Two BRIDGE TTF’s were given simultaneously in Antananarivo, Madagascar, between 16 – 26 July 2013 for Electoral Observation Networks in the framework of two EU funded projects.
The first being “Project in Support of Credible and Transparent Elections in Madagascar” (PACTE) with leading partner European Centre for Electoral Support, ECES (www.eces.eu) together with Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS) and the Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) (www.pacte-madagascar.eu).
The second project is titled “Preventing electoral violence in the Southern African Developing Community) in support of the 16 Civil Society Organizations Networks dealing with Electoral Observation in the SADC region, implemented by ECES in partnership with EISA and the SADC – ESN (SADC Electoral Support Network).
Considering that the beneficiaries of the TTF in Madagascar were organisations accredited by the Electoral Commission to observe the election (led by the Comité nationale d’organisation des élections KMF-CNOE), and furthermore that these organisations are presently operating in a delicate political and electoral context, particular attention was given to the election observation issues during the two TTF’s. Each TTF comprised 24 participants amounting up to 48 beneficiaries in total among which 55 percent were male participants and 45 percent female.
The participants came from various provinces in Madagascar – ranging from the capital Antananarivo to the coastal city Toamasine in the east, representing their respective organisation:
• Election Observation Platform KMF-CNOE
• Civil Society Organisations working for free and fair elections; Access Zon’Olombelona, Mpilatsaka Antsitra-Po (GASI), FISOFIZO, PFNOSCM, ONG Tolotsoa
• Women and Youth in the Democratic Process (WYLD)
A number of smaller provinces were also represented, which were considered a particular important element in order to reassure that knowledge dissemination and coverage is as evenly spread as possible across the fourth largest island in the world.
The election in Madagascar was foreseen this summer, 2013, but postponed due to political turmoil and opposing opinions of some of the presidential candidates eligibility to run in the election. Thus, the training was strongly anchored in the particularities surrounding the Malagasy election, while connecting to regional and international experiences, shared by the facilitating team.
The facilitators quickly formed strong professional and productive relationships with the participants, which were maintained throughout the workshop. The team had a sound mix of extensive BRIDGE experience, professional experience, and country background and consisted of Ms. Samia Mahgoub, Belgium (Independent BRIDGE accrediting facilitator) and Mr. President Pierre Claver, Burundi (Head of the Electoral Commission in Burundi) in the framework of the SADC project, where Mr. Raphaël Pouyé, France (ECES, Head of Programmes and BRIDGE accredited facilitator) and Mr. Roger Bupiri, DRC (member of the electoral commission CENI in DRC and BRIDGE accrediting facilitator) led the training under the PACTE project.
Furthermore, Ms. Eva Palmans, Project coordinator for PACTE and Ms. Monica Frassoni, President of ECES attended the workshops and shared their experience. Ms. Frassoni, who was appointed Chief Election Observer during the Presidential elections in Chile and Venezuela, 2006, presented a much appreciated episode steaming from her own experience of the potentials, pressure and pitfalls related to election observation. Present through out the workshop was also the founder of the Tunisian Election Observation platform, Mourakiboum, Rafik Halouani and Eric Despallier, Senior Elections Advisor for the project PACTE, also Country Director for ERIS in Madagascar to further infuse the content with vivid examples through self-experienced case studies. This diverse and well-experience team had a positive, immediate impact on the workshop quality and ability to cover multiple topics from contexts all over the world. This conducive and participatory forum brought participants from the different networks closer together and facilitated further valuable collaboration and exchange between the projects and the beneficiaries. This training will be followed by BRIDGE workshops, geared towards the specific needs and requirements that unfolded during this profound and comprehensive BRIDGE TTF, while continuing to follow closely the development of the Malagasy electoral context.