The Women Platform for Peaceful Elections in Senegal is a group of women’s organizations of civil society in Senegal and West Africa. It is composed of Senegalese women’s organizations, women’s organizations in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Gambia and Senegal. This platform is an initiative coordinated by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), and supported by the United Nations Development Program, UN Women, among other UN agencies.
Under this initiative, 60 observers were trained to observe the elections with the BRIDGE methodology the presidential elections of Senegal in Feb. 26, 2012. The two-day training was held on 22 and 23 February 2012 in Dakar.
The objective of the BRIDGE training in electoral observation, mainly composed of leaders of women organizations with international experience in elections but also having occupied important positions within their countries (former ministers, mediators, lawyers, lawyers…) was to better equip those women so they can fulfill their mission in observing, reporting and evaluating several aspects of the electoral process by taking into account the dimension “Gender and Elections.”
Thus, the BRIDGE training in election observation focused on the identification of the type of information to be collected through observation and knowledge gathering in order to contribute to the drafting of reports observation.
In terms of training content, over the two days, the focus was on presenting the curriculum BRIDGE, the elections’ tree, the observation of the electoral cycle, the international principles for free and fair elections, the principles of election observation, the importance of code of conduct, the electoral framework and the electoral map of Senegal, the role and profile of the observer, observation methodology, security and deployment plan without forgetting the Gender dimension in the observation.
Based on the Curriculum BRIDGE adapted to the Senegalese context, a document was produced as a code of conduct which main objective is to contribute to increase professionalism of election observation in Senegal. It is a set of principles and aspirations committing any member of the Election Observation Mission of the Women Platform for Peaceful Elections in Senegal.
In an electoral context marked by violence, BRIDGE facilitators training to election observation supported the Women Platform to establish and implement a deployment plan. The BRIDGE facilitators assisted the Women Platform in setting up a situation room that was used for collecting, analyzing information from the observers and journalists on the field.
Facilitators to the training were: