted prior to the presidential elections,encouraging young people to register and vote.. This campaign was conducted in the Bamako district. Out of 902 non-registered youth reached (in response to the campaign) in this district, 33%, were registered, of whom 17% young women, and were included in the RAVEC. This exercise has enabled EISA to refine this campaign when it conducts a similar mobilisation drive encouraging young people to register before the end of the project.
Since the signing of the project extension EISA's CSO partners have had several meetings with the authorities in charge of the administrative identification process (RAVEC) in order to finalise the content for awareness-raising materials, which will include leaflets, videos, audio media and T-shirts. The first campaigns on the administrative registration process will begin Wednesday, November 13, 2019 in all regions of the country.
At the same time, nine dialogue exchange workshops on social cohesion will be organised from 15 November 2019 in the regions of Bamako, Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Segou, Mopti, Gao, Tombouctou and Kidal. These workshops will be attended by civil society, faith based organisations, traditional leaders and political stakeholders to identify issues of concern and look for common solutions.
To enhance the effectiveness and presence of the Synergy for Peaceful Elections in Mali (SCIEL) throughout the country and prepare them for upcoming legislative elections, EISA undertook capacity building sessions in the following regions : Sikasso (9-10 April 2019); Mopti (12-13 April 2019); Ségou (15-16 April 2019); Koulikoro (18-19 April 2019); Kayes (21-22 April 2019). A total of 150 participants. 38% of whom were women attended the training.
The workshops focused on the principles of electoral sensitisation, the current legal framework for legislative elections and the changes in the new constitution and the methodology of an election awareness campaign. Since August 1st, 2019, SCIEL members focused on mobilising 6000 young people aged between 18 and 24 that they had sensitised in November 2018 to complete the administrative formalities necessary to ensure their registration on the electoral lists.
With the agreement of the donor, the Synergy for Peaceful Elections in Mali (SCIEL), put in place with the support of EISA, conducted an awareness campaign in the regions of the country and the district of Bamako. This campaign, which took place from 19 to 30 November 2018, focused on the annual revision of the voters lists and focused on addressing the low participation of young people aged between 18 and 24 years old in the electoral process. 8269 young people attending secondary schools were reached, of which 48% were girls. Through this intervention SCIEL noted that 73% of those reached had not yet received their voter cards. The problem has been brought to the attention of the Ministry in charge of elections with the recommendation to reopen the process of registration and issuance of voter cards.
Since February, SCIEL has organised several planning meetings for future awareness-raising activities in preparation of the forthcoming legislative elections. In order to refine this strategy, SCIEL and EISA met with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation in charge of elections, on 20 February and 13 March 2019. Following these meetings, the Ministry agreed to involve SCIEL in its overall election communications strategy and to assist in the upcoming training of SCIEL awareness agents scheduled from April 9, 2019.
During the meeting held on March 17, 2019 by the Ministry in charge of elections to discuss its draft communication plan, EISA and SCIEL made a substantial contribution to the plan itself and the ToRs of the national workshop for the adoption of the communication plan. The meeting was planned for March 29 and 30, 2019. However due to lack of funding the meeting has been delayed.
At the donor's request workshops on non-violence and the campaign on social cohesion have been cancelled and replaced with support toto enhancing voter awareness.
In partnership with the five identified CSOs EISA Mali developed a voter awareness strategy focusing on the two rounds of the presidential election. In addition, partners have established a co-ordination hub under EISA's guidance and oversight. This co-ordination and the strategy to be implemented were established in May and June.
The voter awareness strategy developed and implemented included putting in place of a web site, Facebook, YouTube and twitter awareness campaign, voter awareness stands in public places such as markets, taxi ranks to sensitise the public, as well as caravans (road shows).
With EISA's support, the network effectively used social media, videos and road shows (caravans) to ensure that citizens were informed about the electoral process. This included printing and distributing 2200 t-shirt marked, "I pledge for transparent and peaceful elections in Mali" with Hashtags #Mali18, #Ankawote.
Three awareness-raising videos focussing on collecting voting cards and encouraging a peaceful turn out for the vote were made and used on the road shows, which were also posted on the Citizen Synergy for Peaceful Elections (SCIEL) facebook page on July 29 (see SCIEL facebook page: awareness-raising videos), 2018 and on Youtube on August 08, 2018. These videos gave space to women and young people to be involved and mobilised them to spread the message contained in the videos.