This 6-page summary report documents the findings from action research conducted by Search for Common Ground (SFCG), supported by the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Emergency Post Crisis Rehabilitation Project III (PUR III), in 2007. The research was designed to gather information on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Ivorians regarding democratic and electoral processes, civic education, good governance, and conflict management and prevention. According to the report, the findings were intended to inform the next steps in the design and implementation of SFCG's and its partners' sensitisation and dialogue initiatives in Côte d'Ivoire.
The research was conducted in 9 localities, selected from SFCG's project areas. SFCG used focus group discussions and key informant interviews as its primary tools for the research. Each discussion was guided by a questionnaire, which was tested and revised during the training session. In each location, the research team selected research participants representing different backgrounds. In addition, opinion leaders (generally older people) were interviewed so that their reflections could help in validating the findings from the discussion groups.
Through the research, SFCG and its partners were able to identify key points that will guide and inform the implementation of the two projects. Key findings included:
- Radio is most the common and most used method of communication in Côte d'Ivoire.
- Land conflicts are the most prevalent type of conflict, but number and intensity vary.
- Knowledge of democratic processes is low; knowledge of citizens' rights is higher.
- Discussion group participants were generally in favour of increased civic education and training in schools and increased dissemination of official information.
- Education and training should be conducted in local languages and through activities enjoyed by the intended population.
- SFCG should develop a full civic education programme strategy with local partners.
Based on these findings, SFCG made a series of recommendations for consideration in developing its civic education and democracy programming. These included: developing programming in local languages; designing programmes for youth and women by reaching out to find out what topics interest them; promoting social cohesion in conflict areas; and using radio and local radio stations. It also involved: reinforcement of the capacities of partner organisations; development of a full civic education strategy that may include reinforcing civic education in schools; and promotion of freedom of speech through facilitated dialogue.
Search for Common Ground website on December 12 2008.