EISA has been successful in assisting ECCAS to build electoral capacity in Central Africa by contributing to enhancing the pre-election and election missions conducted by the Electoral Support Unit in accordance with its mandate to support electoral processes, training observers and deploying its election observation missions to member states.
This can be seen in that ECCAS has recently started referring to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers adopted in New York on 25 October 2005, in its observer briefings and preliminary statements, demonstrating that ECCAS has adopted this declaration and all that remains is the formalisation by Member States.
EISA facilitated a capacity building workshop attended by 22 participants from all EECAS states, of which 11 were women, for ECCAS' electoral observers from 17 to 19 July 2019 held in Douala, Cameroon. The attendees will be included in the ECCAS election observer database so that they can be called upon to join an ECCAS observation mission. The ECCAS' election observation manual developed in 2018 was used during the workshop and all participants received a pack for their respective NGOs. The manual was positively received with participants agreeing that it will improve their approach to election observation.
Seven hundred copies of the ECCAS Election Observation Handbook completed earlier in the year, were printed in French and translated into Portuguese and Spanish. The Handbook has officially been presented to the General Secretariat and disseminated, for the first time, to observers who were deployed during the ECCAS election observation mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo on December 30, 2018. The Handbook has been well received and widely used by the observers to this election.
An ECCAS Election Observation Handbook was finalised, translated from French into Portuguese and Spanish, laid out and printed. This is a milestone in EISA's support to ECCAS, as it is the first time that such a manual has been developed and will be available for use by ECCAS observation missions. The manual covers both long and short-term observation.
13 August 2017
More than 20 regional experts in political affairs, gender, the media, civil society and development issues, underwent intensive training in Accra, Ghana on Sunday 13 August 2017, to deepen their knowledge on ECOWAS Long-Term Election Observation guidelines and methodology.
A joint effort by the ECOWAS Commission and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), the objective of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of ECOWAS Long-term electoral observers and staff of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) to serve as Core Team members during poll observation missions.
The training covered, International and Regional benchmarks of election observation, Concepts and Principles in Election Observation, Structure of ECOWAS Election Observation Missions, Roles and Responsibilities of Long-term Observers' Terms of Reference and Code of Conduct. Other aspects are LTO reporting Templates and Report writing, Guidelines for LTO field work and Preparations for Short-term Election Observation Missions' arrival.
As part of its support for capacity building of the ECCAS Electoral Unit, training workshops and other capacity building activities, EISA funded and facilitated a regional training on election observation, the first ever to be held under the auspices of the ECCAS. The workshop was held at the Marina Hotel, Brazzaville, Congo from 27th - 30th April 2015. These trained observers currently form the core of the ECCAS database of electoral observers from member states. Thirty-six participants from nine countries were trained to support the electoral process in ECCAS member states in accordance with the Declaration of Brazzaville of the 7th of June 2005.
Four participants per country attended the training workshop. Only Angola was not represented at the training. Participants were selected on the basis of their professional experience, experience in election observation, and organisational affiliation. Gender parity was one of the main criteria for the selection of participants.
The aim of the training workshop was threefold. Firstly, the training sought to expose observers from ECCAS member states to structured, impartial and credible observation of the electoral process based on the electoral cycle approach. Secondly, this activity was designed to enhance the capacity of observers for conducting a technical assessment of an election during an observation mission. Lastly, this training aimed at preparing ECCAS respond effectively to the challenges of undertaking elections observation in a professional, independent and non-partisan manner in its member states. Dr Lucien Toulou, the EISA Programmes Director also attended the workshop and provided input.
For the last 10 years, ECCAS was observing elections without training their observers and most of the time did not release statements or findings at the conclusion of their missions. Furthermore they did not maintain an observer database and had no criteria for the composition of their EOMs. The training, the first ever for the Electoral Unit, enabled ECCAS to strengthen their ability to observe with an appropriate methodology, to increase their knowledge about different reports and the composition of EOMs and finally to start the compilation of a database of well trained observers.