Make elderly people an active part of the electoral and decision-making process in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina July-September 2016
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Make elderly people an active part of the electoral and decision-making process in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Due to war traumatisations and frustrations with new social order in BiH, elderly people often don’t participate actively in the political life anymore. Lack of information, limited access to public life through health problems and cultural mind set are some of the factors that leave elderly people at the margin of society and subsequently out of the political process. To ensure that elderly people have access to basic human rights such as the participation in the electoral process, the Association of Election Officials BiH is implementing currently awareness raising campaign targeting elderly people above 65 years, who represent more than 20% of the BiH population.

Aim of the program “Increasing elderly peoples’ participation in election processes in BiH”, which is part of Council of Europe’s electoral assistance programm to the local elections on 2 October, is to ensure the active participation of elderly in the upcoming elections and make them an active and integral part of public policy development and decision-making.

Through an peer-to-peer approach in order to create an environment where elderly people feel secure and comfortable, participants share their experience and positions, inform themselves and express their concerns. The workshops help elderly people to understand the importance of being involved again and following all happenings in the country they live in. 

Beside the social integration and the integration into the electoral process, the workshops have also specific aims, such as the decrease of invalid ballots, explaining  the elderly participants to properly fill in complicated ballots or how to request correctly assistance if needed. Prevent “family voting” by educating elderly people to vote independently and to insist on their right to vote by themselves, is another purpose of the activities.

Parallel to the 50 workshops, in which more than 1500 people participated, information brochures were distributed massively throughout the country. Furthermore, the Central Election Commission BiH launched an information campaign with the support of Council of Europe’s electoral assistance program, targeting the same issue.