TM’s Civic Participation Project team recently conducted civic forums in Lh. Naifaru, Gn. Fuvahmulah and S. Hulhumeedhoo. CBOs from the three islands were recruited to partner with TM, to conduct civic education workshops followed by a ‘Rayyinthunge Bahdhaluvun’ or the civic forum.
This pilot program was designed to increase civic participation with respect to increasing citizens’ willingness and ability to engage in political processes, thereby contributing to holding public officials to account and tackling corruption at community level.
Citizen engagement in these civic forums, designed similar to town-hall style meetings, provided citizens a platform to engage in community affairs and apply democratic principles to address community issues.
In the three target islands, the civic education workshop and the civic forum was attended by police staff, members of Women’s Development Committees (WDCs), Councils, NGOs, health centers, schools and local leaders and political affiliates. Following a community issues identifying exercise the key issues facing these communities include the problem of drug abuse facing a large majority of youth, unemployment, and waste and sanitation issues.
At the civic forums, participants voiced the need for more public meetings and avenues for such similar public discussions in the future.
The civic education workshops and civic forums are supported by the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).