EISA DRC: Citizen election observation

2019


SYMOCEL final report finalised and published

May 2019

EISA has supported SYMOCEL in finalising, launching and disseminating its 2018 and 2019 election observation report. With EISA's support, SYMOCEL was able to optimise the findings of its 20,000 long and short term observers deployed to the 26 provinces of the country, document key observations facts and data, highlighting the progresses and challenges observed throughout the electoral cycle, and formulating pertinent recommendations and proposing solutions that can improve the Congolese electoral system. The report, which covered both direct (presidential and parliamentary) and indirect (senators and governors/vice governors) elections was positively received as the evaluation of the overall electoral process relied on national observation and citizen groups, of which SYMOCEL was positioned as one of the two most important and credible. SYMOCEL's evaluation report is also seen by both national and international stakeholders as a key tool for advocacy and reforms. The report launch took place on 16 May 2019 and was attended by high level guests, including representatives of the donor, of the presidency of the Republic, of national institutions, CSO actors, as well as representatives of international diplomatic missions. The launch received substantial coverage by key national and international media outlets.
Read More:
Final Report on direct and indirect elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2018 and 2019
Rapport Final sur Les Elections Directes et Indirectes en Republque Democratique du Congo, 2018 et 2019

SYMOCEL EOM capacity on election observation and deployment enhanced

April 2019

In April 2019, EISA supported SYMOCEL in training and deployment of 85 LTOs to observe the elections of governors and vice-governors and the electoral disputes of the national legislative elections. Through participation in SYMOCEL, its respective beneficiary organisations have developed their capacity and are now able to deploy an electoral observation mission and identify the challenges and techniques necessary for a successful EOM deployment.

SYMOCEL EOM deployment evaluated

January-March 2019

From 21 to 22 January 2019, EISA organised a workshop to evaluate the deployment of the SYMOCEL EOM and its finding of the 30 December 2018 elections. SYMOCEL EOM core team, the donor and the EISA - DRI Consortium represented by the EISA Executive Director, attended the workshop. It was the opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the mission's deployment and observation strategy. Participants made recommendations to improve the SYMOCEL performance and professionalism in the future elections.

From 14 to 15 March 2019, EISA organised a follow up workshop to analyse and clarify the recommendations formulated during the February workshop. Amongst the objectives of the workshop was to define the role of the SYMOCEL EOM in 2019 and in the future. Through this workshop, EISA supported SYMOCEL in developing a strategy to define and improve its future role in the DRC electoral environment. The workshop was facilitated by the two consortium partners that included the EISA Executive Director and a DRI representative.

Situation Room and Call Centre established

December 2018/January 2019

From 29 December 2018 to 01 January 2019, EISA supported SYMOCEL in establishing and promoting an Election Situation Room (ESR) and call centre. The impressive well-organised call centre was composed of more than 120 young Congolese compiling real time observation results, taking information from observers on election issues and processing this information to the relevant stakeholders. Press conferences were held on a regular basis and backed up with easy-to-read data graphics reflecting the valuable field work of the 20,000 observers.

Among the high-profile personalities, diplomats and election observers who visited and commended the SYMOCEL's Situation Room were high-level delegations of the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), European and African ambassadors, as well as UN representatives in the DRC. The ESR was also visited by Martin Fayulu, a major presidential candidate, and the special envoy of Felix Tshisekedi, also a major presidential candidate. SYMOCEL presented its preliminary findings and recommendations on the 30 December 2018 elections at a press conference at the same venue on 3 January 2019 attended by over 250 delegates including national and international radio and TV channels, high-profile personalities, diplomats, politicians and CENI representatives.

2018


CSO media monitoring capacity strengthened

November/December 2018

From November to December 2018, EISA assisted SYMOCEL EOM media analysts assess and evaluate the Congolese state-owned and private media and the context in which the elections would take place. This included the guarantee to equal access to media for all candidates, professional coverage of political actors, and the discourse to incite and/or relay violence through media reporting. EISA supported SYMOCEL to analyse quantitative and qualitative indicators in the reporting by the media of the electoral process.

In the absence of a clear legal framework regulating this practice, the media tended to discriminate against unknown candidates or those of "small" political parties, either ignoring them or reporting on them in an unfavorable light. The training provided by EISA to the SYMCEL media analysts enabled them to include a more balance view in their reports and recommendations for improved reporting.

DRC 2017: Media monotoring

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.

SYMOCEL EOM capacity on election observation and deployment enhanced

December 2018

Throughout December 2018, EISA supported training of more than 20,000 STOs to develop their capacity on election day observation techniques such as the development of observation tools for the tabulation of election results. This training also included the use of the election day observation form, and code of conduct of electoral observers followed by distribution of the observation kit to STOs by the supervisors.

EISA also supported the SYMOCEL EOM in designing and implementing deployment of the EOM mission covering 26 provinces, during the 30 December 2018 elections. Seven hundred and sixty-eight local and territorial supervisors, 275 LTOs and 20,000 STOs were deployed throughout the country, except in Beni territory, Beni City, Butembo City (Nord Kivu province), and Yumbi in Mai-Ndombe Province where elections were postponed to 31 March 2019. EISA continued its support to SYMOCEL to these elections which included designing and planning the deployment plan for 648 observers. SYMOCEL presented its preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference in Beni on 01 April 2019.

Through EISA's support, SYMOCEL EOM and the beneficiaries' organisations have developed their capacity and are now able to deploy an electoral observation mission and identify the challenges and techniques necessary for a successful EOM deployment.

SYMOCEL LTO and STO provincial coordinators, territorial and junior supervisors trained

December 2018

Throughout December 2018, using the cascade training approach, EISA supported partners in training provincial coordinators who in turn were capacitated to train territorial and junior supervisors on election observation. The training included tools and guidelines for observer recruitment, deployment, data collection and observation techniques. The junior supervisors were required to oversee 33 STOs on election day and collect their data, which was then given to the territorial supervisors who collated the data and prepared reports for their respective provincial coordinators. Through this training, EISA created a platform whereby territorial supervisors, who are the members of beneficiaries' organisations', transferred their knowledge on election day observation techniques to junior supervisors.

2016/7


CSO observers deployed and IT software introduced

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.

  • The first mission of 80 observers, drawn from among the 178 long-term observers trained by EISA, were deployed to observe voter registration in 13 provinces from 27 January to 4 February 2017. The mission presented its preliminary findings, conclusions and recommendations at a press conference in Kinshasa on 3 March 2017.
  • From 13 June to 23 July 2017, 168 long term observers were deployed to observe in 11 provinces. SYMOCEL presented its preliminary findings, conclusions and recommendations at a press conference in Kinshasa on 2 August 2017.
  • Finally, 24 long-term observers were deployed in Kasai Central from 27 November to 20 December 2017. SYMOCEL released its preliminary report via email. The final findings, conclusions and recommendations on voter registration were released at a press conference in Kinshasa on 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.

DRC 2017: CSOs equipped to observe voter registration

CSOs equipped to observe voter registration

June 2017

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.

DRC 2017: CSOs equipped to observe voter registration

CSOs trained in planning a Situation Room

December 2017

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.

Development and validation of thematic manuals

Nov 2017

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.

Workshops on election dispute observation

May to Oct 2017

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.

Training in building resources in democracy, governance and elections

Aug and Sep

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.

DRC 2017: Media monotoring

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.

Parallel vote tabulation training

August 2017

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.

Election observation network strategies workshops

March 2017

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.