The Voice project is jointly implemented with OXFAM Uganda for the period 1st August 2017 to 31st July 2017. The project is a regional Initiative mainly focusing on the eight districts of West Nile and the four districts of Karamoja; and is based on addressing one key concern that was highlighted in Uganda’s 2016 general elections by the Citizen’s Election Observer’s Network in Uganda (CEON-U) majorly focusing on Section 8 of the National Youth Council Act, Cap 319 (NYCA) because it limits youth participation in Uganda’s electoral process.
The project seeks to therefore identify platforms through which the youth will amplify their voices in order to influence policy makers to amend the NYCA. The project is implemented through a campaign codenamed; ‘My Voice’. The campaign consists of well-coordinated and interlinked activities that are all grounded and informed by research on the existing gaps with in the NYCA and best practices from similar jurisdictions. The project currently covers the following themes; My Voice Community Dialogues, My Voice Regional Platforms and My Voice National Consensus Forum.
Amplifying Youth Voices in Uganda’s Electoral processes
Project Specific Goals;
1. To conduct grounded and informed research on the existing gaps with in the NYCA and best from similar jurisdictions.
2. To advocate for an improved legislative framework on youth elections by the youth.
3. To utilize media, online platforms and citizen’s platforms in order to amplify youth voices on the need to amend the NYCA.
4. To build consensus on policy positions that will influence policy makers to amend the NYCA among the youth.
5. To identify well-coordinated and interlinked activities aimed at mobilizing and building a critical mass of young people to advocate for electoral reforms within identified spaces.
The project is implemented under six key activities namely;
1. Conduct a study on the National Youth Council Act Cap 319. In 2016, CCEDU through the Citizen’s Elections Observer Network in Uganda (CCEON-U) engaged in observation of Uganda’s general elections where one of the key concerns that were highlighted by the people in their report is limited youth participation in the political and governance issues in Uganda’s electoral process that comes from Sec 8 of the National Youth Council Act, Cap 319 that confers too much powers on to the youth councils to elect the members of the National Youth Consultative forum, that then elects the National Executive Committee and youth MPs to represent all youth in Uganda. This was a gap identified by CCEDU and is undertaking a study to fill that gap. In order to support advocacy, FHRI/CCEDU is conducting research on the National Youth Council Act Cap 319 with the aim of formulating a position paper on Section 8 and related provisions. The study aims at identifying and interpreting the gaps with in the NYCA in order to inform localized conversations about the bottlenecks to youth participation in electoral processes. This research also involves one on one lobby meetings, legislative submissions and presentation of petitions to relevant bodies. The position papers will contain policy recommendations including best practices from similar jurisdictions around the issues. The position paper which will be validated by the youth during the community and regional platforms and later synthesized into a policy brief and petition to be utilized by the youth to influence policy makers on the need to amend the NYCA at the national level
2. A Mass- media campaign on radio and TV. Media is one of the key tools in influencing policies, programs, laws and public opinion as well as propaganda and shaping of the leadership and future of its country. This media campaign involves many radio talk shows and TV talk shows including sound bites. These will be hosted on radios in West Nile and Karamoja and at the national level. The talk shows will facilitate conversation on the legislative framework governing youth elections. The campaign will aim at influencing policy makers on the need to undertake the necessary legislative reforms with the aim of increasing youth participation in electoral processes.
3. Online Platforms on Facebook and Twitter. Through these spaces, the action will rally youth particularly students and employed youth to link them to the youth in West Nile and Karamoja Sub regions with the aim of amplifying youth voices on the need for electoral reforms and widening space for youth participation. The platforms shall provide space to discuss and advocate for electoral reforms and tackle electoral ills such as voter bribery, violence and hate speech with the view of improving youth elections. The platforms will also be utilized by FHRI/CCEDU to track and gauge youth understanding of electoral processes and develop trends that will further inform FHRI/CCEDU’s future.
4. My Voice Community Dialogues These platforms are to be conducted in the eight West Nile districts of Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Koboko, Nebbi, Maracha, Arua, Zombo, and the four districts of Moroto, Korindo, Napa, Kabong that make up Karamoja. The position paper arising out of the research study will form the basis the basis for the discussion during these platforms. The platforms will augment the policy positions presented in the position paper with a view to agreeing on common policy positions to be advanced at the regional and national level. Each platforms will enlist the participation of at least 200 youths. Participants shall be drawn from CCEDU’s membership platforms, the National Youth Council, local communities, Inter-party Youth Coalition and youth in informal sector plus the Boda boda associations. The community platforms will increase spaces for conversations among the youth on youth participation in electoral processes and devise ways of championing the need for improved electoral laws and processes. Action plans with policy proposals and actions for follow up are adopted to feed into the position paper.
5. My Voice Regional Platforms. Regional forums are to be held one in West Nile for all the eight districts and one for Karamoja region as they provide for a bigger coverage and wider space for many young people or youth to discuss, lobby, reason, dialogue, submit, and agree on various strategies on how to enhance youth participation in governance that will further be considered in the national dialogue. These include more youth that may not have attended the community platforms as over 200 youth plus their area members of parliament and local leaders will be mobilized to engage in the policy debate. Regional policy positions on the NYCA are generated and agreed upon- further strengthening the position paper.
6. My Voice National Consensus Platform. A live televised National multi-stakeholder’s dialogue is to be held as a climax of this phase of the project to ensure visibility and further promote more youth participation in electoral democracy so as to influence the agenda. It involves youth from West Nile and Karamoja, key policy makers like their MPs, Uganda Youth Parliamentary Forum, Parliamentary Committee on Gender and Social services, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, the Electoral Commission, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Uganda Law Reform Commission, Inter-Party Youth Forum, Uganda National Youth Council, civil society groups, youth in political parties, cultural institutions, This platform will be utilized by the youth to influence and garner support from policy makers to amend the NYCA. A position paper with ideas from the study, community and regional platforms is to be debated by the youth and policy makers to adopt a common agenda for collective action at the national level. This national position paper is to be synthesized into a concise policy brief to be utilized by youth and policy makers to further the debate and also push for amendment of NYCA.