8 Jul 2020
EISA Zimbabwe, in collaboration with Electoral Support Network of Southern Africa (ESN-SA, hosted by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)) organised a virtual discussion on election observation on 8 July 2020. The overall objective was to assess the effectiveness of election observation in general and the effectiveness of the observation methodologies specifically.
The discussion was conducted via Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube. The discussion drew on citizen election observation experts, election technical expertise, constitutional, political parties and civic engagement experts from the region.
EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, organized a series of training workshops for election observers in a number of African states that included 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.
In May 2009, EISA's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, held a workshop for African CSOs. The workshop was 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 aimed at training civil society actors 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 on improving civil society observers' capabilities through the development of a common approach in the recruitment and training of observers.
The training workshop 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 Zimbabwe, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Burundi, Ghana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Liberia, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
Jul & Nov 2008
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, 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's Elections and Political Processes, as part of it's support for civil society electoral initiatives, has contributed to enhancing the capacity of civil society organisations in the region to plan and conduct election observation mission. Each of the networks that EPP has worked with was able to develop good quality training manuals for the training of election observers. They were also able to plan, assemble and deploy professionally sound citizen election observation missions.
These organisations have become bolder in their approach to election observation and their increasingly effective participation in election reform debates.
All the civil society organisations which directly benefited from the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO) training have used it in designing their election observation checklists as well as training their observers. This has led to a great deal of incorporation of PEMMO principles into the actual work of domestic observer groups. Indeed, the signs are that most of the election stakeholders in the region are aware of the principles and some have started to incorporate it into manuals, training materials and assessment tools. A wave of electoral reforms will hopefully close the circle by ensuring that the benchmarks set in PEMMO influence new laws positively.