EC-UNDP electoral cycle support to Niger
Raising awareness of the role of women both as candidates and voters in Niger throughout the electoral processes was at the heart of the civic and voter education campaign strategy that was implemented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2010 with the support of UNDP.
An integrated set of audio and video messages were broadcast on national and private television and radio stations in French and in several local languages. A face-to-face campaign was also undertaken in which civil society organizations along with INEC reached out to young, elderly and marginalised people with a special focus on women as electors. The result of the campaign was that approximately 70% of the estimated 6.74 million voters were reached.
These activities to which GPECS contributed played a key role in mobilizing citizens helped lead to a massive turnout of women’s vote at the December 2010 regional and local elections. The result improved the credibility and legitimacy of women’s impact as voters and of the overall electoral processes.
The challenge in Niger was to conduct credible elections efficiently and smoothly. Due to the country’s high illiteracy rate (over 70% of the overall population and 90% of women are illiterate), substantive information, education and information campaigns (IEC) were required to explain the different levels of elections that were conducted, the process and the stakes. IEC for women was a key to the process. Although women represent 51% of the population, their participation has been hampered over the years by factors such as i) lack of information and misunderstanding of their rights, and ii) lack of key documents for their participation to electoral processes such as a birth certificate, national identity card or voter card.
The campaign was successful in increasing the share of registered voters who were women. By the time the elections took place on 31 December 2010, about 51% of 3.56 million registered voters were women.
GPECS support to the electoral processes was coordinated with the EC-UNDP Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance. The result was a synchronized contribution to the resource mobilization and finalization of the electoral budget in 2010 over a period of six months. This enabled the INEC to conduct six crucial electoral events, culminating in the election of a new president and the end of the transitional period following the February 2010 coup d’état.