Reboot Somalia

VOA Reboot Somalia

VOA Poll Shows Somalis Want Vote on Constitution

According to a recent Voice of America press release, “a Voice of America telephone survey in Somalia shows a majority of those polled want a national referendum on the draft constitution that will soon be considered by a select group of community elders.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Low-cost innovation: VOA used pre-existing, open-source software to create and carry out the poll.
  • Mobile-friendly: 3,000 Somalis agreed to voice their opinions via mobile technology (SMS)
  • Closing gender and age gaps: Both men and women, young and old, are in favor of direct voting privileges versus a traditional elder voting system
  • Actionable data: Using the survey’s data, policymakers have plans to submit the document to be considered by a Constituent Assembly and eventually by Somalia’s new permanent Parliament.
  • Cultural evolution: Most Somalis said they wanted Sharia law and a strong central government, but that they would like to have freedom of expression–including freedom of the press and media.
  • Country-wide participation: The survey included people from all around the country–and also the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
  • Interactivity: VOA’s Somali Service published parts of the proposed constitution on its website.  Every Sunday evening, VOA invites listeners to call in and debate the issues on live radio.


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April Deibert

April Deibert

April Deibert is the Multimedia Blogger/Producer for the Office of Digital & Design Innovation. Follow her on Twitter: @BBGinnovate and @AprilDeibert.

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