In her speech Nyathi said this project was youthful, catchy and focusing on improved democratic practices where young people are empowered to participate fully in the governance of their country through increased participation in elections.
“The youth should be ‘buddies’ with the ballot for there is nothing to fear but rather there are all good reasons to vote,
The name depicts how YETT and our partners are youth’s ‘Ballot Buddies’ as we shall become their peers who provide accurate and comprehensive information on the election process and motivate them to vote,” said Nyathi.
The Ballot Buddies combines peer to peer and social media mobilisation targeting youths in both rural and urban areas.
It also works within circle of friends to rejuvenate hope, dispel fears and myth on elections and make youth aware of the importance of registering to vote.
Nyathi also pointed out that this project was not launched for YETT and its partners only but for the entire youth population in the country and she also encouraged the youths to become ‘Ballot Buddies’ so as to ensure that they collectively change the landscape by making sure that they are the centre of the electoral processes.
“Youth are going to be adequately informed of the entire electoral cycle based on access to information which enables them to realise and uphold their civic rights and responsibilities,
The demand for information and education this time around is unprecedented. With the introduction of the Biometric Voter Registration system, youths have many questions and uncertainty regarding the electoral process as was demonstrated in the research findings,” said Nyathi.
YETT observed that young people aged between17-25 years are likely to be first time voters but they have little interestin registering to vote. The Ballot Buddies campaign ensures that youth realise the importance of voting and promote conversation on youth electoral participation.
She also highlighted that the biggest huddle is on motivating the youth to register and vote in a context of high youth unemployment, lack of skills, relevant education, access to capital and an unmet need for election related information and services especially for marginalised groups such as youth living with disability.
YETT wants to see an increase in the number of youth registered and voting in the 2018 elections.