Support for political party poll watching and to civil society electoral initiatives


Support to GIP department with party gender audits in Zambia and Madagascar

Sep 2019

The EPP team supported the GIPP team in the roll out of the party gender audit activities. The initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of political parties to improve gender parity within their structures and procedures.

Olufunto Akinduro, EPP Head co-facilitated the political party consultations on the party gender audit in Zambia with Grant Masterson from 3 to 6 September 2019. The EISA team met with all parties represented in parliament except the ruling parties. Parties met welcomed the gender audit methodology and committed to participating in future activities.

Cecile Bassomo, EPP Programme Manager, and Soa Razafimanjato, Acting Country Representative of EISA Madagascar, conducted a gender audit workshop for parliamentary political parties in Dakar, Senegal, on 24 and 25 September 2019 attended by 10 political parties represented in parliament. The workshop provided a platform to parliamentary political parties to interrogate their overall approach to gender inclusivity and the way power dynamics impact the role of women within political parties. The workshop was also peer learning opportunity for political parties on the challenges faced by female politicians.

Research on Party and Campaign Finance Conducted

As part of its South African Elections Programme, EPP co-ordinated research on party and campaign finance in South Africa. This entailed the recruitment of field researchers in the following provinces: Gauteng (two researchers), Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces, where they attended a total of 59 campaign events. Researchers were provided with smart tablets with preloaded checklists that enabled them to capture data for analysis by the research team. Researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with the following categories of stakeholders: political parties, academics, independent analysts and civil society groups. On election day, researchers visited 53 polling stations across the provinces to directly observe the trends of election day expenses by political parties. The research report is being finalised for publication.


Political parties in Senegal consulted

5-9 Nov 2018

EPP supported the GIPP department in piloting EISA's political party gender audit initiative in Senegal. Consultative meetings with political formations represented in the Senegalese National Assembly, were held from 5 to 9 November 2018. Through these meetings, EISA formally introduced its project on political party gender audit. All political parties consulted expressed interest in working with EISA. The gender audit initiative seeks to contribute towards strengthening the institutional capacity of political parties to mainstream gender in an effective manner in order to enhance equitable gender participation in political formations. The project received positive feedback from the leadership of each of the parliamentary political formations consulted.

Support to GIP department with party gender audit in Lesotho

Nov 2018

EPP supported the GIPP department with the implementation of its political party gender audit project in Botswana and Lesotho. In Botswana, Noxolo Gwala, EPP Programme Assistant supported the seminar on gender auditing that was held on 6 and 7 November 2019.In Lesotho, Cecile Bassomo, EPP Programme Manager, supported the seminar on gender auditing scheduled on 27 and 28 November 2018. The seminar was unfortunately postponed because the event coincided with the national consultations on the development of the reform agenda.

Support to Citizen Observers in Mozambique

Within the framework of its memorandum of understanding with the citizen observation group (Platforma) in Mozambique, EISA provided assistance to citizen observers deployed to the mayoral by-election in Nampula. A team from the EISA Head office joined the EISA Mozambique team to provide technical support for the training of 54 observer supervisors who also conducted a comprehensive parallel vote tabulation. The citizen observers was supported in using the popola system for the PVT. The by-election served as a test of the system ahead of the municipal elections to be held in October 2018 when EISA also intends to support the use of the system for PVT. The exercise generated a number of lessons for the improvement and diversification of the popola system.


Support programme for civil society and political parties in Mali

19-24 Nov 2017

As Mali prepared for the 2018 general elections, EISA deployed a NAM from 19 to 24 November 2017. It identified strategic areas for EISA's intervention within and beyond the framework of the Supporting Transitions and Electoral Processes (STEP) programme. EISA was invited by the Delegation of the European Union in Mali to submit a proposal on supporting civil society in citizen election observation and election violence monitoring. Based on findings of the NAM, EISA developed a programme to support civil society and political parties in Mali in response to the call for proposal. Pending the outcome of the proposal, the NAM can contribute to the quality of citizens' participation in democratic processes.

EISA women and youth training workshop in Senegal

women and youth training workshop in Senegal

November 2017

Subsequent to its consultative meetings with political actors in Senegal EISA conducted three training workshops for women and youth leaders from coalitions of political formations represented at the National Assembly. A total of 177 women and youth cadres from 13 political parties that are members of the 6 largest coalitions of political parties in Parliament were trained on leadership and internal political party democracy from 10th to 17th November in Dakar, Senegal. Through this initiative, EISA sought to contribute to conversations about internal democracy strengthening within political parties and improved qualitative participation of women and youth within political parties in Senegal. This EISA-led initiative is the second political party training event in Senegal following the workshop which EISA, in collaboration with Partners West Africa Senegal, conducted in the area of poll watching ahead of Senegal's 2017 legislative elections, for the technical personnel in charge of electoral affairs within political parties that contested the elections.

EISA civil society engagement in SenegalEISA civil society engagement in SenegalEISA civil society engagement in Senegal

Within the context of its broader support to political parties, EISA held consultations with the ruling and opposition political parties as well as with youth and women leaders in Senegal ahead of a set of training workshops which the institution plans to conduct for women and youth leaders from political formation represented at the National Assembly. Through this initiative, EISA aims to contribute to internal democracy strengthening within political parties in Senegal. This EISA-led initiative is the second of its kind in Senegal following the training workshop which EISA, in collaboration with Partners West Africa Senegal, conducted in the area of poll watching ahead of Senegal's 2017 legislative elections, for the technical personnel in charge of electoral affairs within political parties that contested the elections.


Training trainers of candidate poll watchers

Training trainers of candidate poll watchers

September 2015

Under the framework of its partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of Côte d'Ivoire, EISA facilitated a national training of trainer of poll watchers of the 10 candidates who are standing in the presidential election on 25 October 2015 in Côte d'Ivoire.

Held in Abidjan on 25 and 26 September 2015, this training event brought together 30 trainers from different political background. Every presidential candidate was represented by three delegates at the workshop.Training trainers of candidate poll watchers

The national training is part of a cascade training programme of IEC-Côte d'Ivoire implemented in support to the 2015 presidential candidates. EISA is providing full technical and financial support to the two-level of the cascade training. The national training will be followed by a regional training of trainers of poll watchers scheduled for 3 October 2015.


Rwandan Civil Society Organizations Supported

As part of the final phase of its civil society support programme in Rwanda, EISA facilitated the official launch of the Rwanda Electoral Support Network (RESN), composed of Ligue des Droits de la Personne des Grands Lacs, Action pour le Développement du Peuple (ADEPE) and Association des jeunes pour la promotion des Droits de l'Homme (AJPRODHO). This event marked the first step towards the official registration of the network. The establishment of RESN stemmed from the need for a harmonised CSO approach to engaging the electoral context through research, advocacy and election observation in Rwanda. With EISA's support, RESN convened a post-election review meeting as its first official activity in May 2014. The post-election review meeting was held in Kigali and was attended by representatives of civil society groups and the Rwanda Governance Board. Participants at the review meeting highlighted the need for civil society to engage in electoral reforms ahead of the 2017 presidential elections.

Roundtable on election observation in Egypt

EISA co-facilitated a roundtable event on election observation in Egypt on 23 June 2014. The event was co-facilitated by EISA, the Embassy of Mexico and the Embassy of Switzerland, Egypt.The Roundtable provided a platform for interaction between representatives of electoral authorities and CSOs to address the need for a more coordination approach towards citizen observation and accreditation procedures for citizen observers in the Egyptian context. it was also a lesson-learning event at which international experts shared experiences from other countries. The roundtable received inputs from the following international experts: Justice Johann Kriegler, former Chairperson of the South African Electoral Commission; Dr. Lucien Toulou, EISA's Programmes Director; Ms Bushra Abu-Shahout, Director of Policies at the Independent Election Commission of Jordan, she is also a former member of the National Commission for Human Rights; and Sheik Abdul Carimo Sau, Chairperson of the Mozambican Electoral Commission.

Voter educators trained and deployed during elections in South Africa

EISA implemented a training and support programme for voter educators ahead of the May 2014 national and provincial elections. The training programme was targeted at women and first time voters in Gauteng Province. 36 lead trainers were trained and supported to conduct step down workshops at the community levels. A total of 335 community workshops were convened by the lead trainers.

2013: Rwandan Civil Society Organizations Supported

Subsequently to the agenda of the EU funded project, EISA provided technical support to three groups of national and regional civil society organizations (CSOs) in Rwanda. The project sought to contribute towards the integrity of the September parliamentary elections in Rwanda. This was achieved through the conduct of professional citizen elections, whereby EISA supported a group of 205 citizen observers drawn from selected organizations. Technical support was provided through the implementation of an EISA technical team in the joint citizen observer group.

EISA's support covered a wide range of mechanism, from the training of election observers; recruitment and accreditation of observers; report drafters and deployment of observers. EISA is an established and experienced organization, therefore making it possible to provide technical advice to the joint mission secretariat and support to the development of a harmonized Election Day observation and a joint deployment plan. EISA also took part in assisting Rwanda with press conference arrangements, demonstrating the organizations professionalism and commitment in making sure the election run as intended in Rwanda. Despite experiencing difficulties in the working context in Rwanda, EISA was able to achieve a way forward by taking a step towards the building of a local capacity to conduct professional and efficient citizen election observation.

2012: Election Observers capacity enhanced

EISA organized a series of training of election observers in a number of African states that were inclusive of Chad, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, 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 trainings 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.

2011: Citizen observer training in Seychelles

Citizen observer training in Seychelles

EISA received a request from the Electoral Commissioner's office for training of citizen observers in Seychelles. It is important to note that citizen observation is a new concept in the Republic of Seychelles. This training was therefore the first in its history. EPP trained approximately fifty citizen observers drawn from the Citizen Democracy Watch in Victoria, Seychelles in September 2011. This was the first pool of domestic observers in Seychelles history that were equipped with knowledge and skills to observe the September 29 to October 1 2011 parliamentary elections. Through this training, citizen observers in Seychelles were exposed to international best practices. The deployment of citizen observers in these elections contributed to the perceived credibility of the Electoral Commission and it increased the integrity of the electoral process.


EMBs workshop on Elections and Technology

EISA in partnership with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), held a three day workshop on elections and technology. The workshop was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 25 to 27 November 2010. The purpose of the workshop was to set a framework for policy makers and electoral officials on the use of technology in elections. This was achieved through presentations of case studies from countries that have used the different types of election-related technology. The case studies also explored different management approaches in the introduction of new technologies.

By including the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) expertise on elections and technology, the workshop was a mix of both theory and practice. An exhibition was mounted by developers and representatives of different technology providers on the sidelines of the workshop. The exhibition provided an opportunity for participants to conduct a number of tests with the technologies that were applicable to various election operations.

Partnership with ZESN

EISA, in partnership with Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), provided support to Zimbabwean civil society organizations (CSOs) on the constitutional review process. Five workshops were conducted around the country with the theme of "Enhancing the Participation Capacities of CSOs in the making of the Constitution process in Zimbabwe". The main objective of the workshop was to provide a platform for discussions on various thematic issues to enable CSOs to confidently make informed contributions on the review process.


Workshop for CSOs

Between May and November 2009, EPP held three 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 Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, 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.

Under the ADS, EISA held a training workshop on election observation for representatives of CSOs from Africa. Participants were drawn from Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, 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 believes that electoral processes on the continent stand a better chance of credibility and improvement if they are closely monitored 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. Over the period under review, EPP held two workshops for civil society organisations in the SADC region. The first was a conference on the resolution of post-election conflicts, held in Dar es Salaam in July 2008, and attended by CSOs from SADC, Kenya and Nigeria. The second 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.


Network for Enhanced Electoral and Democratic Support (NEEDS) Project

EISA, in collaboration with International IDEA, will be providing training to selected domestic observer groups from countries which are beneficiaries of European Union (EU) assistance.

The overall objective is to ensure that electoral observation has a real impact on the democratic development agenda pursued by the EU in beneficiary countries and more significantly, the establishment of synergies between electoral observation and electoral assistance in the development of strategies for EU external cooperation programmes and the enhancement of the quality and capacity of domestic election observation in view of a systematic assessment of elections against international and regional standards for genuine democratic elections.

More specifically, the initiative aims to:

  • Consolidate methodology in line with international and regional standards of democratic elections;
  • improve observers capabilities through development of common approach in the recruitment and training of observers; and
  • contribute to democratic process in third countries through support to domestic observers and CSO through regional partners and the development and promotion of strategies for implementation of recommendations including capacity building.

Activities include:

  • Identification of eight domestic observers CSO and work with partners to strengthen their (EO) capacity on election observation methodologies, use of international standards for elections in election observation and the ability to produce credible observation report and recommendations;
  • regional networking all over Africa to facilitate regular exchange of experiences and promote South South cooperation;
  • organise five training courses of five days of length of which outline and methodology will be provided by the observers and regional network coordinator of the project; and
  • participate in training in other regions and provide recommendations for follow up in Africa.

The project will be executed in three phases from 2009-2011.

  • The first phase will be implanted from October 2008 to September 2009 and will take the form of a training workshop from 4-8 May 2009. Eight CSOs from eight Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe will be selected to take part. A five day training course will be held at EISA.
  • The second phase will be from October-September 2010. Eight CSOs from eight francophone countries in Africa will be selected for another five day training workshop.
  • The third phase will be implanted in 2011.


Political parties are another important category of electoral stakeholders. Over the period under review, EPP undertook activities aimed at assisting political parties to enhance their ability to monitor the electoral process. The overall goal is to ensure that political parties effectively monitor the electoral process and hence contribute to its integrity in the democratic process. In this regard, a regional workshop on poll watching was convened. Representatives from the ruling and main opposition political parties from Southern African countries, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Zambia, attended the workshop.

The workshop provided an environment in which political parties shared their experiences in poll watching and highlighted ways in which they can further their engagement in the electoral process beyond their traditional role as contestants. The workshop highlighted the role that political parties can play in enhancing democracy generally and in promoting election integrity specifically through the election monitoring work that is undertaken by their agents at election time.

In Botswana, EISA provided technical and financial support to the Botswana Electoral Support Network (BESNET) which is made up of members of the SADC-ESN. EISA supported BESNET in developing a training and deployment strategy for monitoring the Botswana Parliamentary and Local Government Elections held on 30 October 2004. In addition EISA also provided materials for use in the training of observers. BESNET deployed 300 observers during the elections.

In Namibia EISA worked with the Namibian NGO Forum (NANGOF) to provide technical and financial support for the training and deployment of election observers for the Namibia National Assembly elections recently held on 15-16 November 2004. Over 200 observers were trained and deployed for the elections.


EPP has contributed to enhancing the capacity of civil society organisations in the region to plan and conduct election-related activities such as civic and voter education and election observation. Each of the networks that EPP has worked with was able to develop good quality training manuals for civic and voter education and/or for election observation. They were also able to plan, assemble and deploy professionally sound domestic election observation missions. These organisations have become bolder in their approach to election monitoring and their increasingly effective participation in election reform debates. All those domestic civil society organisations which directly benefited from rinciples 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.


EISA has been able to provide technical and financial support to domestic groups in Malawi, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique to ensure their participation in monitoring 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 domestic groups 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.

2003: Conflict Management, Democracy and Electoral Education

During 2003 EISA's Conflict Management, Democracy and Electoral Education (CMDEE) worked with civil society organisations in Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique. Two representatives from each country attended a "Designing Democracy, Voter Education and Human Rights" capacity building programme at EISA in Johannesburg in January 2003. During 2003 participants were provided with the opportunity to pilot the programmes they dveloped with input and support from EISA.

In anticipation of 10 SADC elections scheduled in 2004/5, CMDEE collaborated with civil society organisations in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana to strategise and identify relevant areas of itervention by civil society. Planning woorkshops were convened and discussions held with CSO networks in these countries from which emerged interest in about citizen participation eduction, women's political empowerment and citizen observation initiatives.

CMEE also collaborated with the University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights in the Centre's "Election Observation Training" programme conducted f19-30 May 2003 which drew participants from across Africa.

Towards the end of 2003 these type of activities were transfered from CMEE to EPP.

Prior to the 2003 Mozambique elections, CMEE prepared a programme for party agent training and provided trainers to train party agents throughout the country. The train-the-trainer component took place in Maputo. A local partner was identified who assisted EISA in project delivery. Towards the end of 2003 these type of activities were transferred from CMEE to EPP.