16 Mar 2021
On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the President of the Senate of Madagascar, Razafimahefa Herimanana, and his technical advisors, Fida-Cyrille Hantasoa and Rabenjamina Laura, welcomed the EISA team, led by its Country Representative, Jessica Ranohefy at the Senate offices in Anosy.
He expressed gratitude for EISA's support, particularly in promoting gender equality in Senate's work in the view of the very low number of women senators. EISA's took the opportunity to press the need for more concrete actions to advance women's equal participation and representation in the public sphere. The visit was an opportunity to share the vision and mission of EISA Madagascar while emphasising EISA's willingness to continue support to the Upper House.
Having already worked with EISA since 2011, the President affirmed his interest and his openness to continue the collaboration between the two institutions. Both entities aim at the same objective, which is to "strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency" of the Senate as it contributes to consolidating the democratic process in Madagascar.
The meeting was followed by a press conference during which the President of the Senate congratulated EISA for its expertise, its continuous and valuable support to the country since 2011 as well as its commitment to peaceful and inclusive electoral processes, not only in Madagascar but throughout the continent.
EISA supported the National Assembly in publishing the fourteenth issue of the National Assembly review (Akon'ny Antenimierampirenena) to engage citizens' interest and attention on the assembly's work. This is a continued effort that started at the beginning of 2020 to inform citizens and encourage them to hold their representatives accountable.
Over the year, 1500 copies have been published with the support of EISA and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). Further reflections are ongoing to keep the publication of the magazine sustainable when donor support ends at an assessment workshop to be held on 11 December 2020.
To increase citizen's access to information regarding MPs and the institution, EISA continued to support the National Assembly in publishing its quarterly magazine. The magazine also covers topics around gender equality. The issue will be published by month end.
25 Nov 2020
The EISA country representative met with the Speaker of the National Assembly and her team on 25 November to assess achievements of the parliamentary support and areas of improvement for better effectiveness. During the meeting, the Speaker acknowledged the benefit of EISA's support in improving parliamentary work and asked for specific assistance for young male and female MPs.
6-8 Oct 2020
EISA held a workshop for parliamentary staff in charge of supporting the budget committee on 6, 7, and 8 of October 2020. The workshop was conducted ahead of the budget sitting to equip the support staff with the necessary tools to assist MPs in examining and voting on the Budget bill. Fifteen (eight men and seven women) attended the workshop in Antsirabe. A short guideline on how to read a finance bill was developed following the workshop.
Voting on the budget bill is part of the function assigned by the Constitution to MPs. However, the lack of skills and knowledge among MPs, as well as the late submission of the bill did not allow them sufficient time to review it suggest amendments. This intervention assisted staff to overcome this challenge by enhancing their ability to draft briefs for immediate use for MPs to give them an overview of most important aspects of the bill. The face-to-face workshop observed all relevant Covid-19 protocols.
Part of EISA's strategy to support the National Assembly and MPs develop a stronger rapport with their constituencies and citizens is the publishing of the parliament magazine called Akon'ny Antenimierampirenena (Echoes of the National Assembly). From the success of the previous issue, EISA and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) partnered to publish the 12th issue. Due to limited access to information during confinement, the magazine provided updated information on the work of the National Assembly and allowed parliament share with the public, their efforts in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
A four-day working session was held at the National Assembly on institutional magazine publication on 25-29 November 2019. As per the request of the institution to release a new edition of their periodical called Akon'ny Antenimierampirenena (Echoes of the National Assembly), EISA organized a training workshop for the writing committee on the technical aspect of the writing of the magazine's content. This bulletin aims to communicate on the parliamentary work and achievements but also to inform citizen and other stakeholders on issues that are debated in the house.
Drafts of the magazine' articles and the structure of the periodical were produced during the working sessions. This the eleventh edition gave space to the issue of women and youth participation in the public sphere and the challenges they meet in elected positions. EISA conducted interviews with MPs and drafted specific articles sensitising readers to these topics with the aim to strengthen actions to achieve gender equality and improve youth involvement.
EISA conducted staff trainings for the National Assembly and Senate as follows:
One of the lessons learned during the first phase of EISA's support to parliament is the necessity to conduct a needs assessment of parliament to inform the support they require. This approach strengthens their ownership of and commitment to activities to be undertaken, and, in the long-term to a greater impact.
The assessment will be conducted over three months and includes the Senate and National Assembly, speakers, heads of party benches, secretary generals and newly elected MPs. The first phase of the assessment was completed in September, the second phase is currently underway and will be completed at the end of the current parliamentary sitting.
The parliamentary assistants of the newly elected MPs of the National Assembly benefited from an orientation training jointly organized by EISA and FES in Antananarivo from October 29 to 31. A total of 80 assistants out of the 99 invited attended the orientation. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of parliamentary assistants to be able to fully support their MPs in their Parliamentary work. Training session ranged from law making, use of media in supporting MPs work, cross reference of information, gender sensitive law drafting, and parliamentary assistants' role and duties.
A workshop on public policy evaluation and fiscal decentralisation was organized for the technical staff of the Senate on the 24-26 of September in Toamasina. Twenty staff from three departments from the Senate benefited from the training.
Tools for practical public policy evaluation and coordination between executive and legislative branches were the main topics discussed during the workshop.
From 17 to 19 of September, the technical staff of the National Assembly benefited from a training on public policy evaluation in Fianarantsoa. This training was requested by the Secretary General of the National Assembly following the creation of the committee on public policy evaluation.
The twenty trained staff will later provide technical support to the MPs member of the new committee in their evaluations work.
EISA was invited to participate in the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Senate on the 22nd of July. EISA also took part in the exhibition of the history of the Senate through the parliamentary programme implemented in 2016.
During the first special parliamentary session of the new legislative term of the National Assembly, EISA took part of the Integration Week event organized by Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) from July 22 to 26. EISA held an information booth exhibiting past parliamentary supports activities.
A pre-assessment survey was conducted during that week to gather initial information about new MPs need and interests.
With the new legislative term of the National Assembly, EISA conducted a parliamentary needs assessment survey. The assessment will help identify the needs of the Malagasy Parliament regarding potential technical supports related to MPs' work. The assessment was conducted for 5 months and is composed of two main aspects: qualitative and quantitative studies. The results of the assessment will inform EISA's strategy and activity programs on parliamentary support.
Another information advert on legislative processes was produced. Like the first one (see "Short video and radio drama on parliamentary processes dissemination", 2018, below), this video serves as a teaching tool for MPs, but also for voters in knowing exactly how laws are made in Madagascar.
A review meeting was conducted with the National Assembly and the Senate on December 5 and 6 in Ampefy attended by five MPs and 12 staff members from both houses. The meeting reviewed the parliamentary support provided by EISA and gathered recommendations for continued support. During the meetings, MPs and staff underlined the strategic role EISA has played in strengthening parliament's mission and images, particularly in supporting women MPs. The social dialogue and "open house" events were also acknowledged as having played a great role in bridging the gap between MPs and their constituencies.
A radio drama was broadcast for the week of September 25th on Don Bosco Radio and thereafter broadcast throughout the other 25 local stations of Don Bosco across the country.
An information advert on parliamentary roles and functions posted on Facebook and YouTube reaching almost 14.000 views across Madagascar and 299 shares in only a few weeks. The comments from viewers showed their lack of understanding of MPs roles and functions, the negative image citizens have of their elected representatives and the need to bridge the communication gap between MPs and their constituencies.
The radio shows, Youtube, etc was an effective and creative platform to inform the public.
Responding to a request by both Houses of Parliament, EISA, jointly with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and UNDP, supported, a third Parliament Open day in the province of Mahajanga (Boeny Region) on September 25th and 26th. The event was attended by 1086 visitors. Exhibitions, debates, economic and social forums were held during the two days. Simultaneously conferences open to the public on issues in the Boeny region took place.
Fourteen MPs and 13 senators, including all the MPs elected from the Boeny region, participated in this event. During the Open House EISA held a competition on democracy where CSOs competed in a giant quiz, that was broadcast on local TV. The event contributed to reconnecting the local population with their representatives, particularly as the country is moving to its next parliamentary election.
Twenty senate staff members from the protocol department benefited from a capacity building training on protocol procedures from 18 to 20 July. This training was requested by the head of the department to improve the image of the institution as well as to strengthen the skills of the staff in assisting MPs and other officials in their jobs.
A parliamentary seminar on the ratification of international treaties and agreements was held on June 29th 2018 in Antananarivo. Organized upon the request of the Senate, this seminar responded to MPs ' needs and concerns about the procedures for ratifying international treaties and protocols and their implications for domestic legal order. Indeed, while many international treaties and agreements are regularly subject to MPs' ratification, the stakes and implications of such an act remain little known to the elected officials thereby affecting their efficiency at the time of the examination and the vote as well as in the monitoring and control of the obligations arising therefrom: 9 senators attended the seminar.
The National Assembly staff benefited from a capacity building training on institutional communication and public relations on June 18th and 19th attended by 33 staff from the protocol department, held in Antananarivo. This training was requested by the head of the department to improve the image of the institution as well as to strengthen the skills of the staff in assisting MPs in their interactions with citizens. From 18 to 20 July, twenty senate staff members from the protocol department also benefited from the training.
EISA Madagascar met with the Senate President, Rivo Rakotovao, on 11 April 2018 to assess achievements and discuss further support to Senate members in performing their duties (pictured right).
SEHATRA is one of the lower chamber initiative to create a platform in which member of parliaments, mayors, municipal councils and other stakeholders meet to discuss issues around recently passed policy bills.
On February 1st of 2018, four senators and 27 mayors from the municipalities around the capital convened for an information session meeting regarding the topics of rural electrification and natural disaster management.
This initiative, chaired by the speaker of the senate, is part of the senate's role as representatives of the local and regional authorities. The exchange has allowed MPs to elaborate on the new rural electrification policy and clear some misunderstandings regarding the proceedings around natural disaster management.
Parliament's effectiveness depends on staff capable of providing quality assistance to MPs. It is within this framework that EISA organised a training workshop for National Assembly executives on leadership in Antananarivo from 29 to 31 January 2018. The purpose of this initiative to strengthen their leadership skills.
10 staff were convened during the three-day workshop. It allowed participants to reflect on ways to improve their leadership within their respective departments.
Following the success of the Parliament Open House held in June in Antananarivo, a second Open House took place in Tulear, the capital of Atsimo Andrefana region, on the 3rd and 4th of October jointly organised between EISA, the UNDP and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation. During the two days of the Open House, exhibitions on both houses of parliament were displayed at the city hall. At the same time conferences open to the public on the topic of the DINA, (a legal framework put in place by local authorities in the south of Madagascar to protect people against insecurity from the "dahalo" (bandits who steal livestock) and MPs accountability also took place at the city hall where all the MPs and senators from the region were present. This gave citizens a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, raise issue and share concerns with their elected representatives that affect the region. A follow-up social dialogue meeting held in Atsimo Andrefana in July also took place on October 3rd
Since the social dialogue series has been introduced by EISA, the focus is now on identifying issues of concern in communities and constituencies so that common solutions can be found
At the beginning of the parliamentary session in May 2017, EISA held two information sessions for both houses of parliament's Committé Local de Development (CLD) (ie Local Development Committee), a committee composed of mayors and heads of regions and districts, led by MPs that manage development projects for each of their respective constituencies. This information session has contributed to clarifying some misunderstanding around the management of the committee as well as the funds allocated to the committee. Following the session the senate decided to conduct a regional participative evaluation to get feedback on the effectiveness of the committee with a view to later submitting recommendations and improvements to the government.
From May 29th to 30th, a training workshop on parliament's role in evaluating public policies was held in Antananarivo for members of the senate and some of the technical staff of the upper house. The workshop aimed to improve MPs 'role in evaluating public policies as a part of their oversight function. A second workshop on the same topic was held at the National Assembly. The recently voted for government education policy was specifically discussed during the meeting along with the different evaluation tools that MPs will need to evaluate this policy.
Requested by the senate a capacity building training was held from April 5th to 7th in Antananarivo for their staff to strengthen their skills in developing and writing parliamentary documents and resources such as session reports and meeting minutes
EISA's first workshop in 2017 for parliamentary staff was jointly organised with the National Assembly and held on March 20th and 21st . The workshop was an orientation for all the newly recruited staff of the Assembly on the organisation and structures of parliament along with some a look at staff work ethics and moral obligations. The second capacity building training held from March 23rd to 25th March in Antsirabe was for new technical staff working with the parliamentary committees. The focus of the training was to initiate and familiarise new recruits on the legislative preparatory work that will assist them to effectively perform their job.
A parliament open house day was held on June 9th in Antananarivo, EISA took part in the exhibition by showcasing its parliamentary strengthening program since 2014.
The intention of the event was to bring parliament closer to citizens and to promote MPs accountability. The two day activity included an exhibition on the history, role and responsibilities of Malagasy Parliament, a conference focussing on MPs accountability facilitated by EISA, and parliamentary debates with youth and students from Toliary University. A total of 3360 visitors attended the Open House session.
EISA Madagascar met with the Chairperson of the Senate, representatives of women MPs and Senate senior staff on 24 August. This technical meeting aimed to assess the partnership between the two organisations so far and to plan further activities to enhance performance of the institution in performing its mandate. During this meeting, the Chairperson of the Senate mandated EISA to support MPs in drafting resolutions on gender equality that will be presented by them during the next session of the Inter Parliamentary Union taking place in October 2016 in Geneva.
The Interior and Decentralization Committee of the National Assembly benefited from a capacity building workshop organized by EISA in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), on June 3 2016.
The workshop consisted in a knowledge update on the decentralization system in Madagascar, its stakes and challenges. The topics of gender and decentralization, as well as the roles and functions of the Committee were also addressed.
Decentralization is an important issue in Madagascar, as many barriers have made its implementation unsuccessful. Moreover, decentralization is an entry point to development and a vector of local democracy.
EISA Madagascar, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the French Embassy, is holding an induction workshop for newly elected and appointed senators from May 25th to May 17th. During the three-day workshop, presentations on the roles and functions of senators decentralization, as well as on gender issues includig women's political participation, gender mainstreaming in the legislative process and the role of the senate in the creation of a gender sensitive parliament - will be provided by different experts. The workshop will also give attendees an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.
This workshop addresses a need for capacity-building for the senate expressed by the President of the institution, and will help senators fulfil their mandate effectively. The opening ceremony will be chaired by the President of the Senate, Mr Honoré Rakotomanana.
A capacity-building workshop for senators' assistants will also be held from May 30th until June 1st 2016. The new Senate was in place in February 2016 and its inception represents an important step in the process of democratic reconstruction in Madagascar.
On 6 October 2014 EISA Madagascar's new Projects Manager, Onja Ramiliarijaona, met with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, to present him with the new cooperation program between EISA Madagascar and the Malagasy Parliament. During the meeting, the Speaker reiterated his commitment to collaborating with EISA to strengthen the capacity of Parliament to make it more effective and to make its functioning, structures, methods and work more democratic.
The cooperation program includes the integration of equality of men and women in the legislative process in Madagascar. It should be noted that this initiative falls in line with the initiatives already undertaken by EISA Madagascar together with Parliament over the past two years [see articles below], namely the strengthening of the capacities of women MPs, technical and financial support for the establishment of a caucus of women MPs (SOMAMI) and the production of a report on gender mainstreaming in the legislative process in Madagascar.