The purpose of this campaign was to raise awareness within Karenni State of what a free and fair election is and how to participate. This is in anticipation of the election scheduled for the end of 2015 in Burma.
Our trainers traveled to 5 villages in 5 different districts. In each village, they organised a plan in advance with the village head. They then ran a training to explain about free and fair elections. The trainings were very important because many people in Karenni State are illiterate so they are unable to read our brochures.
The trainings were held between 9 and 12 on five different mornings. Each one of the trainings had between 50 and 80 participants. During the trainings our team spoke about many different topics. They introduced democracy and spoke about; electing representatives and leaders; knowledge of the political situation; knowledge of political parties; knowledge of political processes; explanation of the importance of a free and fair election; and details about the scheduled 2015 election in Burma.
After the trainings, there was a lunch and an open discussion. In some villages, villagers expressed surprise that our organisation only wanted to provide information about how to participate in elections and their importance. They said political parties had come to their village and promised to build roads or give them electricity if they voted for them.
In addition to the trainings, our team also distributed leaflets throughout Karenni State with the help of our alumni network. Our team gave out 900 leaflets. These leaflets included details about why we have free elections, the responsibility of the government and the citizens.
Overall the campaign went smoothly although our team did have to cancel one training. Our team were scheduled to go to train in one further village. This training had to be cancelled because the Burmese military was running artillery exercises close to the village.
We are very pleased with the completion of our free and fair election campaign. It is very satisfying to know that the community inside Karenni State now has access to more information on free and fair elections and an increased ability to participate in political life.