By Charity Nhari
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children. Hosea 4:6
Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. Atifete Jahjaga
In this article I used two headline quotes to drive home an important point of the seeking information and developing knowledge on important things like political participation. I will help you identify methods of seeking helpful information that can make you a fairly knowledgeable person in a short space of time. The biblical quote makes mention of the dangers and consequences of not seeking knowledge. The second quote explains how democracy should work and your role as a citizen to participate in the debates so that solutions are found. The first stage of participating actively in the debate is to show your seriousness by getting your name on the voters’ register.
First, you have to understand the sources you will need to look for to get information you need. I suggest you start with getting a copy of the constitution and your approach to reading it should be long term- just like the way you do with your religious books. Reading the constitution without the pressure of completing it will make you gather steady knowledge on how your country is supposed to be governed. I also suggest that as you read the constitution, be on the lookout for news or other things in the public sphere that confirm or go against what you are reading. This is what I call applied learning.
Second, I suggest that you locate yourself in the broad environment to be able to make sense of your participation. For example, you live in a particular household which is located in an area which faces specific challenges such as water, sewer, schools etc. This area is called a ward and the person who can advocate for improvements in your area is called a councillor. If the natter has to be taken to a larger and more influential audience, it needs your Member of Parliament. Related to this, the big policies such as job creation, currency change, education and health improvements are some things a President needs to give guidance on. Knowing this will make you see the value of participating to improve your own life and of others in your community as well.
Finally, remember to find out what do people or offices who affect your life do. When you now know what they do, your nest step is to identify how you can influence what they do to make what you want to happen. My suggested starting point is the constitution, radio and TV news, the internet and trusted& knowledgeable people in your circle. Once you know you can use that power to help you get what you want. You can only effectively use your knowledge power if you are prepared. Register to vote.