On Tuesday, the 18th of May 2021, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) hosted a virtual workshop aimed at developing targeted messages for various audiences that will be used in the mobilization of citizens to participate in electoral processes such as the delimitation and voter registration exercises using various digital media platforms. This is in line with ZESN efforts to complement the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in the mobilization of citizens to register to vote and to engage in the forthcoming delimitation process and in by- elections in the event that they are proclaimed. 28 participants drawn from the Civic and Voter Education (CVE) cluster and ZESN Secretariat participated in the workshop.
The workshop was a follow up to capacity building training on digitizing Civic and Voter Education (CVE) held in March and April 2021 where participants recommended ZESN to organize a Message Development Workshop that will enable cluster members to develop messages and hashtags. The workshop also emphasized the need to use both traditional and social media in order to reach the various sectors of the Zimbabwean community. The participants also defined the target audience and proposed channels for dissemination of the CVE messages.
- As part of the way forward participants were informed that ZESN will organize more message development workshops to cater for participants from other regions.
- The participants highlighted the need to use of the 16 official languages including sign language.
- The facilitator advised the CVE cluster to Create a SMART CVE campaign strategy for the key electoral processes, outline the targets and disseminate information in platforms the various target groups are found and the importance of knowing what they like to watch or listen to the best way to reach the intended target groups
- Members were encouraged to use hashtags and assist in cascading the information and collaborate on social media campaigns through creating trends.
- The workshop also agreed that cluster members must also rally around already existing hashtags such as #leavenoyouthbehind and #registerszw.
Member organizations were urged to up their voter registration mobilization campaigns by using some of the messages produced during the workshop. Participants were informed that voter registration data has a bearing on the outcome of the delimitation of electoral boundaries, hence the need for the cluster to mobilize citizens particularly the youth, women and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). A collaborative and coordinated approach in CVE campaigns was recommended as there is strength in numbers and can yield a higher turnout and active citizen participation in key electoral processes.