EISA's support to the political parties' programme has evolved from research centred outcomes focused on trainings and publications to capacity building initiatives. These capacity building initiatives are based on grassroot engagements that EISA has held with political parties since 2006. Currently GIPPS has advanced its support and is actively working with political parties to enhance gender equity in political parties through party led Gender audits and Action plans. In 2018, the gender audits and action plans project was successfully piloted in Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana and Senegal. Gender audits and action plans are aimed at:
Six final gender audits for political parties in Botswana were completed during the period, including copy-editing and layout. The final handover of the party reports will take place in early December 2022 to the 6 participating political parties in Gaborone.
Part of ADS IV, GIPPS research into social cohesion during and after elections examines the sense of belonging that different groups within societies feel during political contests, and how the results of elections enhance and diminish this sense of social cohesion within heterogenous societies.
The first round of focus group and survey research data for the Kenya social cohesion project has been analysed and the follow up, second round of research was being carried out in November 2022 by the contracting research agency. Data from Round 1 (taken just prior to the elections) indicated an interesting deviation between the attitudes of men and women in Kenya. For male participants in the study, there were several equally pressing variables that signalled their sense of belonging within Kenyan society. For women however, the single most important variable that indicated whether or not they felt a sense of belonging was "Access to the economy" or "Jobs".
This finding, although tentative, appears to be linked to ethnicity due to perceptions that jobs and economic access are reserved for certain tribes. For male participants, jobs and access were also important, but other issues that were equally as important to them included safety and security, ethnicity and government intervention in the county economy.
During the period, focus groups guide questions and interviewer prompts, as well as a brief quantitative questionnaire were prepared for deployment in Malawi and Kenya, the two countries targeted for this particular project activity.
EISA completed all 6 draft political party gender/diversity audits for Botswana and shared the drafts with their respective parties during February of 2022. Previously, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) had been presented with drafts of their audit. After following up, EISA determined that for both the focal points with whom EISA initially engaged had left their respective parties and EISA. As a result, both parties were resent the draft presentations along with the four other political parties and all six parties represented in Botswana's national assembly in 2022 have received their draft audits. Two further visits by the EISA team are planned for Botswana, the first visit, to formally present and handover the reports to each party and a subsequent final report discussion between EISA and each political party.
Plans are underway to follow up in Zambia and Malawi with the data collection interviews which proved most effective in Botswana, with all parties represented in the Zambian and Malawian parliaments. These interviews will be conducted in the next reporting period.
May - July 2021
Further meetings were held with regards to the completion of the gender audit report. The meetings brought together the working committee members of each party to work on completing and submitting the gender audit questionnaire. Political party working committees provided the necessary information for EISA to proceed with drafting the respective gender audit reports.
May - Jun 2021
Despite several innovative attempts to engage with political parties in Botswana using digital communications methods, including sponsoring airtime for participants and booking board rooms for group meetings online, the slow pace of information collection in Botswana prompted GIPPS team to shift its focus back to in-person visitations in May and June 2021. On two occasions, the team composition was disrupted by a team-member testing positive for COVID19 during their pre-travel test. On the first occasion, this prompted the trip to be delayed by a week to allow a replacement from the department to conduct the consultations. On the second visit 3 weeks later, the GIPPS intern tested positive at the same stage of preparations. On this occasion, GIPPS proceeded with the meetings, hiring a local consultant who has previously supported the gender audits in Botswana, to assist the GIPPS staff member in finalising the interviews.
The face-to-face interviews achieved much greater results in a much shorter time despite all the efforts to make digital data collection work with political parties in the country. The challenges experienced by staff testing positive for COVID highlight the ongoing challenge balancing the project benefits of face-to-face activities with health and safety, and operational risks.
Botswana serves as a key highlight of the project thus far, as EISA has been able to advance further towards the development of customised gender audit reports. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the GIPPS department has been able to roll out these activities
EISA contracted 1410th Digital Film to produce a short animation video explaining the gender audit project and the various stages of the project. The animation video will be utilised in other countries where EISA implements the gender audit project. The video summarises the gender audit project phases and benefits of participating to political parties and can be utilised for presentation purposes. It is easily sharable on the various social media platforms and EISA hopes that the video will solicit further interests from political parties across Africa to improve women participation in political processes.
12 - 15 Jan 2021
From 12 January - 15 January, GIPPS held online consultative meetings with five political parties, namely the: Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), All Progressives (AP), Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). The consultative meetings provided an opportunity for GIPPS to strategise and solicit party interest in participating in the second phase of the gender audit process which will result in the production of customised gender audit reports for each political party. All political parties consulted, confirmed their participation and GIPPS is following up with political parties to ensure that they receive the necessary support to complete the questionnaire which is available online through survey monkey. The anticipated outputs of these activities will be comprehensive gender audits and action plans for participating parties on how to strengthen the participation and representation of men, women and youth, and the promotion of more equitable demographics amongst public office bearers in the party.
GIPPS's work under this project on social cohesion and democratic elections has produced a concept paper which will be presented to a group of academics and CSO partners on social cohesion or democratic participation in May 2021. The paper, the outcomes of the online presentation meeting and the development of a research tool into the issue will be the outputs of this activity, due for the end of 2021.
GIPPS commissioned a research paper into better categorising types of political parties in Africa (as a response to the ongoing gender audit work it is conducting, mentioned above). This paper has been finalised by a consultant, and will be discussed by a cross-section of political party academics and experts in April 2021. The paper and a better framework for analysing and understanding the types of political parties that exist in Africa in 2021 will be the outputs of this activity.
GIPSS secured the services of a consultant, Mrs Melanie Meirotti, to prepare a background paper on social cohesion in Malawi and Kenya in preparation for field research in 2021 in those countries. GIPPS has commissioned a series of policy briefs exploring different aspects of social media on elections in Africa post-COVID19, and a consultant, Dr Nicole Beardsworth is preparing a paper on types of political parties in Africa to assist the deepening of EISA's gender audit work across the continent. Interviews with political parties in Botswana recommenced online in September 2020 with mixed success and will continue in 2021 when gender audits for Botswana will be finalised. It was not possible to conduct gender audits in Malawi in 2020 due to the disruptions by the re-run elections in May. Gender audits in Zambia will likely need to be deferred, and a new country to replace them identified, possibly Tanzania.
20 Jul & 3 Aug 2020
The GIPPS Senior Programme Manager, Grant Masterson acted as proxy for the EISA Executive Director, in two online panel discussions to develop proposals in response to the Constitutional Court judgement requiring that South Africa's National Assembly allow independent candidates to contest national and provincial elections. This decision has been deferred for 24 months to give Parliament time to amend the necessary legislation. Two meetings have been held (20 July and 3 August), with the stated goal of producing a set of proposals for consideration by the National Assembly on how to adjust South Africa's electoral system to give effect to the judgement and strengthen the existing electoral processes. Further meetings are planned at regular two-week intervals for the next two months. This is a high-level panel with rich and varied experiences in legal, electoral and political processes, including former MPs, lawmakers, judges and former EISA board member Jorgen Elklit and former EISA GIPPS manager, Ebrahim Fakir.
GIPPS, in partnership with the OECD Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), carried out workshops with political parties in Malawi, Zambia, Senegal and Botswana to further the work on political party internal gender audits. This project encourages political parties to extensively review their internal party structures, processes and practices and reflect on areas where these may inhibit or obstruct the practical advancement of women within the political party. The gender audit tool, based on the tool developed by ODIHR for OECD members, was extensively reviewed and adapted for the African context based on feedback from political parties and civil society groups in the three countries. Individual political party gender audits will continue in 2020, and new countries will also roll out aspects of the gender audit process developed through this project
13-17 Jan 2020
The GIPPS team undertook a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia in order to better understand the political environment ahead of the elections and to introduce EISA as the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) partner to political parties. The team primarily met with NDI to discuss the political party landscape, the new legal framework and its implications for the project and the methodology for the participation of political parties in poll watching and legal officer trainings. EISA also attended a USAID subgrant meeting with all other subgrant partners including IFES, IRR and INDI.
The GIPPS team was pleased that three (ECIMA, OLF and All Oromia People's Democratic Congress) of the six major political parties that it met with expressed interest and believe that both the poll watcher and legal officer trainings will add value to their capacity to monitor elections. Two political parties met also raised challenges with regards to the complexity of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) process of registering political parties (especially the smaller parties and coalitions) to the extent that many felt they would not be ready to contest the elections in May. Their sentiments were further exacerbated by change of the legal framework in October 2019 which led to NEBE calling for political parties to re-register for the 2020 elections in November (parties had first registered in May 2019 under the old law).
The GIPPS team found that due to the postponement of the general elections to August and changes to the electoral calendar there is need to relook at the timeline, budget and political party dynamics for rolling out the poll watcher and legal officer trainings which fall under EISA's responsibility under the NDI subgrant.
26 - 28 Jun 2019
Following successful consultative meetings and workshops with political parties in 2018, GIPPs has continued to update the 'Gender audit and action plans' to include other vulnerable groups - specifically youth and people with disabilities. A methodology review meeting was held in Johannesburg from 26 - 28 June 2019 and included country partners, as well as staff from EPP and gender experts. Based on the nature of the work, as well as challenges experienced in Lesotho during the pilot phase, a decision was taken to drop Lesotho from the study at present and include Zambia as a replacement. The decision was based on the ongoing internal instability, constant merging and breaking away within political parties in Lesotho, given the nature of the programme which aims to strengthen institutional structures.
Malawi and Botswana activities have had to be deferred due to national elections in both countries being held during 2019. The gender audit reports which have been drafted for political parties in these countries will be discussed with the respective parties beginning in December 2019 and continuing in 2020.
This programme, in consultation with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, based in Warsaw, Poland, adapted that organisation’s ‘political party gender auditing tool’, action plans and related documents to an African context. The objective of working with political parties in Southern Africa using the auditing tool and action plans is to enhance gender partition in political parties and, ultimately, in government decision making.
The GIPPs team visited the three countries for consultative meetings with political parties in August (Malawi), September (Botswana) and October (Lesotho). The purpose of the meetings was to initiate a conversation and establish a relationship with the parties, explain the purpose and processes of the project and invite party members to a workshop.
Successful workshops were held in Malawi and Botswana. In Lesotho the workshop was postponed due to a coinciding national reform debate in that country. In the countries where the workshop did take place, all parties represented in Parliament attended and completed a draft gender audit and action plan.