American University’s Iraq Election Education Project seeks to build local capacity for sustainable engagement in civil society through participation in elections in the three governorates (Anbar, Ninewah, and Salahaddin) that experienced the lowest voter turnouts in the 2005 elections. In partnership with Together, an established Iraqi NGO, and Iraq Voice, a media production and services firm, AU is implementing an 18-month project that provides civic and election education and media outreach as well as capacity building of local NGOs. This program addresses a critical need to provide voter education and voter awareness capacity building for the provincial and national elections in Iraq.
In the January – March, 2010 reporting period, AU conducted two workshops (the seventh and eighth) in Erbil for our team of Master Trainers together with the Community Facilitators and Local Coordinators. Through our partner Iraqi NGO, Together, our team of Master Trainers (MTs) and Community Facilitators (CFs) has continued its work in reaching thousands of voters and potential voters in the targeted governorates of Anbar, Ninewah and Salahaddin. AU also continued its partnership with Iraq Voice to finalize the production and broadcast of our media outreach campaign of education programming to raise awareness of, and increase turnout for, the March 7, 2010 General Parliamentary elections. Our media campaign involved TV spots and radio broadcasts on local stations two weeks prior to the election date, ending on March 6th, 2010.
Up until the election day of March 7, 2010, the total number of educational sessions organized by our trainers is 2,535 sessions in different cities and villages with an average of about 25 attendees per session. A total of 919 sessions were conducted by the 12 Master trainers and 1,616 sessions were carried out by the team of 30 community facilitators.
Three thousand copies of pictured guide lines to help those who are illiterate understand voting procedures inside polling centers have been distributed in different remote villages. Two thousand pre-election questionnaires (4 pages each, shown in Appendix A1) have been designed and distributed in our three provinces to collect public opinion about election related issues. As a result of these surveys, we were able to predict the outcome of the election with a fair degree of accuracy. In late March, a post election questionnaire (3 pages each) was designed and distributed for evaluation purposes.