EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2016 to implement programme work in line with EISA's vision. By supporting ECOWAS EISA seeks to contribute to improving its election observation in an effort to promote credible democratic elections in the region, as mandated by the Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism For Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, as well as relevant international and regional election benchmarks for the conduct and monitoring of elections.
EISA's support to ECOWAS has focused on capacity building for the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), long-term observation (LTO) and for Election Management Bodies (EMBs), as well as for core team experts (CTE).
EPP contributed to the final report of ECONEC's post-election follow-up and needs assessment mission to The Gambia. This mission was led by the president of the Independent Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone and comprised members drawn from the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division and GIZ.
In addition, EPP commenced, in early February, with the preparation of the curriculum of the ECOWAS LTO training which will take place in April in Sierra Leone.
EPP supported the ECONEC peer learning mission to the Republic of Benin for the 11 April presidential elections. The support consisted of providing technical advice and tools to assess the management and conduct of the presidential election and to draw lessons in terms of best practices that could be shared with other electoral commissions in the sub-region. The support also outlined the points for the mission members who were invited to provide support and advice to their Beninese peers, such as the relationship with the media and key stakeholders. EPP also facilitated setting up meetings with the ECONEC's technical staff and writing the final mission report.
EPP provided technical support to ECONEC's missions to monitor the implementation of recommendations made by the ECOWAS EOM's and other International Election Observation Missions (IEOM) to Liberia from the 6-13 June 2021 and The Gambia from the 5-12 July 2021. On this occasion, EPP drew on EISA's experience in monitoring election recommendations and supported ECONEC in conducting interactions and interviews with various electoral stakeholders. It should be noted that these missions were combined with a Needs Assessment by ECONEC for its future actions in these countries. In both countries, the EPP staff also looked at determining opportunities for action by EISA.
6-13 Jun 2021
EISA provided technical assistance to the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC). The objective of the mission was to assess the level of implementation of the recommendations made by the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission during the Legislative and Presidential elections that were held in October 2017 and to assess the needs of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and other key electoral stakeholders in the run-up to the 2023 General elections in Liberia. The mission met with various stakeholders including the NEC, political parties, and civil society organizations.
Issues discussed included the adoption of Biometric Voter Registration system (BVR) to replace the current Optical Mark Recognition system (OMR); enacting constitutional reforms with a view to preventing electoral disputes; taking steps towards more inclusive elections, notably affirmative measures such as quotas for disadvantaged groups; capacity reinforcements for the NEC staff; early release of funds by Government; continuous civic and voter education; recruitment and training of polling staff and party representatives, and enhancing relationships with electoral stakeholders such as media, political parties and CSOs.
EPP supported an ECONEC peer learning mission to the Republic of Niger during the 27 December elections. This mission provided chairpersons of ECONEC member Commissions an opportunity to (i) witness and assess the conduct of elections by their peers (ii) learn and draw lessons from elections managed by their peers (iii) advise, assist, and support their peers conducting elections (iv) identify best practices (v) learn from each other and share experiences and (vi) make recommendations for the improvement of election management and legal framework for elections in ECOWAS member States.
EISA facilitated the setting up of meetings with stakeholders and the writing of a final report for the mission.
3-5 Dec 2019
EISA conducted a pilot training workshop for ECOWAS CTE in Dakar on 3-5 December 2019. The workshop gathered participants drawn from national Civil Society Organizations and Election Management Bodies of the sub-region.
The workshop comprised 3 modules, namely:
The EPP Head of Department attended the ECOWAS LTO methodology review workshop in Senegal Dakar on 16-20 September 2019. ECOWAS acknowledged support received from EISA and have expressed interest in having EISA develop a training curriculum for in-country briefing of LTOs as part of standardising its training of observers. EISA was also requested to review and update the ECOWAS LTO handbook.
As part of its support for ECOWAS's cycle-based election assessment methodology, EISA provided technical support for the implementation of a pilot post-election follow-up mission deployed by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions to the Republic of Guinea from 7-13 June 2018. The deployment of the pilot mission constitutes the final aspect of the implementation of the election assessment methodology. EISA was instrumental in the development and adoption of this broader methodology for election assessment in 2015.
An EISA expert was deployed to support the ECOWAS pilot mission in Guinea, where the mission sought to track the implementation of the EOM's recommendations and identify possible areas of support to enable Guinea to implement the recommendations. This methodology provides a platform for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of ECOWAS engagement in its member states throughout the electoral cycle to ensure early responses to challenges identified in the process.
EISA contributed to the refinement of ECOWAS's cycle-based election assessment methodology by presenting the concept at the biannual meeting of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) held in Cotonou, Benin, on 29 March 2018.
The methodology was adopted and piloted in Sierra Leone, where ECONEC deployed its first needs assessment mission from 10 to 14 July 2017, supported by an EISA expert who provided technical support.
The NAM identified areas of short-term intervention to support the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission ahead of the elections and undertook advocacy visits to government institutions involved in the electoral process. The deployment of the NAM was welcomed by the Sierra Leonean authorities and the ECOWAS Commission as a timely contribution to early warning about technical electoral issues in the region.
As part of the 2017 programme review process, the EPP Head of Department, Senior Programme Office and the Monitoring and Evaluation Senior Programme Officer, with members of the Electoral Assistance Division of ECOWAS to review EISA's technical support provided in 2017 and to agree on activities which ECOWAS would require assistance with in 2018. EISA received overall positive feedback from ECOWAS. Through a futuristic planning approach and in view of the interventions requiring EISA support, this activity will enable EISA to further contribute to strengthening the capacity of ECOWAS to assess and support electoral processes in the region.
13-15 August 2017
In a joint effort by the ECOWAS Commission and EISA, a workshop on ECOWAS Long-Term Election Observation Guidelines was conducted. 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.
18-19 Sep 2017
EISA provided technical support to the ECOWAS EOM deployed in Liberia through the deployment of a team of two experts who facilitated a two-day in-county briefing and orientation of 14 ECOWAS LTOs from 18 to 19 September 2017 in Monrovia. The EISA team also developed context-specific checklists for use by LTOs and STOs, which aided in the collection and analysis of observation data during the elections.
26 Apr & 20 May 2016
EISA held two consultative meetings with the Electoral Assistance Division of ECOWAS on 26 April and 20 May 2016. These meetings accorded EISA an opportunity to have a formal discussion with ECOWAS about priority areas of support required and the challenges encountered by the Division in its work. EISA's support is mainly required in the area of long-term observation strengthening and in capacity building for Election Management Bodies in the region.
Prior to the meetings, EISA submitted a draft MoU at the request of the Division which it sent on to and has been approved by its legal department and is awaiting the Chairperson's signature. The MoU is an important milestone in EISA's future interventions in the West African region.
17-19 Nov 2015
The ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division requested EISA to facilitate a briefing programme for ECOWAS LTOs deployed to the transition elections in Burkina Faso from 17 to 19 November 2015 in Ouagadougou. This briefing was the first of its kind for ECOWAS and through it EISA contributed to professionalising ECOWAS' election assessment by preparing its LTOs for field work.
22-24 Jul 2015
While EISA did not have a formal agreement with ECOWAS, the importance of the its work had been recognised by ECOWAS in the course of its interaction with the REC in the field. EISA was invited to participate in the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) annual meeting, and the concurrent ECOWAS long-term Observer (LTO) methodology review workshop, held from 22 to 24 July 2015 in Cape Verde. EISA contributed to crafting the LTO methodology and also had an opportunity to introduce ECOWAS to its support programme for RECs and the AU.