Lia SCLIFOS, Veronica CRETU,
Dorian FURTUNA, Serghei LYSENCO
Methodological Guide on Decision-Making
at the Local Level
El...
CZU 352.9:[314.15+324](036)
M 31
Persons Responsible for the Edition:
Anatol BUCATCA, project manager Vote Mock Elections ...
Table of Contents
1. Foreword	 ..............................................................................................
People work during the workshops
Discussing details
The Ballot
Elaborating the message
Promoting the message
1. Foreword
I...
Consulting the local trainers
Elaborating the work plan
An episode from the framework of the
workshop
A trainers’ consulta...
Learning the material
A formation lesson
Prioritizing the problems
Local trainers, Cirpesti, Cantemir district
Analyzing t...
We pay attention to the details
Nicole Panfil, local trainer
Vitalie Cirhana, local trainer
Local trainers, Soroca distric...
Ambitious young girls
Basarabeasca teams visiting Cenac
A solution proposed by the youngsters
The Cimislia gallery
The tea...
An overcrowded room in Manoilesti, Ungheni
district
Electoral Board, Rezina
From little ones to the grown-ups, Parcani,
So...
10
The electoral board announces the results
A vote for Cantemir town
Registering the participants, Ciorna, Rezina
The exp...
11
Sergey Lysenko, the Exercise moderator
Volunteers from Austria and Lithuania
Zinaida Teut, local trainer
The priest fro...
12
Involving community actors
Continuous monitoring
The working group, Parcani, Soroca
district
Public debates, Criuleni
D...
13
INFO team, Tartaul, Cantemir district
GTE team, Tartaul, Cantemir district
A small vote for a big future
A new experien...
14
Dorian Furtuna, expert
Creativity while wording the message
I have the right to...
Questions  Answers session, Soroca
P...
15
Victor Bivol, local formatter
The members of the REAL Citizens Initia-
tive Group
The youngster’s voice
Vote P.U.R.
Vot...
16
The mayor of Trinca, Edinet district
The competition has started
A devoted supporter
Analyzing solutions
Wording the du...
17
Citizen Initiative Group, Cuizauca, Rezina
district
Citizen Initiative Group, Ciorna, Rezina
district
The media watches...
18
Local trainers, Ciorna Rezina
Waiting for the results
Youngsters in action, Cimislia
Final message, Edinet
The Drawings...
19
The leaders of the citizen initiative group
We are watching you...
We began to count the votes
The Drawings Contest
An ...
20
The breadboard model of the future project
The contest has started
Hoping in the future
This is how we may influence th...
21
The Exercise start, Trinca, Edinet district
A question from the audience
Maximum attention to the details
The electoral...
22
A team leader
Inside the voting section
The MINEVA team message
Local trainers, Cirpesti, Cantemir district
An electora...
23
The expert’s opinion
The Local Public Authority opinion
The team work
Delivering the certificates
The dream project
–	 ...
24
At the beginning of the activity, Cimislia
The Vote Mock Election Exercise, Cantemir
The emblem of the team Mediatorii
...
25
Veronica Cretu, team coordinator trainer
Intense discussions
Voting boxes
Local formatter, Cuizauca, Rezina district
Va...
26
Working in pairs
Discussing community problems
Disseminating good practices
Dissemination, Bulboaca, Anenii Noi
distric...
27
A seminar, Glodeni
A seminar, Comrat
Activity in pairs
A seminar, Orhei
Presenting arguments
Annex 2. The Electoral Mes...
28
With the director of the VET school, Soroca
A workshop, Criuleni
The Europe Day, May 10, 2009
Presenting arguments for ...
29
Dumitru Sandru, Director of the Labor
Institute
The members of the trade union Sanatatea
(Health)
The members of the tr...
30
Isabella Weiser, a volunteer from Austria
The Initiation Certificate
Together with the mayor, Parcani, Soroca
district
...
31
We share community experience
Presenting the problem in Power Point
The priest – an important community actor
Discussio...
32
A workshop, Taraclia, Causeni district
The Vote Mock Election Exercise, Edinet
TheVoteMockElectionExercise,Ruseni, Edin...
33
Analyzing community needs
Brainstorming
Analyzing the electoral message
Expertise of the suggested solutions
The geogra...
34
Public debates, Soroca
The Vote Mock Election Exercise, Soroca
The web-site of the Vote Mock Election
project
The train...
35
Presenting the ECO logo, Basarabeasca
Idea storm...
The EuFac logo, Cirpesti, Cantemir district
The Cenac logo, Cimisli...
36
The Liga Renasterii logo (Renaissance
League), Edinet
The breadboard model of the ECO park,
Basarabeasca
The room is wa...
37
A contra argument, Trinca, Edinet district
Presenting the project, Tartaul, Cantemir
district
Dissemination workshop, R...
Methodological guide on_decision_making_at_the_local_level
Methodological guide on_decision_making_at_the_local_level
Methodological guide on_decision_making_at_the_local_level
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Methodological guide on_decision_making_at_the_local_level

  1. 1. Lia SCLIFOS, Veronica CRETU, Dorian FURTUNA, Serghei LYSENCO Methodological Guide on Decision-Making at the Local Level Elaborated and Implemented within the Vote Mock Elections Project Copyright © Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova, Training Centre “CMB” Chisinau 2009
  2. 2. CZU 352.9:[314.15+324](036) M 31 Persons Responsible for the Edition: Anatol BUCATCA, project manager Vote Mock Elections Project, Country Manager, Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova Victor Koroli, project coordinator Vote Mock Elections Project, Executive director, CCAII Alliance Address: 85 Alexandru cel Bun str., Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, MD-2012, Tel: + 373 22 21 25 41, + 373 22 21 25 41, Fax: + 373 22 21 25 54 E-mail: moldova@hwa.or.at Web: http://www.hilfswerk-austria.md Prepress: Educational Theory and Practice Magazine Didactica Pro... Editor: Mariana VATAMANU-CIOCANU Design: Nicolae SUSANU Printing House: Bons Offices Ltd. Copyright © Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova, Training Centre “CMB” _______________________________________________________________ Descrierea CIP a Camerei Naţionale a Cărţii Methodology of Participatory Decision-Making in Rural Communities: Guide Elab. and Implemented within the Vote Mock Elections Project / Lia Sclifos, Veronica Cre- tu, Dorian Furtuna [et al.]; Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova, Centrul de Trening “CMB” – Ch.: Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova, 2009 (Tipogr. “Bons Offices” SRL. ). – 40 p. 500 ex. ISBN 978-9975-80-292-5. 352.9:[314.15+324](036) M 31
  3. 3. Table of Contents 1. Foreword ...........................................................................................................................................................4 2. Applying the Methodology of the Participatory Decision-Making at the Community Level ...........................7 Chapter I. The Stages of the Vote Mock Election Exercise ...............................................................................9 Chapter II. The Algorithm of the Vote Mock Election Exercise ...................................................................... 12 Annex 1. Data About Organizations that Elaborated and Implemented the Methodology of the Local Participatory Decision-Making ...................................................................................26 Annex 2. The Electoral Message – Elaboration and Presentation ..................................................................27 Annex 3. Liability for Electoral Promises ......................................................................................................30 Annex 4. What Is a Public Meeting and How to Organize It..........................................................................33 Annex 5. The Symbols and Image Elements in an Electoral Campaign ........................................................36 Annex 6. Ideas for an Efficient Presentation ...................................................................................................38 Annex 7. Presentation Assessment Criteria.....................................................................................................39 Annex 8. A Budget Model to Carry Out the Vote Mock Election Exercise at the Local Level.......................40
  4. 4. People work during the workshops Discussing details The Ballot Elaborating the message Promoting the message 1. Foreword If you are a Mayor or a civil society activist, an entrepreneur or a school prin- ciple, a community leader, trainer/facilitator, manager or a regular citizen willing to contribute to the community development – the Methodological Guide on De- cision-making at the local level comes to provide you with a simple instrument which is easy to implement and efficient for the kind of impact it can produce. … Much has been said and written in recent years, especially in the Newly Independent States and South Eastern Europe, about the notion of “free and fair elections” and what this concept really entails. Although there is not one universal definition of the specific elements that comprise this concept, it is generally con- sidered that elections are “free” when citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms are respected, including the rights to vote freely in secret balloting and without coercion; have access to information and polling sites; and enjoy freedom of spe- ech and assembly, among other areas. In every election, voter and civic education are necessary to ensure that all con- stituents—men and women alike—understand their rights, their political system, the contests they are being asked to decide, and how and where to vote. For an election to be successful and democratic, voters must understand their rights and responsibilities, and must be sufficiently knowledgeable and well informed to cast ballots that are legally valid and to participate meaningfully in the voting process. Voter and civic education are even more critical in post-conflict countries, where political situations may be volatile and where elections may have an unpreceden- ted impact on the countries’ future. The term voter education is generally used to describe the dissemination of information, materials and programes designed to inform voters about the speci- fics and mechanics of the voting process for a particular election. Voter education involves providing information on who is eligible to vote; where and how to regis- ter; how electors can check the voter lists to ensure they have been duly included; what type of elections are being held; where, when and how to vote; who the candidates are; and how to file complaints. Today, Moldova needs programs that would promote voter education amongst both adults and students/school pupils. Teachers are always trying to find connecti- ons between the “real world” and the skills taught in the classroom. In an election year, the inundation by the media of persuasive messages provides an ideal oppor- tunity to make this connection. Additionally, the presence of voter education related programs brings advantages towards students’ interest in the activities around elec- tions and connects them to the elements of persuasion and the electoral process. Voter education helps elections become the event real for thousands and mil- lions of citizens, including students, adults and elders, and it serves as a catalyst for future generations to become enthusiastic participants in country’s democracy. After all, that’s what living in a democracy is all about. On the other hand, only voter education is not enough for constructive changes and improvements in the country. Citizens of any country need to be able to get
  5. 5. Consulting the local trainers Elaborating the work plan An episode from the framework of the workshop A trainers’ consultation The graphical presentation of the message involved directly in decision-making processes at all levels. This is what has happened in the Vote Mock Elections project. It has turned into a de- cision-making mechanism for local communities rather than focused on voter education as per its initial design. Public participation in decision making pro- cesses is by no means an easy thing to accom- plish. It requires much energy, time, and resour- ces. Yet, if local communities as well as cities and towns are to effectively respond to citizen needs, than they need to start listening to what citizens are saying and recruit their assistance in crafting effective policies and decisions. There have been limited initiatives in Moldova the focus of which would be on involving regular citizens in decision-making processes. It definitely has to do with lack of competences from both public authorities and from citizens themsel- ves. From the standpoint of the author of this project, there are several reasons to engage the citizenry of Moldova in local decision-making. First off, local citizens know best what the local needs, resources and issues are. Second, engaging the public in the decision-making process serves to educate both citizens and policy- makers about the various facets of a particular decision or issue from a variety of perspectives. Third, engaging citizens in decision-making makes the implementa- tion of a decision or policy more likely. Finally, engaging the public helps to build accountability for both public administration and the citizenry. So, the question remains, how can our Moldovan communities effectively en- gage citizens in local decision-making, whether these decisions focus on local schools, capital improvement projects, infrastructure or economic development, health or education or other local issues? There are a variety of tools that public administration representatives can use to engage citizens in decision-making. These are well-known tools that have been part of the local communities’ life in many countries around the globe: citizen advisory committees, survey questionnaires, community meetings, forums, public review and comment periods, public hearings, counter planning, etc. One of the innovative tools/approaches for participatory decision-making that emerged as a result of the Vote Mock Elections project, is the organization of the “elections simulation exercise” at the local level. There are key players in this exercise and their involvement has played a cru- cial role for the project’s success. – Youth/High School and Secondary school students played the role of “po- litical parties” by establishing two “Initiative Groups” in each community of the project. The initiative groups had to conduct a study/research at the
  6. 6. Learning the material A formation lesson Prioritizing the problems Local trainers, Cirpesti, Cantemir district Analyzing the information community level and identify one/two main problems/challenges. Based on one problem, each initiative group had to identify the most adequate solution for their community. This solution was their “electorate messa- ge/campaign” which had to be promoted at the local level. The main task was to gain as many opponents of the message as possible (given that there were two “political parties”). Along with these two initiative groups, there was another group playing the role of the election committee. Under the guidance of the local trainer/facilitator they all had about two-three weeks to prepare. – Community members had to pick one solution out of two proposed by the two initiative groups, and to vote for it. A certain date/day was decided with each community part of this project, in which the simulation of the elections should have taken place. For this event, the role of the commu- nity members/regular citizens is crucial as they have to vote for one of the solutions presented by the initiative groups. In addition to the voting, it is crucial that citizens are active in asking questions, seeking clarifications and additional information. As a result of the project, simulation exercises were organized in 19 commu- nities of Moldova in the period of February 5-March 26, 2009. In all 19 commu- nities, participants both adults and youth (about 3179 people involved) learned how important participation of everyone in elections is; community members ack- nowledged the need for more implication of the citizens into solving community based problems/challenges. The message carried out by the results of this initiati- ve is that any community based problem/challenge/initiative should be addressed by its citizens, because at the end it is about their own community where they live in, and only they can make it better. While the initial goal of the project was providing capacity building and entai- ling cooperation amongst Moldovan NGOs into educating and mobilizing Mol- dovan voters to participate in the parliamentary elections 2009, the project moved far beyond this objective and managed to: – Contribute to educating and raising awareness amongst Moldovan voters vis-à-vis the importance of active citizen participation in community life and community development through participation in elections; – Providing Moldovan voters with a Vote Mock Elections platform at the community level, in which they have the opportunity to discuss their local community related challenges, to identify solutions, to come with propo- sals and to participate in simulation election exercises;   Interesting, unique and successful experiences have emerged … Vote Mock Elections methodology tested in the Moldovan rural communities … Innovative approach to decision-making at the local level … All these are nicely presented in the Methodological Guide on Decision-making at the local level.
  7. 7. We pay attention to the details Nicole Panfil, local trainer Vitalie Cirhana, local trainer Local trainers, Soroca district Wording the message 2. Methodological Guide On Decision-Making At The Local Level – Areas Of Application This guide was initially meant to address the issue of voter education in the context of local vs. parliamentary elections. As our experience shows, the instru- ment of “elections simulation exercises” was taken far beyond the initially propo- sed objectives. During the dissemination phase of the project other 12 communities of the country could get familiar with the methodology elaborated within this project. Feedback received from communities (villages, institutions and/or professional communities) who took part in these events, clearly shows that there are several other areas to which this instrument/methodology can be taken. • Infrastructure sector (decision-making vis-à-vis the developmental priori- ties in the community); • Health sector (identify what factors cause health related problems in the community, discuss and identify solutions that can benefit the communi- ty); • Education/values (identify factors that stop community development; pro- mote solutions to raise awareness amongst community members and deve- lop their capacity to address these issues; • Human rights (inform and raise awareness amongst the community mem- bers via-a-vis their rights and obligations/responsibilities; • Community management (involve the community members in the decisi- on-making processes). The methodology on decision-making was presented to the representatives of main Trade Union in Medicine “Sanatate” (Health). Workshop participants were taken through a simulation exercise in which decision-making was practiced. Thus, this helped them identify the management issues related to extra-budgeta- ry funds in the activity of a medical institution. The trade union representatives emphasized the usefulness and efficiency of this methodology and stated that it makes it easier to facilitate decision-making processes that have an impact on a large number of people, thus avoiding conflict situations on the decision being made. At the methodology dissemination stage we organized a workshop during which analyses of the results of April 2009 parliamentary elections was done. The following aspects have been brought into the discussion: “The correctness and efficiency of the voting processes in Chisinau municipality”. The NGOs, local public administration and mass-media representatives suggested a series of solutions that serve as a basis for modifications in the legal framework in this field. Workshop participants emphasized that the methodology/instrument propo- sed for this workshop is useful in identifying solutions and avoiding potential conflicts between parties involved in solving a certain problem.
  8. 8. Ambitious young girls Basarabeasca teams visiting Cenac A solution proposed by the youngsters The Cimislia gallery The team captain, Tartaul, Cantemir district This methodology may be also applied for decision-making processes in the areas related but not limited to: • Allocation of resources/ grants; • Identification and development of new strategies; • Identification of potential conflicts and solutions for overcoming them; • Identification and prioritization of project based needs; • Launching business ideas/market research; • Organization of community based forums/public hearings. Anyone interested in the participatory approach to decision-making in the con- text of elections can also refer to this Guide. This Guide is a presentation of the Vote Mock Election Exercise, described per each stage, as well as includes annexes – which serve as direct handouts/materials which can support the implementation of the exercise in an efficient way. The last part of Guide contains information about implementing organizations of this project.
  9. 9. An overcrowded room in Manoilesti, Ungheni district Electoral Board, Rezina From little ones to the grown-ups, Parcani, Soroca district Electoral board on duty The community problems are the same for all CHAPTER 1. Stages Of The Vote Mock Elections Exercise This chapter presents a summary of the main stages of the vote mock elections exercise. It also gives a clear picture on the general framework of the project and the kind of impact it made on community development. OBJECTIVES of the Vote Mock Election Exercise: 1. Developing active listening and critical thinking skills of the participants in the electoral process/who are entitled to vote; 2. Building motivation and raising awareness amongst citizens to take active part in the decision-making processes at the community level. Stage 1. Raising awareness at the community level about the imple- mentation of the Vote Mock Election Exercise: talking to community leaders i.e. local public administration, school administration, etc. Duration: 7-10 days (Timing may vary from one community to another). A group of 36 local trainers were involved in a Training of Trainers Program on Vote Mock Elections methodology. These trainers were selected from the communi- ties eligible for this project. There were selected 2 trainers per each community. At this first stage of the Vote Mock Elections exercise implementation, local trainers have several tasks: – To present the project to High school students/Youth from their community; – To present the approach and the opportunities provided by the project to Youth; – To motivate Youth/High school students initiate two “Youth Initiative Gro- ups” for the purpose of this project; – To encourage Youth/High School students play the role of the “Electoral Committee”; – Decide together with the groups and with the local public administration and high school administrations the date/day for the Vote Mock Elections in their community; – Decide together with the groups and with the local public administration and high school administrations a hall/conference room to be used for the Vote Mock Elections in their community (with minimum 100 seats capacity); – Inform the project team about the progress made during this stage as well as about the date when the exercise will be organized at the community level. The role of local trainers is to work with both “Youth Initiative Groups” as well as with the “Electoral Committee” group. Note: each “Youth Initiative Group” shall have not more than 10 members, while “Electoral Committee” can have more than 10 members. “Youth Initiative Groups” – local trainers need to assist both groups in identi- fication of challenges/problems that their community faces. From the list of vari-
  10. 10. 10 The electoral board announces the results A vote for Cantemir town Registering the participants, Ciorna, Rezina The expert’s opinion Presenting the electoral platform ous problems identified, trainers should guide groups to pick one problem. Based on this problem, each group needs to identify a solution for it and to elaborate a mini-campaign via which to promote this solution amongst community members. Each of the groups should have an “electoral message” elaborated and promoted as well. Local trainers provide support at all stages of this part of the exercise, so that at the end of this Phase each group has the following minimum: – a team leader; – a clear/articulate ‘electoral message’; – promotional materials (posters, fliers, etc.) “Electoral Committee” group – this group should also be assisted by the local trainers and guided throughout the entire process. This group is responsible for making all the necessary arrangements that an Electoral Committee would do: preparing the voting lists, registering voters, arranging the voting booth, keeping order during the Vote Mock Elections exercise, etc. Local trainers shall also inform the community members about the objectives of the Vote Mock Election exercise, time and place. This can be done via the posters that each community received from the project team. Each poster allows for clear details about the event to be posted. Stage 2. Vote Mock Elections Exercise Duration: Maximum 3 hours (This may vary from one community to another). This stage prepares the ground for two basic activities: public debates and voting. “Youth Initiative Groups” will conduct the public debate. The debate modera- tor/facilitator (usually, this is one of the local trainers) announces the purpose of debates – thus, motivating the community to get involved in participatory decisi- on-making at the local level. “Electoral Committee” will register all community representatives who participate in the Vote Mock Elections event. Everyone will get registered at the front door, and a voting card will be handed to each community member. Stage 3. Algorithm for Debate a) The facilitator announces the topic, key purpose, rules, and the main stages of the activity as well as introduces the members of the two “Youth Initia- tive Groups” to the public (about 3-5 min.); b) Representative 1 of the “Youth Initiative Group” shares the key message/ ’electoral message’ (5-6 min.); c) Representative 2 of the “Youth Initiative Group” shares the key message/ ’electoral message’ (5-6 min.); d) The facilitator gives the floor to the community members/public to ask questions to the representatives of “Youth Initiative Groups”. e) Opponents of the “Youth Initiative Groups” are also given a chance to sha- re their mini-speeches to support their favorite “Youth Initiative Group”. f) Meantime, members of the “Youth Initiative Groups” have to prepare at
  11. 11. 11 Sergey Lysenko, the Exercise moderator Volunteers from Austria and Lithuania Zinaida Teut, local trainer The priest from Tatarauca Veche, Soroca district Gheorghe Salaru, local trainer least 1 question for their opponent group (4 min.). g) Representative 1 addresses the question/s to the opponent (2-3 min.). h) Representative 2 addresses the question/s to the opponent (2-3 min.). i) The facilitator provides the public with the opportunity to address ques- tions as well. It is recommended that the public is encouraged to address questions to both groups (6 min.). j) The facilitator gives the public some time for short interventions, max. 30 seconds (4 min.). k) Final speech of the representative of “Youth Initiative Group 1” (2 min.). l) Final speech of the “Youth Initiative Group 2” (2 min.). Note: This is a tentative distribution of time and it may suffer changes depen- ding on the situation. The debates shall take not more than 60 minutes. At the end of the debate part, the facilitator invites representatives of the com- munity/public to express their position/choice by voting: which of the solutions pre- sented by the “Youth Initiative Groups” should be given priority? The facilitator an- nounces the voting procedure and the electoral committee members (3-5 persons). Stage 4. The Voting Procedure Duration: approximately 30 minutes. Community members use their voting cards received at the entrance, to ex- press their option. Electoral committee members shall be responsible for keeping order in the hall and make sure the voting goes smooth. There are two tables and pens available next to the voting booth. Stage 5. Data Processing and Announcing Results Duration: approximately 30 minutes. While the electoral committee counts the voting cards, the community mem- bers can get acquainted with the results of the work done by the students within the Vote Mock Elections project. These can include video materials, drawings, essays, etc. One of the representatives of the electoral committee announces the results. The facilitator draws conclusions on the main results of this exercise, by highli- ghting the following: • Active participation of citizens in the voting process helps identify and prioritize important community problems; • The results of the voting process present the community’s perspective on the problems that should be solved in the first place in the community; • Both problems presented by the “Youth Initiative Groups” are equally im- portant and the entire community should take part in solving them or in the implementation of the proposed solutions. Note: The main objective of this exercise is motivating community members to participate in decision-making processes at the local level. That is why, the voting procedure should be as simple as possible, not following all real voting procedures and requirements, as described in the Electoral Code. The facilitator may want to share this at the beginning of the exercise.
  12. 12. 12 Involving community actors Continuous monitoring The working group, Parcani, Soroca district Public debates, Criuleni Disseminating practices, Taraclia, Causeni district Chapter 2 The algorithm of the vote mock election exercise Activity I. A prosperous community Objectives: By the end of this activity, participants will be able to: a) identify the main problems in their community; b) classify the identified problems according to some criteria, i.e. economic, social, behaviour, etc.; c) get actively involved in identifying solutions for these problems by “Youth Initiative Groups”. a) Setting the Context Local trainers will make a presentation of the project as well as of the main aspects of the Vote Mock Elections exercise during meetings with high school students, teachers, parents, local public administration, etc. They will make sure that the main objectives, activities, desired impact and opportunities provided by this exercise are clearly presented to everyone. This exercise may be hosted by the school, mayoralty, house of culture, etc. b) Select the Problem and Form the Citizen Initiative Groups High school students, teachers, parents and other interested stakeholders will be invited to a joint meeting. Step I. The facilitator shall present: • The main objectives of this exercise; • The expected results; • Importance and the role of the “Youth Initiative Groups” in solving the community problems. Step 2. Identification and formulation of the community problems The main focus of this step is correct and clear formulation of the community based problems. Usually, students tend to formulate the problems too general or they identify too complex problems/issues for which solutions can not be identified immedia- tely. As an example, the issues of migration, low salaries, etc. are often identified by the students. But these issues require interventions at the level of policies, legal framework, others, which students can not change. Suggestions for trainers: Ask students to do a free writing activity by continu- ing the following sentence: „I love my native village/town because ...”. Ask then students to share in pairs their work. If time allows, ideas from each pair can be shared in a bigger group.
  13. 13. 13 INFO team, Tartaul, Cantemir district GTE team, Tartaul, Cantemir district A small vote for a big future A new experience, Soroca Natalia Ribcic, local trainer The trainer shall then ask participants to think about the kind of problems their community has. All the ideas are collected on a flipchart. This activity may be done both with larger groups as well as with smaller ones. Suggestions for trainers on How to avoid general formulations of the problems amongst the participants. Here are some examples: Rezina: “People of Rezina town have little opportunities for spending their free time outdoor. The existent park is not properly arranged” Criuleni: “People of Criuleni town have limited opportunities for spending their free time outdoor at the Nistru river, as there are no benches arranged for this purpose. Ruseni (Edinet): “The image of the village is negatively affected by the old cemetery located in the centre of the village. Nobody takes care of and there is no fence around it”. Cimislia: “Health of Youth is affected by smoking very much”. The trainer will note down all these ideas on the flipchart. Each participant will then come to the board/flipchart and will put a mark next to the three problems that he/she would like to be solved in the community. The trainer makes a summa- ry by counting the number of marks per each problem. Three problems that have accumulated most of the ‘votes’ are announced. Step 4. After the main three problems have been identified by the participants, they can proceed to describing, analyzing several solutions for them. They will do this by providing specific examples, suggestions and recommendations. The following questions can be used to facilitate the discussions on the main problems identified: 1. What is the top-priority problem? 2. Why has this problem not yet been solved? 3. What kind of resources i.e. financial or/and human are needed to solve this problem? 4. Which of the presented ideas/solutions may contribute to the solving of this problem? 5. What kind of risks may appear while solving it? 6. What actions may be taken to avoid or minimize the risks? 7. What changes might occur at the community level once the problem has been solved? Suggestions for local trainer: The local trainer writes the 3 selected problems on the board/poster. Each person signs up for the problem he/she would like to identify solutions for. The maximum number of participants who may sign up for a problem is 7. If there are more than 21 participants interested to take part in this activity, then the trainer will form 3 equal teams. The trainer will bring into discussion the main activities that will be implemen- ted/organized as part of this project and will provide a brief explaination on the main responabilities of the participants involved.
  14. 14. 14 Dorian Furtuna, expert Creativity while wording the message I have the right to... Questions Answers session, Soroca Promoting the Vote Mock Elections Project “Youth Initiative Group” Five to six students will form the core of the group, they will basically be in charge of the overall development and implementation of the exercise. One interesting example: in Criuleni this group was founded by members of the Local Youth Council. Their main motivation is the desire to contribute to positive changes in community life. c) Keeping up a high level of Motivation amongst “Youth Initiative Groups” as well as monitoring their activity The trainer shall monitor the activity of the created groups. Several meetings might be conducted until the work of the groups starts going smoothly. Based on the experiences that we had in different communities: the readiness of the students to do this kind of work may vary from one community to another. Some groups need much more support than others. Other groups need external assistance at various stages starting with the division of roles and responsibilities and ending with the formulation of the ‘electoral message’. Keeping up a high level of Motivation amongst “Youth Initiative Groups” “Youth Initiative Groups” shall have at least 2-3 meetings a week. Each me- eting shall not last less than 1 hour. For instance, in Cenac (Cimislia district) “Youth Initiative Groups” used to have working meetings 3 times a week. This has had a great effect on the high quality of the ‘electoral messages/speeches’. Due to these meetings, all partici- pants were aware of the kind of roles and responsibilities they have and what exactly needs to be done at the community level. Attention! “Youth Initiative Groups” representatives should be informed abo- ut the fact that they are not competitors, but rather supporters of some community based solutions. They have to also be aware of the fact that community members will ‘vote’ not for the groups but rather for the solutions proposed by the groups. The choice is determined by the way the community sees the solutions and the need for their implementation. Activity II. How to mobilize the Community to participate in solving local problems. Vote Mock Elections Exercise. “Youth Initiative Groups” propose solutions Step 1. At this stage, local trainer/s explain both groups the main steps of an electoral campaign. An electoral campaign includes 2 stages: • Organizational stage, during which an Initiative Group is founded, main objectives are clarified, problems vs. solutions are identified, and some image-building strategies are applied and the key message is elaborated;
  15. 15. 15 Victor Bivol, local formatter The members of the REAL Citizens Initia- tive Group The youngster’s voice Vote P.U.R. Vote Mock Elections Project • Promotional stage, during which both Initiative Groups apply strategies for reaching the community members in order to disseminate/share their message. Step 2. Each initiative group presents a series of solutions that can be applied while addressing community based problems identified earlier. They shall select the most relevant solutions and work on identification of arguments, statistics/data and examples that may justify these solutions, as well as formulating their “elec- toral message”. Step 3. Both “Youth Initiative Groups” have to determine ways to get to their supporters vs. potential ‘voters’ from the community. Participants can elaborate a list with the names of the people from the community they would like to address to (i.e. pensioners, teachers, youngsters, farmers, others). Both groups would also have to identify the most effective means to reach them. Step 4. The information on the main problems addressed by both Initiative Groups, as well as the solutions identified, arguments, profile of the potential sup- porters vs. voters, others – should be carefully analyzed by the members of the groups. The ‘electoral message’ shall be in the form of a text, approximately 1-2 pages long, and include a synthesis of all arguments identified by the team. Based on these, promotional materials should also be elaborated by each of the Initiative Groups. Step 5. Each “Youth Initiative Group” shall decide on its name. The name of the groups should be related to the solutions proposed by the groups, so that com- munity members can easier associate the ‘electoral messages’with the groups and vice versa. The name of the group as well as the motto/logo shall be the distinctive elements of each group. Attention! It is important to note that both groups should use only White and Black colors in order to avoid any possible associations of the Groups with any of the real political parties. If the Vote Mock Elections exercise happens to take place during the pre-elections campaign, then local trainers must carefully check the message of each group, the logo/motto, etc. Step 6. Once the ‘electoral message’ and the image building elements of each “Youth Initiative Group” have been clarified, groups can start working on iden- tifying the ways to reach potential ‘voters’ in their community. For this purpose, groups will use at least two strategies: • Public speech • Electoral posters.
  16. 16. 16 The mayor of Trinca, Edinet district The competition has started A devoted supporter Analyzing solutions Wording the duties Raising awareness amongst community members OR mobilization of the community … There are several strategies for community mobilization amongst which pol- ls, posters, exhibitions, meetings, etc. As an example, in Cimislia several strategies were applied i.e. polls, inter- views, but the most unusual strategy used was the Anti-tobacco vs. Anti-alco- hol march of the “Youth Initiative group”. The march itself included several interesting moments such as “exchanging a cigarette for an apple”, “collecting cigarettes in a coffin”, “posters”, etc. One of the “Youth Initiative Groups” in Edinet organized interviews with people in the street, and in Cenac, Manoilesti, and Rezina several posters were disseminated in order to raise awareness and interest amongst the community members. Step 7. At this stage, a public speech should be elaborated by both “Youth Initi- ative Groups”. These public speeches will be delivered during the real Vote Mock Elections exercise in the community and these speeches should be elaborated in accordance with the rules and recommendations provided in this Guidebook in Annex 2. These speeches will be the key instruments for promoting the messages of each group during the Vote Mock Elections exercise. Accordingly, the promoti- onal poster of each group should comprise main elements of the speech/’electoral message’: the name of the group, motto/logo, and a minimum text conveying the basic idea of the groups. Step 8. This is the stage during which the message is promoted in the commu- nity and “Youth Initiative Groups” ‘recruit’ their opponents and supporters. The campaign itself should be a positive one, in a way that “Youth Initiative Groups” do not attack/criticize each other in front of the community members. Step 9. At this stage, meetings with potential ‘voters’ are organized by each “Youth Initiative Group” – i.e. colleagues, teachers, people from the communi- ty. Each group will present their own message to them. Many ways of promo- tion techniques can be applied for this purpose: flash-mobs, the „door-to-door” campaign, posters/stickers (placed in authorized places). In within each group there should be members responsible for the Communication with the Community members, so that they can guarantee a sufficient number of ‘voters’present during the Vote Mock Elections exercise in their community. Step 10. At this stage 2-4 members of the core “Youth Initiative Groups” have to prepare for the final stage of promoting their ‘electoral message’ for the public debates/Vote Mock Elections exercise. Attention should be paid at the way the speeches are understood by people from outside the Initiative Groups. It is im- portant to do some prior ‘testing’ of the message and to see the degree to which they are understandable and clear. In addition to these, each Initiative group has to elaborate a list of possible questions for the ‘opponent’group. A list of tentative answers can also be discussed by each group. One of the recommendations for this stage is the use of audio-video-photo so that it is clearer, more interesting and attractive to the public. In addition to the above, each “Youth Initiative Group” has to identify in ad-
  17. 17. 17 Citizen Initiative Group, Cuizauca, Rezina district Citizen Initiative Group, Ciorna, Rezina district The media watches us The promoters of the new things Prioritizing community problems vance colleagues, friends, from the community (their supporters) who will address their opponent group a number of questions. So, these questions have to be compi- led by the groups first and then shared with someone who is interested to ask them. At the same time, it is important that each group has 1-2 ‘opponents’/supporters in the room during the Vote Mock Elections exercise and preliminary agreement with them should be made: when the audience is given a chance to support/share a supporting message for their favorite group, they have to stand up and share in public their messages. Activity III. Developing the Vote Mock Election Exercise This stage includes two main activities: the public debates and voting. Preparations for the Public Debate Once the problem vs. solution have been identified by each “Youth Initiative Group”, “Youth Initiative Groups” begin to prepare for the public debate. These preparations are similar to a well-structured project in which 6 key-components should be addressed/met. Stage 1. Identification and Formulation of the Problem. If the problem is formulated correctly, then it clearly describes the discrepancy between the expec- ted results and the real situation. If the expected results are clear, then the problem can be identified much easier. Often participants are not fully aware about the importance of this stage, and in turn, this leads to wrong decision-making. When referring to community based problems, it should be clear that they represent the negative situation of a certain social group in the community. Here are some examples: • Young people from our village have limited possibilities for access to infor- mation; • Elderly people from our village have limited access to qualitative social assistance services; • The state of health of our community members is affected by the bad qua- lity of the drinking water. These examples illustrate how the problem should be formulated. Members of the “Youth Initiative Groups” allocate enough time to relevant/cor- rect information about the identified problem. They can gather statistical data, pho- tos, articles, audio and video materials which would be the supporting elements. Having collected this information, each group shall check if the initial for- mulation of the problem still corresponds to the reality. Later, they will be able to determine the causes of the problem which will help them identify the most appropriate solution. The first stage may last maximum 7-10 days. During it the following should be done:
  18. 18. 18 Local trainers, Ciorna Rezina Waiting for the results Youngsters in action, Cimislia Final message, Edinet The Drawings Contest • Organize a meeting for the identification of the problem/s; • Collect relevant vs. supporting information/evidence; • Organize a meeting to present the collected data and re-formulate the pro- blem if needed. Stage 2. Identification of Possible Solutions This stage means organization of a brainstorming activity, within which parti- cipants can share several ideas about how to solve the problem. Having compiled a list of possible solutions, participants can work on describing them in more details. This involves both “Youth Initiative Groups” to present not only what they will change in the community, but also to identify who can be involved in the implementation of this change, and how this change will de made, what resources do they need to make this change. In order to be able to describe the solution, participants need additional infor- mation: analyze how similar problems were solved in other communities; identify what resources and competences are available at the community level; assess the costs for its implementation, etc. Solutions which require limited resources to be implemented have more chances to be realized. As an example, in Criuleni, several interesting solutions for “how to organize the free time outdoor at the local beach” have been identified. Some of them were implemented during 2 weeks after the debates/Vote Mock Elections exer- cise was organized there: community provided a tractor to do some necessary work at the beach; youth from Criuleni cleaned a piece of land for mini-football and with the help of the trainer have installed the gates; and an economic agent organized a disco on the beach. Sadaclia team (Basarabeasca district) involved experts to identify the most adequate solutions and assess the amount /type of expenses needed to repair the road. In Manoilesti (Ungheni district), school administration and economic agents came together to arrange a sports room and a reading-room. After consultations, both groups received support to implement both projects. The second stage may last one week. Within this period of time, the following are recommended to be implemented: • Organize a meeting for the identification of the solution/s; • Collect relevant vs. supporting information/evidence; • Organize a meeting to present the collected data and edit the plan. Stage 3. Editing the Text of the Presentation All the collected information should be structured and incorporated into a ma- ximum 6 minutes speech. In order to have a comprehensive speech, it is important to have the following checklist. If needed, the content of the speech should be reviewed.
  19. 19. 19 The leaders of the citizen initiative group We are watching you... We began to count the votes The Drawings Contest An electoral poster Question Suggestions for Speakers What is the problem? Describe the current situation in the community, em- phasizing the target group mostly affected by the iden- tified problem. Refer to statistics, legal aspects, present evidences which caused the problem in the commu- nity. What will you do to sol- ve this problem? Propose solutions. Provide reasons/justifications about how this will improve the situation. Who should solve the problem? List the main stakeholders to be involved in solving this problem. Give reasons why these persons or insti- tutions are capable to improve the current situation. How will this problem be solved? Describe the main activities or methods to be imple- mented/applied to accomplish the mission. Prove that these activities/methods may be implemented with the involvement of the above stated stakeholders. What are the estimated costs for this solution? Assess and present the resources you need to imple- ment the problem-solving activities. Describe the ma- terial, financial and human resources. Give reasons as to the need for the identified resources. Accordingly, describe the re/sources and prove that they are avail- able. What direct and indi- rect benefits will be ob- tained as a result of the implementation of this solution? Describe all possible benefits, thus demonstrating the improvement of the current situation. Present these benefits as compared with the costs. Be creative! Incorporate these aspects into the speech, and make sure it has a maximum impact on the community members/public. Stage 4. Distribution of the responsibilities amongst members of the “Yo- uth Initiative Groups” during the Public Debates At this stage it is important to remind participants the main objectives of the Vote Mock Election Exercise. They must be aware about the fact that, first of all, they have to focus on provoking the community members to discussions and, se- condly, to promote their identified solution. “Youth Initiative Groups” have to organize a joint meeting during which they will share amongst each other their speeches, prepared for the Public Debates. Members of both groups have to be aware of the kind of speeches and mes- sages they will share with the public during the Vote Mock Elections exercise. Accordingly, both groups have to come to a common agreement vis-à-vis the way they will communicate their messages to the public. And here, more scenarios can be discussed: Situation 1. Both groups present different problems and, accordingly, different solutions. For instance: one group speaks about the polluted environment as there is no authorized waste dump in the community, and the other group – can talk abo- ut the increase of the number of youngsters addicted to the alcohol, due to limited
  20. 20. 20 The breadboard model of the future project The contest has started Hoping in the future This is how we may influence the grown-ups Community actors, Basarabeasca opportunities for spending their free time. Both groups have to provide clear arguments and reasons for the identified problems. The debates and questions will definitely help the public to make a clear picture on the issues being presented and debated. The second group, while presenting, has to also challenge in a way or another, the case presented by the first group. Situation 2. Both teams can come up with the same problem (for instance, polluted environment because of a non authorized waste dump), but both groups can propose different solutions. Groups shall demonstrate a clear understanding of the situation/problem as well as to come up with arguments for the approach they chose and why it is more efficient i.e. simpler, cheaper, more rapid, will provide more positive effects, etc. The debates and questions shall help the public under- stand the efficiency of the proposed solutions. We recommend that during the preparation, the local trainers and participants jointly determine which of these two strategies they will use for the Vote Mock Elections exercise. Stage 4 may last 1-3 meetings. Indexes of the Degree of Readiness of the “Youth Initiative Groups”: • Groups have well-elaborated projects/speeches; • Groups have sufficient proofs to support their project ideas; • Groups are well-trained in the debates (examine the importance of the pro- blem or, if it is a common problem, they are capable to analyze the effici- ency of the solution); • Groups are aware about making the public engaged in discussions about solutions for the problem identified. Activity IV. The Public Debates The focus of the public debates phase, is to allow each group demonstrate that their project is more efficient and that the solution proposed by them is the most effective for their community, as compared to the solution of the opposite group. Basic Principles: • Both groups have equal time allocated for the speech (no one has the right to dominate/monopolize the discussion); • Both groups should be ready to speak on the spot, not relying only on the speeches prepared beforehand; • The public shall be encouraged to formulate questions and give arguments against the proposed solutions. Participants and their Responsibilities: “Youth Initiative Groups” (2-4 members from each group) – will present, ac- cording to a commonly agreed model, the problem and the way this problem can be solved; they will have to formulate questions for the opponent group; answer the questions of the public, of the second group/opponents, and of the debate mo- derator/facilitator; The facilitator/moderator gives the floor to the participants, collects questions,
  21. 21. 21 The Exercise start, Trinca, Edinet district A question from the audience Maximum attention to the details The electoral board members, Basarabeasca Presenting final conclusions supervises the degree to which the ‘rules’ are followed, and keeps the public inte- rested in the discussions; The time-keeper – will make sure equal time is given to each group and will indicate the remaining time with the help of the cards; The public – addresses questions to both groups, expresses opinions in favor and/or against specific positions. The public debates For public debate “Youth Initiative Groups” have to invite community mem- bers who are directly affected by the problem; community members who can contribute to solving the problem; community members who can take some de- cisions vis-à-vis the implementation of the proposed solution/s. As an example, in Manoilesti, parents and pupils from lower grades were in- vited along the others to the public debate given the fact that one of the debated problems was related to the “arrangement of the sports hall” and “reading-room” at the school. Economic agents, mayor of the village, representative of the Gene- ral Department of Education, representative of the Youth Department of the Dis- trict Council were also invited to take part in the Vote Mock Elections exercise. Another example is from Basarabeasca, where representatives of the Ecolo- gical Department, Preventive Medicine and the District Chairman were amongst the invitees as one of the problems being debated was the arrangement of the park. Resources needed. Chairs and 2 tables – for the “Youth Initiative Groups” to be able to stand in front of the public; cards with numbers (showing the number of minutes remaining); a bell or a gong to signal the beginning and the end of the speeches – for the time-keeper; 3 supports/files; a chronometer (a watch). Hall/room setting. The tables and chairs for the “Youth Initiative Groups” shall be put in front of the public, and the moderator shall stand in the centre. The time-keeper shall sit in the first row in the hall during the debates, in order for the moderator/facilitator and the “Youth Initiative Group to be able to follow his signals. The algorithm for the debate: – The facilitator announces the topic, key purpose, rules, and the main stages of the activity as well as introduces the members of the two “Youth Initia- tive Groups” to the public (about 3-5 min.); – Representative 1 of the “Youth Initiative Group” shares the key message/ ’electoral message’ (5-6 min.); – Representative 2 of the “Youth Initiative Group” shares the key message/ ’electoral message’ (5-6 min.); – The facilitator gives the floor to the community members/public to ask questions to the representatives of “Youth Initiative Groups”. – Opponents of the “Youth Initiative Groups” are also given a chance to sha- re their mini-speeches to support their favorite “Youth Initiative Group”. – Meantime, members of the “Youth Initiative Groups” have to prepare at least 1 question for their opponent group (4 min.). – Representative 1 addresses the question/s to the opponent (2-3 min.).
  22. 22. 22 A team leader Inside the voting section The MINEVA team message Local trainers, Cirpesti, Cantemir district An electoral poster – Representative 2 addresses the question/s to the opponent (2-3 min.). – The facilitator provides the public with the opportunity to address ques- tions as well. It is recommended that the public is encouraged to address questions to both groups (6 min.). – The facilitator gives the public some time for short interventions, max. 30 seconds (4 min.). – Final speech of the representative of “Youth Initiative Group 1” (2 min.). – Final speech of the “Youth Initiative Group 1” (2 min.). Note: This is a tentative distribution of time and it may suffer changes depen- ding on the situation. The debates shall take not more than 60 minutes. At the end of the debate part, the facilitator invites representatives of the com- munity/public to express their position/choice by voting: which of the solutions presented by the “Youth Initiative Groups” should be given priority? The facili- tator announces the voting procedure and the electoral committee members (3-5 persons). Suggestions for the “Youth Initiative Groups” Listen carefully the presentation of the opposite group. Note down the ideas promoted by that group and ‘sense’/identify the weak points in their proposal/pre- sentation. Here are some possible tips: – The proposed solution does not seem to eliminate the causes of the pro- blem and, accordingly, this may not change the situation; – Members of the community responsible for this problem do not have ne- cessary competences to accomplish/complete the proposed task; – The resources listed in your proposal are not enough for making this solu- tion a real one for the community; – There are simpler and less costly solutions. At the end of the debate part, the facilitator invites representatives of the com- munity/public to express their position/choice by voting: which of the solutions presented by the “Youth Initiative Groups” should be given priority? The facili- tator announces the voting procedure and the electoral committee members (3-5 persons). Activity V. The Voting Objectives: – Developing active listening and critical thinking skills of the participants in the electoral process/who are entitled to vote; – Building motivation and raising awareness amongst citizens to take active part in the decision-making processes at the community level. I. Prepare the voting lists Local trainer/s have to organize a meeting during which all the members of the “Youth Initiative Groups” will distribute some roles and tasks among them: – Prepare the ballots, the voting booth;
  23. 23. 23 The expert’s opinion The Local Public Authority opinion The team work Delivering the certificates The dream project – Prepare announcements (to ensure the presence of the community mem- bers during the Vote Mock Elections exercise); – Distribute the roles of the observer, person responsible for voters, person responsible for announcing the results, person responsible for monitoring the voting process, etc. Participants with this role, have to make sure that everyone in the room/hall votes and accordingly participate in the decision-making process. At the initial stage of the campaign, after having analyzed the problems, one of those three “Youth Initiative Groups” can play the role of the Electoral Commis- sion and the Electoral Bureau. In this capacity, this group will: • Inform the community members about the Vote Mock Election Exercise; • Motivate the community members to participate in the vote mock election activity; • Distribute invitations; • Issue ballots; • Count the votes and announce results. During the communication/outreach campaign at the community level, the „Electoral Commission” team members shall elaborate the voting cards, discuss with community members, explaining them the essence of this exercise and why it is important for them to get involved. The list of voters for the Vote Mock Election Exercise No. Name, Last name Address, Identity Card nr. Invitation no. Signature Having a list of voters in place is extremely important, as it clear who/how many people are taking part in the event. II. Select the Priority Problem by Voting Based on the list of voters during the Vote Mock Elections day, the Electoral Commission shall issue the voting cards, by observing the following procedure: 1. The voter (the participant in the Vote Mock Elections exercise) presents the invitation received from the “Youth Initiative Groups” to the Electoral Commission. 2. The members of the Electoral Commission check if this person has been included in the voters list. 3. The voter is given the voting card and confirms this fact by signing in the voters list next to his/her name. 4. Persons without invitations will be included in an additional list. During the voting process, the Electoral Commission is responsible for the mo- nitoring of the voting procedure, counting the votes and announcing the results.
  24. 24. 24 At the beginning of the activity, Cimislia The Vote Mock Election Exercise, Cantemir The emblem of the team Mediatorii (Mediators) A local blog of the project A poster During the voting process, “Youth Initiative Groups” might be too emotional/ excited about the results of the Vote Mock Elections exercise, especially when the promotion stage was organized highly qualitatively. As an example, in Cenac, one group obtained 2 votes more as compared to the other group. After the end of the voting process some persons came to vote. To avoid a potential conflict we strictly observed the voting regulations and procedu- res, thus these persons were not allowed to vote post-factum as per the set rules. III. The Results of the Vote Mock Elections Exercise The results of the Voting process shall be made public. The facilitator/s and local trainers have to congratulate both “Youth Initiative Groups”, event organi- zers and the community members. Also, they have to highlight the importance of collaboration, cooperation between all the community stakeholders. The results of the vote mock election exercise During the analyses of the results of the Vote Mock Elections exercise, it is important not only to present the results, but also discuss the processes which were involved. In Ruseni for example: emphasizes was put on the role of community mem- bers in this event. The role of the priest was highlighted as well: the priest had significantly contributed to the efficiency of the exercise and to the further solv- ing of the cemetery problem – something that nobody took care of before. In Sadaclia: parents emphasized the pupils’ successes in the process of the development of civic competences. In Basarabeasca: the importance to set local partnerships was highlighted - the participation of the local public administration and mass-media contributed to the success of the event. The voting procedure shall be followed by a short speech of the local trainer/or facilitator (depending on the situation). He/she shall hold the final speech, by en- couraging and thanking everyone who took part in this event. Here is an example of a speech: “Dear pupils, Dear members of community! Today, with you all here, par- ticipating in the Vote Mock Elections exercise, you have proven that change is necessary, that the community wants to survive and does everything it takes to achieve this. Pupils have selected, analyzed and presented solutions for solving two important problems in the community. By your common decision expressed through vote you have given priority to the problem of „.....................”. This does not minimize the importance of the second problem/s but it sets different terms for their solving. If your community has resources to address these problems in parallel to the one you voted for, we will congratulate you and wish you good luck and mobilization of your resources. You have a great potential, which was
  25. 25. 25 Veronica Cretu, team coordinator trainer Intense discussions Voting boxes Local formatter, Cuizauca, Rezina district Valeriu Rusu, local formatter demonstrated by these beautiful faces and souls, active, loving and responsible. We congratulate you with the beautiful start for a successful development of a prosperous community”. The local trainer will discuss with the pupils/youth about the voting process, about the results, advantages, limits etc. Finally, during the same day or later, pupils will communicate with their clas- smates, analyze the results in their initiative groups, identify the difficulties/chal- lenges and successes, plan the activities for implementation of the action plan to solve the problem. Questions to facilitate the discussion between the voters and the representatives of the “Youth Initiative Groups” During the public debates and meetings with voters/community members, the discussions amongst the participants may focus on the following questions: 1. What is the priority problem for the community? 2. Why has the problem not been solved until now? 3. What resources: financial vs. human resources are necessary to solve this problem? 4. Where could these resources be found? 5. Which of the presented ideas/solutions could be used in solving the pro- blem? 6. What risks might appear in solving this problem? 7. What actions could be planed to avoid or to minimize the risks? 8. What changes could be achieved as a result of solving the problem at the community level? Final conclusions The implementation of the project shows that Vote Mock Elections exercise can be used both for electoral education as well as for stimulating the community members’involvement in the decision-making processes. According to the project team, the last area is very important for our society. The experience gained during the project clearly demonstrates the efficiency of this instrument in addressing community problems. The simulations/Vote Mock Elections exercise can be done efficiently only by the responsible involvement of local trainers and key community stakeholders. Additionally, the role of the “Youth Initiative Groups” is crucial for the overall success of the initiative as well as of the community members/general population. The current Guide and Tips provided by the authors of this methodology/ap- proach is a tool that requires creative and innovative implementation, with slight adjustments and adaptations depending on the community. It is up to you to make this exercise local, and this Vote Mock Elections experience unique and useful for your community. Good Luck!
  26. 26. 26 Working in pairs Discussing community problems Disseminating good practices Dissemination, Bulboaca, Anenii Noi district Sharing knowledge ANNEXES Annex 1. Brief information about the main implementing organizations of the Vote Mock Elections Project 1. Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova Hilfswerk Austria is one of the biggest organizations from Austria that provi- des financial support for development cooperation and offers assistance including to Eastern Europe countries. It is a member of the company HILFSWERK, foun- ded in 1996, with 20 employees in Vienna headquarters and more than 60 persons working in its projects developed all over the world. Hilfswerk Austria supports people in need throughout the world. The financing of projects designed for the development, cooperation and emergency relief cases is done via national and international funds, as well as from private donations or sponsorships. The representation of the “Hilfswerk Austria” in the Republic of Moldova (founded in 2001) is a non-profit, non-political and non-governmental organizati- on, which contributes to the improvement of life quality by providing sustainable support for the economic development and social protection in a non-bureaucra- tic, professional and directly onsite manner for the most vulnerable and disadvan- taged from social point of view people in the Republic of Moldova. 2. ”CMB” Training Center www.cmb.md „CMB” Training Center is a Non-Governmental Organization, founded in 2002. The organization is active both nationally and internationally and has implemented projects on various issues and content areas. Internationally, “CMB” has done in Li- beria, WestAfrica, Nepal and Mongolia – working in the field of education both with Ministries of Education as well as the key educational stakeholders in the country. In the Vote Mock Elections Project the “CMB” Training Center played a crucial role in the implementation of the Training of Trainers Program, in the facilitation of all 19 vote mock elections exercises at the local level as well in the facilitation of the dissemination workshops in other 12 locations of the country. Additionally, the “CMB” Training Center team elaborated the Methodological Guide on Deci- sion–Making at the local level. 3. The Alliance of the Community Centers of Access to Information and Training from Moldova had played an important role in the successful im- plementation of the Vote Mock Elections Project and mainly: – coordinated project activities, – managed the project’s dedicated web page – www.hilfswerk-austria.md/ euvotez – organized the dissemination of Good practices of the project; – completed, supported and elaborated multimedia data base (audio, video, power point, blogs, etc.). Several CCAII members got involved in the Vote Mock Elections Project: – Rezina – Sadaclia (Basarabeasca) – Manoilesti (Ungheni) – Basarabeasca – Cenac (Cimislia) – Tatarauca Veche (Soroca).
  27. 27. 27 A seminar, Glodeni A seminar, Comrat Activity in pairs A seminar, Orhei Presenting arguments Annex 2. The Electoral Message – Design and Presentation An electoral campaign means organization and communication, and its main efforts are focused on developing an efficient electoral message and promoting it as actively as possible among the voters. Actually, in order to win, all campaigns shall repeatedly convey a convincing message, addressed to a sufficient number of well-determined voters. The process of conceiving a message comprises 3 stages: I. prepare to develop the message – means knowing the public and the situa- tion; II. formulate the message; III. select ways of promoting the message. 1. Getting to Know the Public and the Situation As a rule, the electoral message is developed according to the specific situation in the region, but also to the specificity and expectations of the local public. Thus, at the first stage, the population groups from the region will be studied, in order to identify their expectations and to select the voters who could be more sensible to the electoral offer. At this stage, it will take into account that, by its content, the message shall directly reflect the real situation of the region and the specific problems the citi- zens face. 2. Formulation of the Message During the electoral campaign specific ideas and topics are discussed. A topic is a problem that shall be solved and solutions proposed for this purpose. The citizens will vote for the competitor who seems to understand the best their concerns and is the most qualified person to solve their problems. And the winner will be the competitor who has selected the best topic for the campaign, that is, has identified the most urgent problem from the locality and comes with clear solutions to solve it. Thus, the electoral message should correspond to the 5 C: Clear, Concise, Co- herent, Convincing and Credible, and the speech must be structured in a logical and attractive manner. Another recipe for the formulation of the message is based on the following AIDA principles: A. Attention. Develop a beginning to catch the public’s attention, to make them listen to you; I. Interest. Present the subject in such a way as to raise the public interest; treat a problem that has a direct impact on them, and is relevant for people’s concerns and problems; utilize visual aids; D. Desire. Bring convincing arguments and examples by which you will ex- cite the public, make it enthusiastic and determine it to want a change, an action, an involvement; A. Action. Motivate the public for an action. Finalize by formulating a concre- te action plan or by a mobilizing appeal. Ask for their support and vote.
  28. 28. 28 With the director of the VET school, Soroca A workshop, Criuleni The Europe Day, May 10, 2009 Presenting arguments for suggested solu- tions Identifying problems 3. Ways to Promote the Message The electoral message is nothing until the public is not informed about it. It should „reach” the maximum number of persons, so that when they come to deba- tes they already know the topic and are partially convinced about the need to vote for the team that raised the topic. In order for the voters to memorize the message, they shall hear it many ti- mes, in different forms and from different sources. As it was mentioned before, the message shall be conveyed in a clear and concise way, but quite frequently. The voters should not make an effort to understand it. Also, a long and detailed message could make them bored. If we do not convey an efficient and operative message, we risk losing the voters’ attention and their votes. The following forms of contacts will be used during the vote mock election: • Direct contact with the community members: „door-to-door”; • Public speeches; • Distribution of informative materials; • Sending letters by categories (teachers, retired persons, youngsters, far- mers, etc.); • Entertainment actions (football match, concert); • Request of support from influential persons and opinion leaders from the region or from the capital (teachers, priests, artists, scientists, business- men, etc.); • Request of support from public organizations, interest circles (associati- ons, sports clubs, NGOs, etc.); • Discussions at the bus station, at a village or district event, etc.; • Organization of special events on different occasions to promote the mes- sage, depending on the period of the year (e.g.: Christmas, New Year, 1st of March, 8th of March, Green Day, Easter, 1st of May, 1st of June, etc.); • With the help of relatives, neighbors and friends; • Placement of posters and distribution of invitations; • By informing people in institutions and different teams (school, mayoralty, NGOs, sports sections, different centers and associations, etc.). The Public Speech Anyone who is engaged in promoting an electoral message, must possess, to a certain extent, the oratory art, to know to deliver a speech. In general, the debate exercise supposes including in the public presentation the message, communicate with the audience and engage into polemics with the adversary team. Models to Structure the Speech There are no recipes or magic formulae to teach us how to structure a spee- ch. Any speech has its specific way and it depends on the objectives it has. That is why, the approach and projection models are different. Still, there are several schemes that may be applied depending on the topics you treat and the public’s requests.
  29. 29. 29 Dumitru Sandru, Director of the Labor Institute The members of the trade union Sanatatea (Health) The members of the trade union Sanatatea (Health) Delivering certificates in Orhei Analyzing launched solutions Model I: • Presentation of the facts; • Formulation of the conclusions based on these facts; • Calling to action. Model II: • Presentation of a negative situation; • Presentation of solutions to neutralize that evil; • Calling upon cooperation to neutralize the evil. Model III: • Drawing the attention on the circumstances; • Presentation of the idea and solutions; • Presentation of the arguments to support the promoted idea; • Gaining the confidence (by examples, arguments and dialogue); • Motivation of people to get involved in achieving this idea. Model IV: • Presentation of bad news, a negative situation; • Presentation of good, alternative news; description of another situation in a positive way. Model of an Electoral Speech (in 6 steps) 1. Set contact with people, show them that: “you are one of them”, of the same origin, you know their problems, you share the same concerns, and you have the same purpose. 2. Present the real situation of the community: describe the latest social- economic changes, problems and their negative effects. 3. Provide arguments for the message, present tangible figures and facts. Bring relevant examples within the community, with real persons, concrete stories. 4. Point out the cause of these problems, explain why it is so hard to solve them, who and what hinders their efficient solution. 5. Offer solutions to overcome the presented problems and prove that your solutions are realistic and you are able to take stand against the situation. Refer to problems that had been solved due to your efforts/you team/your party. Endorse the obligation to respect your promises. 6. Describe a better future, develop a vision by which you will show the perspectives. Mention that it is a common desire and that only together you will be able to reach this goal. Call upon people’s help, motivate them to go to vote and support you.
  30. 30. 30 Isabella Weiser, a volunteer from Austria The Initiation Certificate Together with the mayor, Parcani, Soroca district Local trainers, Tatarauca Veche, Soroca district A publicity material Annex 3. The Responsibility for Electoral Promises The citizens’ role is not limited only to the election of councilors, the mayor or the deputies. The citizens want to continue to be in touch with their repre- sentatives, to communicate them their opinions, desires, and even put pressure on them, within the limits of the law, of course, when taking decisions which have direct impact on both their and community interests. By giving their vote, citizens chose their representatives and those who have elective functions, serve the people that have expressed confidence in their pro- fessional and moral skills. Once they are chosen, the representatives of central authorities are to work for the well-being of the entire country. If this is possible only in the case of a consolidated civil society, whose members know their ri- ghts, and more importantly, use these, exercise them every time they need to be informed about their situation, but also about how the elected persons perform there obligations. To change the situation (although formally we have a good legal framework, some of the laws are among the most progressive ones, other are more contra- dictory, the reality is different), we suggest, within the simulation vote exercises, to work more on the possibility of improving the answers of the elected persons, both at local and national level, with a view to honor their electoral promises. Although there is no direct mechanism to hold accountable those who perform elective functions, there are a number of ways that people may use to make these persons more responsible. Citizens must know their rights within the electoral process, their importance, what a vote means, and also the rights they can exercise after the voting process and after the elected persons have been invested in their positions. So, the vote is universal, equal, direct, secret and freely expressed. The universal character of a vote is that there is no restriction on age, gender, social origin, patrimony, religious beliefs, etc. Equal vote – within every election – every elector has the right to only one vote that has equal legal power. Direct vote – the elector votes personally. It is not allowed voting for another person. Secret vote – the vote is secret and the influence of another person is prohibi- ted. Free vote – nobody can pressure an elector to make them vote or not vote, as well as to prevent them from expressing their will independently. Another principle that underpins the exercise of the right to vote is voting for only one electoral competitor – the electors can vote only one electoral competi- tor, and in case of a referendum they can select only one option. • Constitution of the Republic of Moldova: The Right of Voting and Being Elected – article 38; The Right of Administering - article 39; Right of Pe- titioning - article 52; Basic Principles of Local Public Administration - article 109; The Right of Access to Information - article 34; Freedom of Opinion and Expression - article 32; Restricting the Exercise of Certain Rights or Freedoms - article 54; The Freedom of Assembly - article 40;
  31. 31. 31 We share community experience Presenting the problem in Power Point The priest – an important community actor Discussions during the workshop Local publication Rights of Persons Aggrieved by Public Authority - article 53; Initiatives for Constitutional Revision - article 141 and Limits of Revision – - article 142; • European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamen- tal Freedoms: Freedom of expression – article 10; Freedom of assembly and association – article 11; • Electoral Code of the Republic of Moldova: restrictions of the Right of Voting and Being Elected – article 13; The right of the voters to check the electoral lists – article 40; • Contravention Code of the Republic of Moldova: Obstructing the exercise of the electoral right – article 47; Registration in multiple lists of candi- dates – article 51; Electoral campaign on the day preceding the day of elections or on the elections day – article 52; Sanctions for the violation of electoral legislation by members of the electoral authority – article 53; • The Law On Access To Information: Objectives of the present law – article 2; Principles of state policy on access to official information – article 4; Rights of requesting parties – article 10 and Rights of requesting parti- es – article 20; • Electoral Code of Republic of Moldova: the right of organizing Local Re- ferendum and Issues which May not be Proposed for Local Referendum – articles. 176 and 178; • Criminal Code of Republic of Moldova: Deliberate violation of legislation regarding the right to access to information – article 180; Hindering of free exercise of electoral right or electoral bodies’ activity – article 181; Coun- terfeiting of voting results Falsify – article 182. This information together with practical exercises, will allow citizens to apply the available legal mechanisms to exert “pressure” on the elected persons, to make them more responsible with no risk of being inflicted administrative, delictual or patrimonial sanctions. In this way, those elected will understand that the electors are a big power, difficult to influence, are aware and have them into their view, appeal to collabo- ration, are active and, respectively, at the next electoral campaign in case they do not meet the needs they demand, they risk not to be elected. This way, the partici- patory democracy and the public participation will develop. What is the Participatory Democracy? It is known that while exercising their duties, the elected persons have 2 possi- bilities: a. To discuss all the subjects on their agenda, to approve laws and to make decisions as to these subjects without consulting the citizens; and, b. Before making a decision, consult the citizens or at least discuss with them about some of the subjects on the agenda. Option b. is called participatory democracy. Thus, a participatory democracy means that, in spite of the fact that the elected persons are empowered to make de- cisions for the community or the stakeholders they represent, they shall do it only after consulting with the citizens, or at least, with some groups of citizens. These consultations may be done both by means of discussions during the com- munity meetings, and by so-called local referenda, within the framework of which the citizens may clearly express their position on a specific problem.
  32. 32. 32 A workshop, Taraclia, Causeni district The Vote Mock Election Exercise, Edinet TheVoteMockElectionExercise,Ruseni, Edinet Public debates, Tatarauca Veche, Soroca district A discussion among local formatters What is Public Participation? The concept of public participation is founded on the need to consult citizens and express their opinions regarding the adopted decisions at different levels and that affect them in a way. In a sound community, citizens participate in the deci- sion-making process of public interest, getting informed about the problems that affect them, soliciting the authorities to take measures they consider to be needed and participating effectively in the practical implementation of the adopted deci- sions. How to Motivate an Elected Person, an Authority to Stimulate the Public Participation and Actively Communicate with Citizens? All electoral competitors should understand that a citizen neglected today, will sanction the locally or nationally elected person by his/her vote tomorrow. Thus, in order to be correct and efficient, the elected persons shall involve citizens in the decision-making process, by their public consultation and participation. The elected persons shall be motivated to discuss with citizens and be aware about the fact that communication with citizens means obtaining the following advantages: 1. Important information may be received directly from the source. When an authority or an institution wants to get to know about the state of affairs in a specific area under its responsibility, in order to make some changes, it is obvious that the persons related to this area are the best ones to provide such information. 2. People would be much more involved to support decisions and pro- grams in the fulfillment of which they participated. On the one hand, they understand the corresponding decisions and programs and, on the other hand, they are emotionally involved and want them to be a success. 3. Citizen’s participation may ensure a more active involvement of citi- zens in the community. For instance, if you consult the citizens when deci- ding on conducting repair works in the school, they will be more motivated to contribute to this action on voluntary basis or with different items. 4. People engage more actively in the community. When people participate in the local administration, they feel more responsible for the way different public services operate and are maintained, and, finally, for the way the community looks like. In this case, they will behave more attentively and treat their locality as “their own”. 5. Consulting the citizens may ensure public support even for less popular decisions. Consulting citizens regarding the solution of a problem means that people understand the advantages and disadvantages of different so- lutions and accept the final solution, all together with its disadvantages. It may be the case of higher taxes or increased costs for specific services, etc. 6. Finally, the participation of citizens may increase the electoral sup- port. A deputy, mayor or councilor who proved that he/she is interested in citizens’ opinion regarding different problems and that he/she takes into account the things they believe, will always be appreciated and, corres- pondingly, citizens will vote that person.
  33. 33. 33 Analyzing community needs Brainstorming Analyzing the electoral message Expertise of the suggested solutions The geographical area of the Vote Mock Election Exercise Annex 4. What is a Public Meeting and How to Organize It? Public meetings are the most flexible and functional forms to share infor- mation between the locally or nationally elected persons and the citizens. If an opinion poll implies specific costs and sometimes you will need to hire experts, a public meeting may be organized at lower costs and by anybody of those elec- ted at the local level. A public meeting may be held with a relatively limited number of partici- pants (an official person and several citizens) or with a large number of parti- cipants (more official representatives and several dozens or even hundreds of ci- tizens). On the occasion of a public meeting, the official representatives have the possibility to: • launch a process of consulting citizens regarding a decision-making or sol- ving a problem. • inform or educate the public about a problem. • get to know people’s opinion about the problems they face and collect citizens’ ideas as to solving some problems or adopting specific decisi- ons; • debate with citizens on advantages and disadvantages of specific issues. The main advantage offered by the organization of a public meeting is, as it was mentioned before, that the elected persons have the possibility to directly communicate with citizens, clarify misunderstandings, convince citi- zens and encourage a proactive attitude from their part. It is very important that these official persons understand that they shall not in- volve in a public meeting if they are not prepared to use the results. If the citizens think that nothing was done of what they have been promised, the future meetings shall be seriously affected and their level of trust towards them shall diminish even more. Organize the public meeting To succeed within a public meeting, several very important aspects should be taken into consideration: 1. Preparation of the meeting • The place of the meeting should be easily accessible, and, preferably, neu- tral. • The room capacity should correspond to the envisaged number of partici- pants. It would be better if, finally, there are not enough places (chairs), than too many and not occupied. It should be possible to bring chairs from other rooms, in case there are not enough chairs in the meeting room. • The necessary equipment and materials (sound device, microphones, paper, etc.) to develop the meeting should also be available for the organi- zers. 2. Preparations related to Human Resources • There shall be a moderator of the meeting. It would be good if it is a neutral person respected by the community members. He/she should be authorita- rian and flexible, capable to keep the discussions on the subject and make the participants observe the time limits. Most often, even if the subject is
  34. 34. 34 Public debates, Soroca The Vote Mock Election Exercise, Soroca The web-site of the Vote Mock Election project The trainers’ team involved in the project Announcing the electoral platform www.hilfswerk-austria.md/euvotez/ a specific one, citizens will want to discuss about all kind of problems. The moderator shall possess the capacity to keep the discussions on the subject, without frustrating the audience. • Before the beginning of the meeting, the moderator should be explained the purpose of the corresponding action and what are the points towards which he/she shall direct the discussions. • Beside the moderator, there shall also be other persons from the part of the organizers in the room. One or more representatives shall meet the participants, show them their places and ensure order in the room. Also, there shall be a person to keep account of participants, eventually note their names. This shall help in the future to organize other meetings. 3. Planning the meeting Within a planning meeting developed on the eve, it should be set how to organi- ze the meeting and delegate responsibilities among the members of the team: • Study and discuss all legal organizational aspects (which are the groups or persons to be notified about the meeting or what procedure they shall follow). • The organizers shall announce the meeting in advance, and invite all tho- se interested to participate. They shall also ensure that the groups having a special interest connected the debated problem had been notified about the meeting. Usually, such event shall be notified by announcements posted on the mayoralty informative board, schools and close to visible and populated places. The announcement shall be precise and accessible to the large public. • Beside the compulsory data (concerning the place and date of the meeting), it shall include the list of subjects to discuss, indicate who can participate, what is the role of the public, purpose of the meeting and expected outco- me. • Set logistics and needed materials. • Set the agenda: Who will do the presentations? How long will it last? How much time shall be allocated for questions and comments of the public? How long shall the meeting last? • Set basic rules: how to conduct the meeting, how much time shall be alloca- ted to everybody to speak, etc. These rules shall be flexible enough, to satisfy all the needs of the participants, but at the same time, also strict enough, to stick to the agenda and maintain a civilized atmosphere. Nobody may do- minate the discussion, neither the representatives of the authorities, nor the citizens. These rules shall ensure expressing opinions in a fair way. 4. Development of the meeting • The meeting shall be opened by the most important official person. This conveys a double signal: the problem is important and officials listen to people’s opinion. The opening speech shall indicate the purpose of the me- eting and how the obtained information will be used. Further on, the mo- derator shall take up the torch. • The moderator shall announce the basic rules of the meeting: how long each person may speak, and if every speaker shall introduce himself/herself, etc. • During the meeting, the moderator shall stick the discussions to the sub-
  35. 35. 35 Presenting the ECO logo, Basarabeasca Idea storm... The EuFac logo, Cirpesti, Cantemir district The Cenac logo, Cimislia district The Success logo, Manoilesti, Ungheni district ject and not allow to exceed the time limits, and, if this is the case, inter- rupt the speakers, but without being impolite. • When closing the meeting, the moderator shall resume the most impor- tant aspects of the discussion and eventual conclusions they came to. 5. Record of information • When entering the room, each participant shall be asked to write in a list his/her name, for contacts. • In addition, proposals that were made and the adopted decisions should be registered. • It is also important to note the issues that were not clarified. Group Meetings During a citizen consultation process, the need to hold discussions with specific categories of persons, in a more structured and professional way can be raised. In this case, meetings may be held with limited groups or “group interviews”. These shall be interactive, facilitated meetings with small groups of people. The moderator shall conduct the discussion through a series of questions about a specific subject. Only those invited may participate in these meetings, 7-15 persons, belonging to a specific professional category or group of interest (e.g., tea- chers, agriculture specialists, retired persons, etc.). This kind of meetings may be utilized to: • Determine the priorities in a specific sector or test the priorities proposed by the officials; • Determine the attitudes that could have an impact on the success or failure of a specific project; • Get to know the opinions of a certain category of people regarding a specific problem. Note: To develop some of the components of this material, information was ta- ken from the textbook “Citizenship Participation to Improve the Decision-Making Process within Local Public Administration”, developed by the Research Triangle Institute.
  36. 36. 36 The Liga Renasterii logo (Renaissance League), Edinet The breadboard model of the ECO park, Basarabeasca The room is waiting for the voters, Edinet The Cultural House, Ungheni, February 22, 2009 Electoral lottery, Basarabeasca Annex 5. Symbols and Image Elements within an Electoral Campaign The image of an electoral product comprises a set of symbols that, separately and all together, create in the mentality of the electorate, specific positive associ- ations. According to one of the typologies, there exist the following types of sym- bols: – symbols-ideas; – symbols-actions (rituals); – symbols-objects; – symbols-sounds; – symbols-persons. Symbols-ideas - are represented by programs, messages, statements, slogans, mottos, leaders’ remarks and neologisms. Actually, an idea or a word is transfor- med into a symbol if mythologized as form and content. For instance, the words- ideas „feminism” and „feminist” became a symbol because they promoted the myth of a „strong woman”, of an „emancipated woman”, of a „dominant wo- man”. Symbols-actions (rituals) – are represented by meetings, manifestations, con- gresses, parades, presentations, sports activities with the participation of political stakeholders and other mass actions. The symbols-actions serve to mobilize and strengthen the electorate. The electoral actions that have effects create a favorable psychological environment for massive enthusiasm and mobilization of people. Within these political rituals, people may show strong emotional reactions – joy, fear, hate, sadness – that make them prone to be influenced by the electoral com- petitor. The rituals create the impression of the „achievement” of some electoral promises, they „give life” to statements and slogans. At the same time, the rituali- zed political actions allow the identification of the members with the leader or the team, allow preserving hierarchy within the group, the party or the state. Symbols-objects – these are represented by heraldic, flags, initials, buildings, streets, monuments, etc. Their role is to identify with the events or electoral com- petitors. An efficient symbol-object has always been the imperial crown. The sword has been the symbol of power. The Statue of Freedom has become the symbol of American democracy, etc. Symbols-sounds are represented by the hymn, fanfare, jingle, patriotic songs, etc. Every people has its own songs that have become symbols of specific events and periods. The same as the state, the parties tend to develop their own hymns, by which to mobilize their adherents. Symbols-persons are represented by big leaders who impressed the masses. Each state has a leader-symbol, its founder or hero of the nation. The Founding Fathers of the United States, Washington and Jefferson, are the symbol-persons of the American nation (and Lincoln would join them later); Bismarck is the German symbol-leader; the Russians have Peter the Great, Lenin and Stalin; the Turkish
  37. 37. 37 A contra argument, Trinca, Edinet district Presenting the project, Tartaul, Cantemir district Dissemination workshop, Razesti, Ialoveni district Preparing the poster, Cenac, Cimislia district Oleg Ivancioglo, local trainer have Ataturk; and the Moldovans – Stephen the Great. Often, the parties try to raise the leaders at the level of a symbol, to obtain bigger and long-term influence on the electorate. The main image elements within an electoral campaign are the slogan and the initials The Slogan Gabriel Thoveron, one of the famous researchers in the field of political com- munication, highly appreciated the importance of statements-slogans within poli- tical campaigns. In his work “Political Communication Today”, the author emp- hasizes that the „slogan, representing the concise form of a platform, an electoral program, if repeated and especially, utilized with a certain dexterity, can do more than a doctrine”. It is known that the number of people who read a slogan is much bigger than those who read the electoral message. Hence, we mention the importance, some- times decisive, which a slogan may have within the political communication. The specialists in political communication assimilate the slogan to a refrain of the electoral campaign. It must be original, easy to remember, musical and rhyth- mic and, especially, say something to remember. The slogan shall be uncommon, in order to be perceived, to make the public pleased to repeat and memorize it. The Initials/Logo The initials are one of the basic elements of the political image. Often, well- chosen and drafted initials can essentially contribute to the increase of the number of voters. There are several requirements as to how initials shall look like: 1. the initials shall consist of as few elements as possible (no more than 2-3); 2. it must be drawn easily and rapidly; 3. the initials shall represent an object, an idea, a symbol accessible to the public (should the public ask: What is this?, that means that the initials are not good); 4. the initials shall represent a thing/object/symbol known to the public, that can be seen every day/frequently, thus creating permanent associations with the electoral contestant; 5. the initials shall represent an object/symbol with positive connotation, and it should not be possible to interpret the initials negatively or laugh at; 6. the initials shall be coherent with the idea, the message of the party/candi- date; 7. the initials shall be easily visible in miniature, in the ballot (where, actual- ly, the initials play a decisive role); 8. the image of the initials shall be preserved in the black and white version; 9. the initials shall have a design and colors that catch ones attention; 10. the initials shall be original, distinct from the initials of other contestants. Once developed, the initials shall go in pair with any electoral message, any material for the mass-media, any presentation and manifestation of the electoral competitor. The initials that are not promoted do not exist.

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