The STEP Democracy programme funded by European Union provides civic and voter education for underrepresented groups such as women, ethnic nationalities and first-time voters to support their effective participation in the 2020 elections in Myanmar. Under the STEP programme, the Paññā Institute, Scholar Institute, and BadeiDha Moe civil society organizations have organised civic and voter education trainings for voters in Kachin State, Chin State, Mon State, Kayin State, Rakhine State, Ayeyarwady Region, Magway Region and Sagaing Region.
“I was not interested in voting in the upcoming election. But, after reading some information about the election on social media, I became interested in the election and decided to vote. But I did not how to vote, for whom to vote. I was a bit confused about the election. I learned about the STEP voter education training in my area. So, I came here to learn about voter education. I feel this training is useful for me as I have learned many things about elections and democracy,” Maran Lu Lu Awng, a first-time voter from Kachin State.
Following the government regulation for COVID-19, voter education trainings were redesigned, so that they could be held online. The webinars will enable voters to learn about Democracy and the Elections, Voting Procedures, and Public Participation in Electoral Processes from home. The three hour online trainings will be held from the first week of October until Election Day.
“It is my first experience participating in an online training conducted on Zoom. By attending this training I learned about how to elect the president and MPs, how to vote on election day, how to cast a valid vote and what an invalid vote is,” said Saw Khu Mu Kay Htoo, a participant from Thandaung Gyee, Kayin State, who joined the voter education training organized by Panna Institute.
The innovative online voter education training is an essential tool to provide key information for the voters when they cannot attend physical public activities to access such information.
In addition to the online voter education training, STEP Democracy program also disseminates key information to voters by producing informative pamphlets, posters, and animation videos. In cooperation with the UEC and the media channel DVB, STEP Democracy has aired a series of voter education broadcasts called “MyVote” which raise voter awareness and provide space for voters to express their views and ask questions relating to the 2020 elections.