EISA believes that electoral processes on the continent stand a better chance of credibility and improvement if they are closely observed by the people of the countries in which they take place. To achieve this, EISA has placed emphasis on supporting civil society organisations in their efforts to conduct domestic election observation.
EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, organized a series of training of election observers in a number of African states that were inclusive of Kenya, Mozambique, Chad, Madagascar, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The training was aimed at preparing a pool of observers who may be called upon to participate in future observer missions (EOMs) during elections.
The workshops were attended by representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and political parties. Over 300 observers in total were trained in the workshops that took place in these countries. The aim of involving all of the mentioned individual groups is to further improve the structure of elections, and to enhance election education in African countries and its citizens.
May & Nov 2009
Between May and November 2009, EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, held two workshops for CSOs. The first two workshops were conducted by EISA, as a member of a joint partnership between International IDEA and other partners of the Network for Enhanced Electoral and Democratic Support (NEEDS) III project. The project is aimed at training domestic observer groups from selected countries which are beneficiaries of the European Union (EU) electoral assistance.
The training focused on consolidating election observation methodology in line with international and regional standards and to improve domestic observers' capabilities through the development of a common approach in the recruitment and training of observers. The first training took place in May 2009 in Randburg, South Africa, and was conducted for representatives of CSOs involved in citizen observation in their respective countries from Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Burundi, Ghana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Liberia, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The second training was held in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2009 and was conducted for 23 representatives of CSOs from Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Republic), Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, held a training workshop on election observation for representatives of CSOs from Africa. Participants were drawn from Sudan, Mozambique, Burundi, Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Liberia, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The objective of the workshop was to ensure that African CSOs gradually develop a common approach in election observation as well as to ensure that electoral observation in Africa has a real impact on the democratic development agenda.
The workshop took place in August 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. By the end of the training, participants indicated that they had gained a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the value of EISA's election observation methodology.
EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, held a workshop focused on the improvement of communication systems and regional standards for elections and was held in Lilongwe, Malawi in November 2008, and was attended by representatives from SADC, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. As a result of this workshop, domestic observers in Swaziland were recognised as important stakeholders in the process and accredited to observe the 2008 elections. It is encouraging to note that domestic election observation in the SADC region has moved from simply being part of the lexicon to making a real impact.
EISA has been able to provide technical and financial support to civil society actors in to ensure their participation in observing elections in their respective countries. The rationale is to ensure the existence of strong civil society whilst promoting the use of PEMMO as the election assessment tool by domestic groups. EISA believes that locally-based organisations are best placed to ensure the entrenchment of the election principles espoused by PEMMO.
Under this project, EISA helped many civil society actors design training material, took part in training observers and assisted them with the logistical and substantive arrangements of the actual observation exercise, as well as reporting on their observations. Aside from the contribution to designing material and training trainers for the South African elections, as a member of the national South African Civil Society Observation Coalition, EISA provided office space and jointly co-ordinated Gauteng observers with the South African Council of Churches.