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Funky Citizens is an NGO with an ambitious goal: to fight back the civic apathy of the Romanian society. Its activities are mostly focused on the area of good governance and include various platforms which use civic tech: public spending(www.banipublici.ro), open justice (www.onoratainstanta.ro), anticorruption (www.piatadespaga.ro and www.maricorupti.ro), the first Romanian fact-checking platform (www.factual.ro ) As Romania faces Presidential elections in November 2019, Funky Citizens decided to develop its own platform & campaign to recruit election observers. OBJECTIVE: As this was our first own campaign of this type, our objective was to recruit at least 250 observers (considering the fact that at the previous elections, a consortium of four NGOs registered 980 observers, client data), during 07.10-05.11.2019 period.
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Strategy: AUDIENCE: We addressed the new type of “social activist”: active on social media, educated and informed about the main social and political topics, but less involved in tangible actions as volunteering or taking part in a protest (especially during cold weather season or weekends with their associated temptations). STARTING POINT: RE-ADDRESS THE TOPIC OF ELECTORAL EXCHANGE The pervert effect of knowledge is the fact that one tends to overlook the basic level of reality. The recent history showed us that Romanian elections are consistently influenced by the phenomenon of “electoral exchange” (troc electoral). Therefore, items as buckets, bottles of oil, packs of flour and so on tend to become a kind of currency for a specific vote. In other words, the electoral exchange became a tactic of political campaigns that addressed a segment of population affected by poverty. As this is a frequent phenomenon, our educated & high social status audience tends to mock it, but they overlook the profound consequences of the election exchange. We decided to leverage this topic in order to convince our audience to take action. STRATEGIC APPROACH: We opposed two types of social behaviors: The first one is about accepting the goods that are offered as electoral exchange. It’s a large-scale phenomenon and it’s difficult to stop its manifestations and consequences, as well. On the other hand, the second behavior, participating as an independent observer in the elections is a form of high civic involvement, a desirable behavior that helps our society become healthier and more self-conscious about its current status quo. CONCEPT: VOTNUTROC We decided to generate interest around our recruitment campaign based on this mindset: we cannot stop the electoral exchange phenomenon, but what we could do is to increase the civic participation in order to stop some negative implications as the illegalities from the voting day ( basically the job description of an observer) Our campaign was based on three pillars: an online recruitment platform with all necessary information about the role of an observer, a video-manifesto about the necessity of this campaign and an offline gallery that offered an artistic reinterpretation of objects and goods used throughout recent history as electoral exchange. This gallery had a two-layered role: one was related to a physical place in which people can enroll as observers, the second one helped us generate more awareness around our initiative.
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