By Mafanta Kromah
The Naymote Partners for Democratic Development has launched a new project titled ‘Making the Youth Votes Count’, the project goal is to enhance youth participation in the Liberia’s electoral process by providing adequate civic and voter’s education to help young people make informed decision at the poll and to promote effective citizens accountability mechanisms. The program was held at the Barnesville Estate Sports Pitch District #11, June 10, 2017. The Director of Civic and Voter Education at the National Elections Commission (NEC), Mr. Senesee Freeman officially lunched the project calling on young people to participate in the electoral process peacefully and use their number to inform decisions for the betterment of the country.
Speaking at the opening session of the program, the Project Coordinator, Miss Tracy F. Freeman, said her institution NAYMOTE is using the grant support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa to implement the project which has two specific objectives: To increase youth participation in elections as well as helps young voter make informed choices and lays the foundation for their increased participation in governance over the long-term period and to hold elected officials and political parties accountable by documenting, printing and distributing campaign promises of the wining party and candidates. Mss. Freeman, said the institution (NAYMOTE) has recruited and trained 100 young volunteers who are working on 300 communities across 30 electoral districts in five counties to support young people peaceful participation in the electoral process. She made the disclosure Saturday at the official launching of ‘Making the Youth Votes Count’s Campaign Project at the Barnesville Estate Sport Pitch in Monrovia.
She said the project will help promote effective citizens accountability mechanisms, adding the “Making the Youth votes Count” is expected to reach thousands of young voters across the country and to document campaign promises to ensure political accountability after election using the Liberia Bus Project concept which was very effective during the special senatorial elections in 2014.
Launching the project, the Director for Civic and Voter Education at the National Election Commission(NEC), Senesee Freeman noted that NEC is happy to partner with NAYMOTE in this project because the over two million register voter in the 2017 data contain 60 percent of young people between age 18 to 35 and project focusing on young people should be highly supported and NAYMOTE is a leading institution reaching thousands of young people through various engagements and this is just another innovative project. He said young people understanding their roles, rights and responsibilities as voters will strengthening the country democratic gain and rewarding for the country moving forward since they constitute huge percentage of the voting population. He called on young people get involve in the electoral process in a possible way and contribute toward increasing peaceful participation as well as learn to know where, when, who, why and how about the electoral process.
He said the project is meant to help the youth make a decision that benefit their future and the future of the next generation by voting not base on personal relationship or interest but base on quality of the issues that the person will be bring to them.
“We want you to vote on the best quality of education, economic, infrastructure development and health, we want you focus on issues not personality and that is why we are happy to be with NAYMOTE so that youth votes are count,” Senesee Freeman Stressed.
“Attend candidates’ debate, listen to their platform and visit their social media platform so that you can get to know them and what they are doing, NEC cannot do it all and that is why we partner with Civil Society Organizations to assist in some aspect,” he continued.
Former Superintendent of Montserrado County, Nyenekpn B. S. Barcon, thanked NAYMOTE for organizing such a program for young people and that they as community leaders were glad that NAYMOTE selected their community to provide such an innovative program and called on young people to positive engage in the electoral process and make the voices count, vote based on issues and quality of the candidates not on personality or money, we need to transform our country and you have the number to vote for your future. She urged young people to vote a person that love Liberia, a leader with quality, experience and one who have the ability to serves the country at heart.
Meanwhile, Rufus Ballah, the Administrative and Finance Associate of OSIWA affirmed that they are glad to be the supporter of the initiative ‘Making the Youth Votes Count’ and called on all Liberians to peacefully participate in the electoral process and make their voices heard, as the best opportunity of a democratic nation is to provide citizens the choice to choose their leaders president and representatives and this is what OSIWA is supporting across the West Africa region including NAYMOTE.
He said OSIWA is supporting the project to increase youth participation in the election and help young voter make informed choices and lay the foundation for their increased participation in governance, and to hold elected officials and political parties accountable by documenting , printing and distributing campaign promises of winning party and candidates.
The launched included entertainments/jokes, music, soccer games and volunteers undertook a one to one campaign talking to citizens about the importance of the voter registration provisional roll exhibition process and why it was good that citizens check this list to make sure their information is correct and why young people should peaceful participate in elections.