From March 21-23, 2022, Struga, Sveti Nikole and Kumanovo hosted this year’s series of presentations of the Report on the Demographic Effects on Civic Engagement in public life and Voter Education. These events were attended by representatives of local governments, women’s organizations, youth, as well as other civil society organizations from the Southwest, Vardar and Northeast region.
This report is the result of a comprehensive demographic survey of different categories of voters, in terms of their priorities, constraints and motivational factors. Includes findings and specific suggestions on how to improve civic/voter participation and the effectiveness of voter and citizen education campaigns. Provides alternative modalities for voter engagement and increased voter participation in the political process, not just on election day.
The report is the result of rigorous evidence-based research that provides unique data on respondents and insights into the priorities, limitations and response to motivational stimuli of 13 demographic profiles of voters. The report contains comprehensive recommendations for each analyzed profile regarding the modalities of civic education, raising awareness of the importance of the election process, the choice of media, tools and channels of communication and the type of messages.
After the presentation of the Demographic Report in Struga, the participants discussed the various opportunities how to mobilize young people more actively and how to encourage civic activism. Through the use of digital media, social media, web portals and blogs to make contact with the younger population, the more educated and the employed segment of the population. Promoting positive examples that are valued by the community, such as gender equality, inclusion, education, human rights, health, better quality of life and prosperity.
At the presentation in Sveti Nikole, the focus of the discussion, as in Struga, was on young people who are apathetic and not sufficiently involved in social, public and political life. Multiple face-to-face meetings or other community events are required. Informal meetings, debates, joint community projects, organizing regional entertainment activities and sporting events to stimulate interest and attendance.
The participants in the event in Kumanovo welcomed the exhaustion and relevance of the Report, and thus its potential to serve as a tool that political options should use to significantly reach out to citizens and create their own programs. The strong will for social inclusion of the youth in Kumanovo, the equal integration of the different ethnic communities, as well as the increase of the interaction with the rural settlements within the municipality were of special importance for promoting the participation of different groups of citizens.
The presentations were concluded with agreement on the main recommendations of the Report, which refer to raising awareness of the importance of participation in socio-political life and civic activism, strengthening through the development of skills and knowledge for greater civic participation, increasing citizens’ confidence how they can influence the community and society, improve negative perception that citizens are under-represented by elected representatives, promoting channels and procedures to encourage participation in civic life, forming alliances with the media, civil society organizations, influencers / celebrities, and promoting channels and procedures to encourage participation in civic activism.