Youth body calls for inclusive voter, civic education – Capital Radio Malawi
23 May, 2024

Youth body calls for inclusive voter, civic education

Mumba: We must prioritize the inclusion of marginalized voices

A Mzuzu-based youth organization Apause Malawi has called on the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to come up with a specific arrangement in voter and civic education that target people with disabilities ahead of the 2025 polls.

Apause Malawi executive director, Peter Mumba’s call comes after noting that in most cases people with disabilities specifically those with visual and hearing impairments are left behind in programming.

The call to action, articulated by Mumba underscores a critical gap in current programming, particularly concerning individuals with visual and hearing impairments.

Mumba highlights the pressing need for inclusive strategies, emphasizing that individuals with these disabilities are often overlooked in traditional voter and civic education initiatives.

“People with disabilities are well-organized, with established networks and associations,” Mumba stated. It is imperative that we engage them directly with them to ensure their voices are heard.

“We must prioritize the inclusion of marginalized voices,” Mumba emphasized. It is not enough to simply accredit numerous organizations; we must evaluate our outreach efforts to ensure no one is left behind,” he said.

Mumba’s advocacy is rooted in a recognition of systematic challenges, including resource limitations and insufficient targeting in existing voter education efforts. He stressed the importance of accrediting organizations specifically representing people with disabilities, allowing for tailored communication methods such as Braille and sign language.

“There must be diversification in accredited organizations for voter and civic education. “We need to ensure that all individuals, regardless of disability, have access to vital information necessary for exercising their democratic rights, Mumba asserted.”

He added; “It is a question of trying to include the minority, the people who do not have the voice. You know such kind of people cannot speak for themselves, so these are the people that we also need to prioritize more so that they have all the information that we are talking about.”

While MEC’s director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa did not respond to our question on inclusivity, he was recently quoted by the Malawi News Agency (MANA), where he affirmed the electoral body’s commitment to equitable participation in the electoral process.

“No one should fail to participate in the 2025 elections because of disability. We will design messages targeting all people, considering their type of disability and people with visual and hearing impairments will benefit from these messages,” Mwafulirwa was quoted.

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