EISA facilitates these dialogue sessions together with Somali electoral stakeholders, including the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), civil society organisations (CSOs), political parties and the media on thematic areas such as the legal framework for elections, voter registration, voter education and information, participation of marginalised groups in elections, funding of political parties and elections campaign, managing election conflict, to name but a few.
The series' episodes are largely aired on Somali TV and radio channels including social media.
In preparation for the 2020/2021 one-person, one-vote elections in Somalia, EISA re-introduced its series titled "Let's Talk Elections" to provide a platform for electoral stakeholders to engage. The series is conducted in all Federal Member States (FMSs) and Banadir Regional Administration (Mogadishu).
On Thursday, 3rd October 2019, EISA held the first in a series of open discussions under the title Engaging Stakeholders in the 2020/2021 Electoral process in Mogadishu.
Discussions were lively and many of those present were women and youth. They highlighted the important opportunity to discuss issues affecting the preparations for the 2020/2021 electoral processes.
On Tuesday, 12th November 2019, EISA held the second dialogue session under the title Youth and Women's Participation in the Electoral Process in Southwest state. Women and youth came in numbers to discuss issues affecting their role in the electoral processes. They also discussed possible solutions that can enhance youth and women participation ahead of the 2020/2021 one-person, one-vote elections.
Participants engaged with the panellists from the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC). This episode was attended by community influencers such as Elders and religious leaders.
EISA plans to continue this series to talk about electoral issues in Somalia and will conduct these dialogues in all FMSs and Banadir Regional Administration (Mogadishu).
In support to the 2020/2021 elections in Somalia, EISA, together with the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) hosted a debate on Enhancing participation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees in elections. The event was held on the 29th November 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. The debate took place as a side event at the 6th Annual Continental Forum of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) on enhancing IDPs participation in elections hosted by the African Union in Nairobi from the 28-29 November 2019.
The event provided a platform for the NIEC, academia and other practitioners to engage with theoretical and practical aspects on the inclusion of IDPs and refugees in the upcoming 2020/2021 Somalia elections. The debate was broadcast on Somali TV and radio channels as well as social media.
EISA organised a group discussion with CSOs on 28 March to set the tone for future collaboration. During this gathering, a presentation on the electoral cycle was made with a focus on citizen observation which was one of the discussion points of the day.
Updated Sep 2019
On 8 September 2019, EISA Somalia conducted a consultative meeting with women's groups in Mogadishu to discuss the development of need-based tools to strengthen advocacy and lobbying for women's participation in leadership positions and political space.
As part of its contribution to the public outreach programme of the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs (MoCA), EISA supported the ministry in organising a three hour Somali youth constitution sensitization public meeting on 6 May 2018 in Mogadishu. The event brought together 179 youth from the 17 districts of Mogadishu including young Somalis from the Diaspora to learn and ask questions about the Somalia provisional constitution by engaging with constitutional experts and officials. The event was also live on Facebook and followed by hundreds of other youth in and outside the country.The three panellists for the event were Mr. Zubeyr Abukar, Director General MoCA, a member of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee and another from the Independent Constitution Review Implementation Committee.
Cognisant of the fact that Somali women's public participation is still weak despite the new political dispensation, EISA supported its partner, the Somali Women's Leadership Initiative (SWLI), to organise a dialogue and experience sharing round table on: "Exchanging best practices on good governance at local level and enhancing cooperation between women civil society actors and local authorities" . The round table which took place on 3 May 2018 in Mogadishu drew 40 women including community leaders, CSO activists, lobbyists and officials from distrcits and ministries.
On 23 April 2018, EISA conducted a closing session of the series ofworkshops for Somali youth on democracy and elections that have been held since September 2017. Twenty participants, 11 female and 9 males aged between 14 and 28 years represented youth organizations, universities and secondary schools. All the participants were awarded certificates of completion. This half-day session wrapped up the series of capacity buildingworkshops provided by EISA to the Somali youth organizations. The training successfully enabled participants to gain an understanding of the link between democracy and elections.
Effective work needs to be done for Somali women and youth to empower them to play an important role in their society and fully participate in the new state-building and democratisation process. To contribute to this process EISA organised a series of workshops on the theme: "Supporting women and youth civic engagement". The objectives of these four one-day workshops were to provide women and youth with sound knowledge of civic engagement's basic components and key concepts, with key understandings and best practices for civic engagement and participation in democratic and participatory governance; and with effective understanding of federalism, national unity, peace and social cohesion.
The workshops took place in South West State on 24th November 2017 (98 participants including 27 women) and Jubbaland state on 29 November 2017 (88 participants including 22 women) and in Mogadishu on 12-13 December 2017 (99 participants including 56 women).
September 2017 - January 2018
The workshops focused on the training of youth representatives in democracy and elections. The final training of the series which began in September 201 took place in January 2018 with a certificate ceremony held in March 2018. A two day workshop for representatives of youth organisations, universities and high schools in November 2017 and January 2018 was held in Mogadishu attended by a total of 20 participants between the age of 14 and 28 years, 12 of whom were young women. The training held on the 17 and 18 November focused on elections and political parties and that of the 17 and 18 January focused on results based strategic management which will provide the youth organisations with the skills to manage grants relating to civic education and democratisation.
In November 2017, three back-to-back voter education and information workshops were held in Hargeisa. The first workshop, held on 1 and 2 November, focused on special interest groups, which included participants from the Disability Action Network (DAN), Nagaad Women's network, Somaliland Pastoral Forum (SOLPAF), and Somaliland National Youth Organization (SONYO). The second workshop, held on 4t and 5 November, focused on media organisations and other CSOs, including SOLJA, Women in Journalism Association (WIJA), Somaliland Association for Youth Salvation (SAYS), New Circus Somaliland, and Asal. A final workshop was held on 7 and 8 November, for all six BUILD Grantees on the same topic, i.e. voter education and information. The six Grantees are; Academy for Development and Advocacy of Minorities (ADAM), Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee Organization (HAVOYOCO), Somaliland Association of Youth Salvation (SAYS), Somaliland Society Development Organization (SOSDO), Sool United Non-Governmental Organization (SUNGO) and the Youth PEER Education Network (Y-PEER).