For the national election on May 8th, 2019, the Peace Centre trained 400 volunteer election monitors. Training included the meaning of democracy, our Constitution and the rights it gives. Training also included basic methods of defusing potential violence at the voting stations.
Suter and Partner (based in Switzerland) developed a web-based communication system linking each monitor to a central control able to call for assistance if danger of violence appears to threaten the election process. The SA Police anti-gang unit was linked in.
Click here for a full report on this training.
AFSC have taken a very close interest in the project hoping that the lessons learned will be applicable in other African countries.
This project−planned and delivered over only 6 weeks−has made clear the numbers of people willing to volunteer for a “socially useful cause” that is presented and managed well. This project confirms the value of a sustained presence in the townships and lessons learned are being applied to many of the Hub projects.
The next election, the local government elections, take place in 18 months’ time. Though contested on party lines, the outcome is of greater interest to local communities as local services of all kinds are provided (or not provided) at local level, by municipalities.
With the election behind us we will offer AVP training to the 300 volunteer monitors so establishing an enhanced capacity for non-violence within the community.
Concern that so few people understand our Constitution and the rights it enshrines, how democracies work, and how to hold elected representatives accountable when rights are violated, the Hub regularly hosts screenings of relevant and topical documentaries, followed by facilitated (often heated) discussion.
Topics include such a-political, controversial issues as Land Reform, LGBT rights and the rights of women and children.
Experience from the 2019 election confirms that there is much to be gained by expanding this program to foster greater understanding of both democracy and our Constitution so helping to counter feelings of individual powerlessness.
Associates include the Tshisimani Activism Centre in Mowbray.