Every quarter, Restless Development in Sierra Leone organises a meeting for young with national stakeholders in e.g. ministry departments. This is in order to improve young people's understanding of governance structures and how the national government works in order for them to make informed decisions.
In August 2011, we organised for 15 young leaders of Fourah Bay College Student Action Group (SAG) to visit the National Electoral Commission (NEC) headquarters. The National Electoral Commission will be playing a major role in organising and administering the 2012 elections and ensuring young people are engaged in the electoral process.
The objectives of the visit were to create a platform for young people to discuss issues affecting them during elections and to educate them on their role and responsibilities in minimising violence and ensuring a smooth election period.
“Young people are very much important in the electioneering process and this has been demonstrated in past elections,”
declared Fatoma Fabundeh, Chief of Human Resources at NEC.
“In the 2007 elections, less violence and fewer void votes were recorded than compared to the 2002 election because young people were involved.”
Young people were both protagonists and victims in the civil war that engulfed Sierra Leone from 1991-2002. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified that political disenfranchisement and exclusion of young people from political processes was a root cause of the violence and emphasised the critical importance of meaningful participation of young people in political and governance processes.
Closing the event, Mr Fabundeh paid tribute to Restless Development’s previous contribution to support youth participation in Tonkolili district northern province during the 2007 election. Restless Development hopes to work with NEC to undertake voter education on a larger scale in the run up to 2012 elections.
Young leaders from Fourah Bay College Student Action Group