Encouraging Youth Participation in Municipal Elections 2023 - Foundation Office Lebanon
With the goal of increasing youth’s political participation in the upcoming municipal elections, The Konrad-Adeanuer-Stiftung (KAS) and Adyan Foundation conducted eight sessions in 2022 as part of a capacity-building campaign in twelve different municipalities across Lebanon.
Participants were engaged in a learning experience providing them with accurate information about the mandate of municipalities, the municipal and electoral law, and the significance of their contributions and participation in such elections. The workshops also highlighted the potential impact that municipalities could have on youth's lives and future through local services.
The initiative indirectly contributed to alleviating the ever-dominant family influence on youth, including the repetitive political filiation that proved sterile and contributed to the collapse of Lebanon.
Participants between the ages of 20-25 engaged in full-day learning experience/simulation sessions, which included a keynote speech from representatives of KAS and Adyan, as well as two modules:
1) An overview of municipal mandates, including a case study.
2) Examination of municipal electoral law and a simulation exercise.
Judge Chadi Hajal, our subject matter expert, developed two guidebooks which served as a reference for the sessions and for the participants. The first handbook explained the importance of local governance and the decentralized system in Lebanon, covering the role of the municipality and the mayor, in addition to the administrative staff role. It also explained the processes of municipal work and accountability schemes, allowing participants to fully understand local governance. The second handbook covered the topic of electoral law, the legal procedures for candidates, and explained the post-election step of announcing the winners. These guidebooks served as a tool for participants to prepare for the simulation after each session.
The project successfully completed 8 out of 12 planned training sessions, reaching approximately 160 young male and female participants in various locations including Akkar in North Lebanon, Berqayel and Qobayat, Bekaa. Majdel Anjar and Rashaya, South Lebanon, Saida and Tyre. And the last two sessions in 2022 were held in Aley and Falougha.
In addition, two informative videos were produced to further engage youth and create an awareness campaign.
The initiative effectively increased the participants' awareness of the significance of the role of municipalities in their daily lives and how they can contribute to shaping local affairs. The project also helped to create a more informed and engaged electorate, which will ultimately strengthen the democratic process in Lebanon. Overall, the training sessions were well-received by the participants and KAS intends to continue similar projects in the future.