Increasing political participation through targeted lobbying on many levels

FEDOMA - Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi
Country of Implementation
Subsaharan Africa
Start Year
First published

Measures focus on engaging with election stakeholders, but also include lobbying political contestants, holding public debates, and promoting media coverage. Successes include the involvement of people with disabilities by the Electoral Commission and the introduction of tactile ballot papers.

A Blind man from northern region of Malawi in a mock election.
A blind person from the northern region of Malawi practicing in a mock election.

Solution details


“The FEDOMA meetings have increased my confidence in public speaking and improved my management of resources.” —Brighton Baluwa, Mayor of Luchenza.

Problems Targeted

Malawian voters with disabilities often find themselves excluded from participating in political matters due to a lack of accessible political information and inaccessible voting materials.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

FEDOMA targets stakeholders involved in electoral processes, such as the Malawi Law Commission, the Malawi Electoral Commission, and the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs; and it meets, consults, and encourages these organizations to make voter participation more accessible by lifting legal and administrative barriers. FEDOMA also identifies and encourages potential candidates with disabilities to stand for council and parliamentary elections, carries out media campaigns to raise awareness, and monitors electoral processes. The project is run at both the national and community level, but it specifically targets the four districts of Lilongwe, Machinga, Balaka, and Mulanje. FEDOMA’s consulting and awareness campaigns have contributed to implementation of new measures in voting practices, such as the use of tactile ballots and the provision of sign language interpreters for electoral information on national television. In addition, the Electoral Commission now regularly involves persons with disabilities in the development of its voting strategies and has enlisted FEDOMA to carry out civic education on elections for persons with disabilities.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

Between 2014 and 2016, FEDOMA’s campaigns were funded with $140,000 from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and $50,000 from the Finish Government. From 2016 to 2017, USAID contributed $40,000, and the Norwegian Association of the Disabled provided an additional $10,000 each year. As of 2018, FEDOMA continues to work with the Malawi Government and is advising the Electoral Commission on the 2019 election. It is also assisting in drafting a bill that would ensure several seats for persons with disabilities as members of Parliament. Replication of the practice is readily possible through the transferring of existing knowledge, the documenting and sharing of methods used, and face-to-face meetings



A Blind man from northern region of Malawi in a mock election. A blind person from the northern region of Malawi practicing in a mock election.



Related information

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