Despite Fighting – Karen Community Groups Step Up Efforts on Election Voting Awareness

Community-based-organizations in Karen State are coming together to increase their efforts to educate people about voting in the national elections to be held on November 8, 2015.

A workshop on voter education, led by the Nyein Civil Organization was held together with Karen community-based-organizations at Hpa-an in the second week of July, to raise awareness about voting in the various constituencies.

Saw Sein Htwe, leader of the Nyein Civil Organization said that by evaluating the interest of people on the voting lists, local residents have little interest in the upcoming election. Saw Sein Htwe said that lack of interest was a motivating factor in running the workshop with the local CBOs to try to create election awareness within the community.”

Speaking to Karen News, Saw Sein Htwe said.

“In Karen State, there are not many organizations which can stimulate voting awareness among the people, so we organized this workshop for CBOs who can then share their awareness to their communities.”

According to members of the community-based-organizations attending the workshop, people who live in armed conflict areas and rural areas have less interest in voting in election than people who live in urban areas.

Saw Htoo Htoo Eh from Kyain Seikgyi Township said, “in the 2010 election, people may have voted, but they didn’t know what party or who they voted for. They [voters] hardly knew what party they liked. Some people asked their township administrator to vote on behalf of them. In this coming election, we don’t want this to happen. We attended the workshop to help them, we will pass on the knowledge that we have got from this training to our community.”

Daw Ni Ni Lwin, a community worker based in the Karen and Mon State’s region, said that she would try to support the election awareness campaigns as much as she could, especially in rural areas.

The workshop was attended by CBOs from Kyain Seikgyi, Hlaingbwe, Kawkariek and Than Daung Townships. The armed conflict between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army and the Burma Army prevented organizations from the Papun and Myawaddy Townships from attending.

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