CSO voter education demystifies women’s perceptions on elections

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Despite efforts done by other players in a bid to increase voter turn out in the just concluded 2015 Tanzania General elections, the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) grantee in Mkinga district has also contributed something towards enhancing women’s engagement in the just concluded 25th October elections.

The grantee, namely the Paralegal Aid Scheme for Women and Children (PASWCI) based in Tanga region is one among 104 CSOs that received grants from the FCS to provide civic and voter education so as to enhance citizens’ engagement in the entire electoral process.

Giving the attribution to PASWCI, one of the women living in Pangani East, Ms. Mwantumu Juma, said the education provided by PASWCI has helped to demystify most of their stereotypes against polling.

She says, “in the past, most of us thought that as long as our husbands went for voting, it was all enough and our representation was already taken care of.  So we became changed.”

Other Mkinga district women say they were grateful for the voter education provided to them, an exercise, which they describe as an eye-opener on what to do and what not to do during and after elections.

“We were aware that polling would be done but did not know we were also obliged to vote as our husbands were,” said Ms. Mwanakombo Ayubu, a resident from Monga village in Kwale ward.

“In our ward, many people and mostly women, turned up for voting, unlike the previous elections when voters were mainly men,” said the local government leader who opted for anonymity.

PASWICI executive director, Ms. Deborah Daffa said the voter education was provided to four wards of Pangani district where civic education was considered lacking. The wards are Pangani East, Pangani West, Mwera and Tungamaa. The last two areas are villages situated across the Pangani ferry- settlements previously occupied by sisal estates community.

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