EISA DRC (2004-2011): Capacity building for Civil Society Organisations

 

2011: Capacity building for national policy process participation and for election observation

Citizen participation and policy-making process strengthened

EISA contributed to capacity building of CSOs in a range of areas including project management, budgeting, proposal and report writing and drafting memos on a range of issues such as the impact of deforestation and the effective use of mineral resources. This was consolidated during 2011 where CSOs were encouraged and supported to usefully utilise the skills acquired through EISA workshops. More particularly, CSOs were able to raise awareness around community and national needs of citizens through research and formulating memos and petitions as well as interacting with relevant authorities on governance issues. This was particularly effective, because in the past projects were implemented at the national, provincial, district and territory levels without prior consultation and involvement of the local population. This was been possible as CSO leaders have moved from confrontation with and defiance of the authorities to a more collaborative and constructive approach.

Citizen election observation support

From 2004, EISA was involved in all the electoral processes in the DRC through various activities and in cooperation with national and international stakeholders. Though EISA had carried out the same activities during the 2011 electoral process, the main achievements have been the support to the national election observers where EISA provided support to four CSO networks, namely:

  • RENOSEC (Réseau National pour l'Observation et la Surveillance des Elections);
  • ROC (Réseau des Organisations des Confessions Religieuses);
  • CAFCO (Cadre de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise); and
  • CNJ (Conseil National de la Jeunesse).

A total of 12,500 observers drawn from the four networks were trained and deployed throughout the country and observed each step of the electoral process including voting day and the counting. While most of the international observation missions left the DRC shortly after the count, citizen observers remained on the ground when riots started and violence erupted in protests against the alleged fraud and irregularities, and provided valuable information and assessment of the elections. Citizen observers also suffered assault and many were injured. Intimidation prevented these networks from publishing their findings on the expected days. Despite this, observers remained on the ground and four full reports were published containing detailed information. The reports concluded that the elections did not comply with the international rules and standards, were marked by violence and fraud and therefore did not reflect the will of the Congolese people. This was a bold step for national observers to take, especially as they had borne the brunt of intimidation and assault. The support provided to these networks by EISA bore fruit as the observation reports and statements were well-formulated and based on evidence gathered on the ground.

2010: Internal organizational development and external policy influencing strategies

Organisational capacity building

EISA's key role in this area was to equip and assist CSOs to better manage their programmes and strengthen their engagement with their support base and local representatives. Regular field visits to the provinces by EISA DRC staff to Bas-Congo, South Kivu, North Kivu, Kasaï Oriental, Kasaï Occidental and Equateur, Province Orientale demonstrated that the CSOs whom EISA had previously trained in project and organizational management were able to better run and manage their programmes. The EISA organisational capacity building programme brought both efficiency gains in improved operations in CSOs and effectiveness gains in CSO project design and impact. In addition, all the CSOs that benefitted from EISA's programmes began to systematically prepare and send financial and narrative reports following the requirements of their donor grants, a practice which was not consistent previously. A further positive outcome of this training was evident in South Kivu where the Platform of Civil Society Organisations held smooth elections at the end of its term and allowed a new team of leaders to take over. In a country where CSO leaders are more often than not appointed, rather than elected, this ws a great achievement.

EISA DRC also provided assistance to CSOs in knowledge management by helping to them to set up websites in order to increase their visibility by sharing and disseminating their work. CSOs in the provinces also used the various social dialogue platforms and citizen participation structures established by EISA to engage on a more structured and permanent basis with political parties, local authorities and other CSOs and local citizens groups. As a result of this participatory and constructive engagement, provincial governments and legislatures appeared to have become more accountable and began a process of consultation and feedback to CSOs regarding some of the CSOs' lobbying and advocacy initiatives on issues of public policy.

Developing strategies for influencing national policy

EISA worked closely with CSOs in developing strategies for the formulation of policies and input on governance and policy issues such as poverty reduction, natural resources, the inclusion of marginalized communities in the polity of society, as well as basic needs for an improved life such as health and shelter. The issues around which the policy briefs were compiled were informed through consultations with local communities and reflect community concerns and needs. An example of this are the policy briefs in Kasai Occidental where the provincial government has started working on a local law to regulate the land policy in the province.

2009: Governance and communication training

Training on internal governance and communication took place nationwide. More so in 2009 than before there was noticeable progress in civil society organisations in utilising the skills and contents of the workshops that was visible in their internal structural reorganisation, policy propositions and their memoranda. CSOs have played a strong role in promoting governance over the past year in a country that is trying to rebuilding itself and setting markers for its development. A noticeable outcome of the workshops was in the relationship between civil society organisations and the authorities, which has moved away from one of conflict to one of co-operation and partnership, with both groups seeking common solutions.