EISA, led by Executive Director Denis Kadima, in partnership with Agir pour des élections transparent et apaisées (AETA), conducted training workshops in Kinshasa from 10 to 17 August 2018. Train-the-trainer workshops were aimed at poll watching capacity-building for political parties and independent candidates. A further workshop on electoral dispute petitions was conducted for attorneys and representatives of parties and candidates. Political parties that nominated candidates and representatives of independent candidates competing at national and provincial were invited.
This crucial training was undertaken within the context of the controversial introduction of electronic and counting voting machines to be used in the presidential, National Assembly and Provincial Assembly elections scheduled for 23 December 2018. The workshops included a presentation by the Electoral Commission (CENI) officials on the electronic voting machines, who then addressed participants' questions.
Over 120 party representatives of parties and candidates, who wished to prepare themselves timeously for the pending elections, attended. The primary objective was to learn from mistakes made by parties and candidates in the previous General Election, so as to avoid the poor organisation, last minute improvisation and ineffectual operations that characterised their polling observation and election petition submission in 2011.
July 2016 - December 2017
With EISA's support, SYMOCEL deployed a total of 276 long-term observers, including 170 men (61.39%) and 106 women (38.40%) to observe the voter registration process in three stages between 31 July 2016 and 20 December 2017.
An innovation in this process was the introduction of the use of IT software to enable observers to provide immediate reports. EISA's partners are now better equipped to collect election data from their teams on the ground as well as to coordinate the work of the long- term observers.
On 8 and 9 June EISA conducted a workshop in Kinshasa for 48 representatives from its partner organisations. Participants were selected from the SYMOCEL observer database. The workshop strengthened the capacity of citizen observer organisations in the DRC to evaluate key technical aspects of the electoral process and, more specifically, voter registration, which was in progress in 13 provinces, including the capital, Kinshasa. The workshop also gave participants the opportunity to interrogate the validity of the registration process, familiarise themselves with the operational guidelines and discuss different types of voter registration and the technology used for that purpose.\
EISA organised a workshop in Matadi from 13 to 15 December 2017 on setting up a situation room which will provide an opportunity for election stakeholders to share information. It also serves as an effective early warning mechanism before, during and immediately after the election. Although the situation room is considered a relevant approach in transitional settings, in post-conflict countries or in countries with low levels of trust among electoral stakeholders, its success depends on the ability of CSOs to foster collaborative relationships with the electoral authorities and ensure their neutrality. To further add to its success it is also necessary that CSOs design proper tools and a sound methodology for collecting and analysing election observation data. Participants were able to assess the possibility of conducting a successful situation room in the DRC and to identify potential members for the different components of the room. The workshop contributed to ensuring that the situation room be adapted to local needs and the interests and capacities of the beneficiaries.
EISA's DRC office developed several thematic manuals to build the capacity of CSOs. To encourage inclusivity and participation, EISA convened workshops to endorse and validate manuals before they were finalised and used by its CSO partners. Workshops were also convened to decide on a strategy for implementation. EISA proposed an advocacy manual for Congolese CSOs and a Procedural and Election Observation Mission Planning manual.
EISA organised a workshop in Kinshasa from 22 to 23 November 2017 to review, contextualise, improve and validate a handbook on gender mainstreaming in the electoral cycle. This handbook will assist election observation missions (EOMs) to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of gender mainstreaming in their election observation. Through this intervention EISA is developing internal expertise in gender disaggregation. It also enables local observer missions and their core teams to develop observation and analysis skills to enable them to focus on aspects that might negatively affect the equal and effective participation of women in an electoral process.
May to October
EISA organised four workshops on electoral disputes on 4 and 5 May 2017 in Kinshasa, 28 and 29 September in Matadi, 12 and 13 October in Mbuji-Mayi and 26 and 27 October in Bukavu. A total of 102 people participated, 41 of them women. The workshops provided the beneficiary organisations with knowledge about electoral disputes and how to identify the structures responsible for solving them. They also gave participants a thorough understanding of the legal framework, enabling them, for the first time, to observe electoral disputes throughout the electoral cycle.
August and September
EISA organised Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) training on the election administration module in Matadi from 14 to 18 August 2017 for its partners.
A further BRIDGE workshop on 'Media and Elections' and 'Election Observation' took place in Lubumbashi from 28 August to 1 September. The workshops provided participants with the necessary knowledge about election reporting and allowed some members of PROCEC beneficiary organisations to obtain their accreditation as BRIDGE facilitators. This training contributed significantly to the professional development of the participants, strengthening the technical capacities and sustainability of their organisations. A total of 61 participants, 27 of them women, attended the two workshops. Six of the eight semi-accredited trainers received full accreditation certificates.
EISA organised, a parallel vote tabulation (PVT) workshop for partners in Kinshasa from 3 to 4 August 2017. Participants were provided with the practical, methodological and technical knowledge needed to implement a PVT and to determine the prerequisites for conducting a PVT in the particular context of the DRC. The Ivorian Civil Society Convention (CSCI) and the Platform of Civil Society Organisations for the Observation of the Electoral Process in Côte d'Ivoire (POECI) were included in the workshop so participants could learn, from their own experiences in the DRC as well as from the experiences of these two organisations, to identify good practices when conducting a PVT.
EISA organised a workshop for citizen election observers in Matadi from 7 to 8 March on developing and applying network strategies. The workshop was attended by 21 participants, six of them women, from partner organisations, mainly from Kinshasa, Matadi and Kikwit. Participants acknowledged that despite their considerable networking experience the workshop was timely and would help them to strengthen existing synergies among the partner organisations beyond the electoral sphere.