MOGADISHU - In the pursuit of its programme's objectives in Somalia, EISA gathered 37 officials from all the departments of the MoIFAR for a workshop on September 26 in Mogadishu for a review of the Electoral Law Working Group's activities and the Way Forward.
Mr Abdullahi Mohamud Hassan, Permanent Secretary, MoIFAR, opened the Session by thanking EISA for its support to the Ministry and wished a fruitful discussion to all the participants
The Electoral Law Working Group (ELWG) which is tasked to oversee the drafting of the Electoral Law updated the participants on the recent activities of the group before engaging in discussions about the look ahead. Participants interacted and agreed on propelling an inclusive and participatory Electoral Law drafting process and deliver the final result in due time. EISA trained the participants on the Electoral Cycle, the role of the Electoral Law in post-conflict state building policy and the importance of the strategic planning in the Electoral Law drafting process. The workshop provided a simulation of the interpretation of the Electoral Law on voting-day to sustain principles discussed in different sessions.
The workshop was also a response to the request from the MoIFAR for EISA to extend the training given to the ELWG on September 13 to the other departments of the Ministry so that the officials are at the same level of understanding of this key mandate of the MoIFAR. The officials participating in the workshop described the training as invaluable in content and in methodology.
Somalia is preparing for the universal suffrage elections planned to take place in 2020 and EISA has been providing support to the MoIFAR and other stakeholders since 2014. The Electoral law drafting process is still at an early stage
During a preparatory workshop held on Sep. 13, 2017 in Mogadishu, Somalia EISA trained the Electoral Law Working Group (ELWG) of the Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation (MoIFAR). The agenda included the Electoral Cycle and electoral stakeholders, the instruments and benchmarks for the conduct of credible elections, and the role and importance of an electoral law.
As Somalia is gearing up for the universal suffrage for the 2020 elections, the MoIFAR has appointed a working group tasked with overseeing drafting of the Electoral Law. MoIFAR in general and ELWG, in particular, have embarked on a series of training workshops to build capacity and enable staff members of MoIFAR to gain an understanding of the electoral law, electoral systems, and election process. In support to MoIFAR, EISA organised the preparatory workshop for the ELWG core team member to lay a foundation for ensuing activities.
Participants engaged in an interactive discussion on the content. Following the debate, the Gender Unit of the MoIFAR raised the importance of assuring that the electoral law strives to enhance the participation of women across the electoral cycle and not only on Election Day. EISA was thanked for its support and another workshop will be convened for a review of the activities of the ELWG and for EISA to extend the training to more staff members of the Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation.
EISA implemented a nationwide forum for Civil Society Organisations in 5 cities across Somalia to debate on the potential outcome for elections on 2016. CSOs from Garowe, Adaado, Badioa, Mogadishu and Kismayo participated in the forum. The forum organised by EISA was another of many platforms enabling for the on-going National Consultative Forum contributing to the massive political interest in Somalia.
EISA facilitated a capacity building seminar on Strategic planning, proposal writing and Monitoring and Evaluation workshop to Civil Society groups in Gedo Region of Somalia. The training enabled CSOs to understand the concept of proposal writing and why a funding proposal is important.
EISA concluded a 3 day training workshop for CSO group members in both Jowhar, Middle Shabelle and Kismayo, Jubbaland. The workshop enabled CSOs to build their capacity on elections and democracy. EISA sent trainers of Trainees with developed modules on elections and democracy that would empower participants to empower the wider community in turn.
EISA Somalia facilitated a two day 'Let's Talk Elections' meeting between the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) and civil society on 12 and 13 September 2015. Since the selection of the NIEC Commissioners in July, this was the first interaction between the NIEC and civil society in Somalia.
EISA implemented a electoral observation training for civil society members in newly accessible areas on 25 October 2014. The training was to give an insight into how to observe an election. It will enable for the ministry to now take full use of the learned skills to implement back into communities.
In view of the fact that political parties in Somalia were not yet registered, EISA worked with political associations based on EISA's Setting benchmarks for enhanced political party performance for democratic governance in Africa, to facilitate a workshop for 16 political associations.
Motivated by the need to build up the Somali CSOs internal organizational capacity, EISA Somalia designed, developed and trained over 300 CSOs in six regions of Somalia. Following this, EISA commenced a civic education workshop in the same six regions.
From the 11-13 April 2015, EISA Somalia conducted a workshop for the independent Technical Selection Committee (TSC) of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) and the Boundaries and Federalism Commission (BFC). The TSC was tasked with providing a shortlist of 27 candidates for each Commission and present it to parliament for the final vetting and ratification of the 9 members of each Commission. The technical workshop focused on:
EISA Somalia was supported by the Marx Planck Institute in the roll-out of their program activities.
Motivated by the need to strengthen the internal organisational capacity of Somali CSOs, EISA-Somalia designed and developed training material, and trained over 300 CSOs in six regions of Somalia, including Mogadishu, Galkayo, Baidoa, Galgadug and Hiraan. The training focused on
The objective of these trainings was to ensure that CSOs are better organised, and can within their organisations contribute to the transition process through a more structured approach. Through these workshops, CSOs were able to find ways to begin to interact and engage in the current stabilisation process. Through EISA's support, diverse CSOs have been brought together to engage on the different challenges facing Somalis. One participant representing the Institute of Education for Disabled People thanked EISA for its "inclusive work in Somalia where disabled people are neglected and discriminated against". The participant said, "this is the first time disabled people and organisations have enjoyed equal opportunity with non-disabled people."
Based on the success of the internal capacity trainings described above, political associations in Mogadishu identified the need to create a platform where they can engage their common understanding of how they should contribute to the development of a Political Parties' Law.
EISA facilitated the signing of a cooperation agreement which outlined how these associations can better work with one another, the government and with EISA. To this end a Political Associations Forum was established. Four sessions were held in which political associations met and discussed their views on the proposed Political Parties' Law. The data gathered during these Forum meetings were sent to the Parliamentary Committee on Political Parties to further engage with the political associations. Meetings were held with the Parliamentary Committee drafting the Political Parties' Law and the political associations that attended the EISA Political Associations Forum. The fledgling parties reported that their engagement on these issues was strengthened by having attended the EISA training and forum meetings which in turn placed them in a stronger position to engage more confidently in the process.
With political parties in Somalia not yet registered, EISA started working with political associations. Although political associations in Somalia are still in a nascent phase, they experience the same challenges as those in more stable democracies in terms of their organisational structures. Based on EISA`s "Setting Benchmarks for Political Party Performance for Democratic Governance in Africa" programme, EISA-Somalia facilitated a workshop for 16 political associations already established and more recently established, focusing on modules that defined what a political party stands for, policy-making processes, leadership and interaction with constituencies. This was the first such training session conducted in Somalia in recent years and it elicited a great deal of interest and interaction.
EISA Somalia held a consultative meeting with Somali Civil Society Organisations at the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu on the 18th and 19th of January 2014. The purpose of the consultative meeting was to formally introduce EISA as an organisation in Somalia and present its activities. EISA representatives were warmly welcomed by Somali Civil Society Organisations who expressed eagerness for future cooperation through this collaboration.
EISA, along with international partners from UNSOM, Conflict Dynamics International and Interpeace, held a workshop on the different electoral systems in post-conflict countries. The workshop was held in Djibouti and attended by representatives from the Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs and the Parliamentary Committee on Elections. The workshop was aimed at sensitising the two institutions to the different electoral systems, and to encourage them to carefully consider the best option for Somalia.