The central Elections Commission (CEC) concluded the Electoral Awareness project in schools of People with Disabilities (PWD) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The project aimed at promoting the culture of elections among students through applying Election Simulation similar to the real electoral processes that take place at the national level.
The project was implemented in 10 schools of children with hearing and visual impairments, affiliated with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Through its widespread offices in the governorates, CEC trained around 25 teachers qualified to organize Election Simulation with about 300 students.
Through the theoretical part of this project that is funded by the EU, students were introduced to the importance of the election, its laws, and different phases, as well as the rights of PWD to participate in political and electoral life; both as candidates and voters. As part of the project activities as well, students elected their representatives in a Mock Electoral Process, similar in all its phases to the real-life elections. Starting with voter registration, then opening nominations, followed by organizing campaign activities, in which the candidates presented their agendas to their colleagues, all the way to polling day, announcing the winners, and giving them winning certificates.
CEC indicated that this year’s Simulation Project was implemented with students of fifth to eleventh grades, in specialized schools for children with hearing and visual impairments in the governorates of Jenin, Ramallah, Hebron, North of Gaza, Gaza, Deir Albalah, and Rafah.
CEC pointed out that this project also included preparing and distributing a set of introductory publications containing a Teacher’s Guide and a Student’s Flyer, in addition to other educational publications explaining polling procedures. Stressing that all publications were produced in a manner suitable for people with disabilities, including translation into Sign Language and Braille.
It is worth mentioning that this project is an extension to the Schools Voter Education Projects, which CEC is implementing with supporting funds from EU in the West Bank and Gaza since 2008. Moreover, the CEC is currently implementing a set of projects aiming at raising electoral awareness among university students and youth with disabilities.