Different Roles….One Goal…Strengthening Democracy in Africa
Election practitioners and media professionals from both the East and West of Africa, converged at the home of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 22-26 July, 2013, to explore ways and means of strengthening relationships as strategic allies in deepening democracy as they carry out their different mandates.
The Australian Government (AusAid) through its electoral support programme together with its international partner International IDEA in conjunction with the African Union (AU) made this commendable gathering possible. As participants from both electoral management bodies and media houses, we express our gratitude for enriching us so generously through this memorable five-day Media and Elections workshop. We have gained invaluable knowledge and skills. We have committed ourselves to applying all the knowledge gained which we shared through sessions such as, media tools, tactics and techniques, media mapping, establishing election media centres, media monitoring, dealing with hate speech, drafting and auditing press releases, developing, implementing a communications strategy – to mention a few – all of which were aimed at enhancing relations between election management bodies and media houses.
Rest assured, we are equipped adequately to start somewhere and make it happen!! There will be improved work performance as a result of the time, energy and financial resources invested in us. When you visit our EMBs you will see great improvements in organisational skills, planning and execution of our communication strategies.
The selection of participants from different countries, with a tapestry of cultures represented at the workshop, demonstrates that organisers recognise, celebrate and commemorate the diversity that exists in our region. This diversity brought together a pool of talent and we have been able to exchange and learn from each other’s experiences and competencies to help us progress in challenging election environments.
We are happy to have expanded our professional networks that will be a fallback for continuous exchange of ideas and best practices.
We wish to congratulate our amazingly professional facilitators, Tomsie, Sam, Henry and Fegus, fondly and proudly renamed “Las Vegas”. You were our strong pillars of support and exemplary in the manner in which you conducted yourselves throughout the workshop. You ably packaged complex concepts that were intensely debated and analysed with simplicity to our understanding. This demonstrated how hands-on you are with electoral matters enhanced by your open-mindedness to diverse opinions and skill to bringing it all home to matters that we could relate to with ease. We did not leave Ethiopia the way we were when we came – this will be demonstrated in the output back at our workstations. This would be the best way of all in which to show our appreciation for all your hard work throughout your stay with us in Addis Ababa.
Can we ever forget Ethiopian hospitality, the amazing cuisine, song and dance!! You make us proud as Africans.
We thank and appreciate our various bosses from media houses and EMBs for permitting us to participate in this knowledge sharing experience. The bonds established at this workshop are not only at individual levels but are for the benefit of our institutions and colleagues with whom we interact in this important democratic process of elections.