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165 local CSOs expecting NEBE's license to start voters’ education

165 local CSOs expecting NEBE's license to start voters’ education

A consortium of over 165 locally established civil society organizations are anticipating the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia’s (NEBE) approval to start voters’ education in multimedia platforms for the upcoming general election, coordinator of the consortium, Abera Hailemariam told The Reporter.

The consortium named Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Election (CECOE), launched in early 2020, targets providing civic and voter education, election monitoring and observation, advocacy and stakeholder’s participation, and research and capacity building.

Abera stated that final preparations are being done to engage in educating voters via digital tools including television, social media, and bulk SMS messages to disseminate information that is crucial for voters during an election period.

The group works to promote citizens’ active participation in the electoral process, reduce incidents of election-related conflict, and promote a peaceful electoral environment that contributes to peaceful democratic transition in Ethiopia.

Its members include: Inter Africa Group, Ethiopian Lawyers Association, Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Association, Network of Ethiopian Women Association, Consortium of Ethiopian Civic and Voter Education Actors, Ethiopian National Disabilities Associations Network and many more civil society organizations.

The consortium is also hoping for observance accreditation with multitude of tasks during the election season including preventing or mitigating election related violence, soliciting increased voter registration and election turnout, postelection advocacy and increased participation of people with disability, Abera said.

According to Abera, the Coalition played its role during the Sidama referendum by deploying its observers to 201 polling stations and later presenting its observation report to the election board.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia set the upcoming national elections tentatively for the end of May or early June, 2021. The national elections were originally scheduled for May or June 2020; however, they were postponed into 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.