Policy Project DRIVER Somalia

Somalia has been plagued with decades of political and economic instability, leading to low levels of human development and weak governance. A major source of Somalia’s fragility has been its unstable experiment with democracy. Freedom House scores Somalia with a 1 out of 40 for political rights and a 6 out of 60 for civil liberties, resulting in a total freedom score of 7/100 and a classification of “Not Free”. With the 2021 election scheduled for December, there is a window of opportunity for electoral reform and hopefully a peaceful transfer of power. To engage as much of the country in this democratic process as possible, the Democratic Rights Initiative: Voter Education and Registration (DRIVER) project is proposed here. This project supports Canada’s goal to champion democracy and human rights globally as it seeks to support a free and fair election in Somalia. DRIVER will train NGOs and CSOs to host educational courses on the rights and freedoms associated with the democratic process. The Somali CSOs then assist participants in registering to vote. Ultimately, this project seeks to build an electorate that is well informed and eager to participate in the election.