20 Jan 2022
The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa office in Madagascar, led by its Country Representative Mr Valdiodio Ndiaye, and accompanied by Programme Officer, Mrs. Andriaharivola Reine Ramananjanahary and Programme Assistant, Mr. Nyaina Rahagalala paid a courtesy visit on Thursday, January 20, 2022, to the President of the Commission Electorale Nationale Independante (CENI), Mr Retaf Arsène Andrianarisedo Dama. Mr Dama was assisted by the CENI Vice President Laza Rabary Razafimamonjy as well as the CENI National Electoral Advisor Roger Marc Fidimiafy.
The objective of this meeting was to continue the collaboration between the CENI and EISA, especially in the field of strategic planning, the annual Revision of the Electoral List (RALE), electoral education, and increasing institutional capacity building of the CENI. EISA reaffirmed its availability to continue to support the CENI thoughout the electoral process.
EISA met with the newly appointed members of the Electoral Commission, at which meeting the CENI reaffirmed its willingness to collaborate with EISA, commencing with the development of the strategic action plan and the implementation of Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) training for the new electoral commissioners.
The STEP EPT specialist conceptualised and designed a VCE manual that was reviewed and validated by the CENI Director of Electoral Education and Communications and the Head of the Sensitization and Electoral Education Service, local CSOs and CENI's technical partners.
The validation workshop took place on 2 and 3 August 2018 in Antananarivo and was attended by 25 participants, nine youth, nine women and three persons with disabilities. The manual was produced in French and Malagasy and serves as the key document for the CENI and CSO voter education campaigns. It also includes strategies on how to participate actively in public life.
Following the validation workshop and adoption of the curriculum, and the training of CENI staff, a training of trainers (ToT) targeting CSOs was conducted on 30 and 31 August 2018 in Antananarivo. The training was attended by 60 participants from 47 CSOs, 52% women and 43% youth. The CSO representatives were selected through a call for expression of interest issued by EISA and the CENI based on the CSO mapping report produced by EISA outlined above. Women and youth were given preference, especially those from regions where their participation in the last election and voter registration was lowest.
On Thursday 1 February 2018, the Executive Director of EISA, Denis Kadima and his team, Dr Catherine Musuva, Chief of Party of the Supporting Transition and Electoral Processes (STEP programme) and Jessica Ranohefy Andreas, EISA Representative in Madagascar, met with Mr Hery Rakotomanana, the Chair of the Electoral Commission of Madagascar.
The meeting focused on areas of collaboration between the two organizations in view of the 2018 electoral process in Madagascar. As part of the STEP programme, funded by USAID, EISA will implement activities to support the CENI as well as Civil Society Organizations in Civic and Voter Education.
Although elections were delayed in Madagascar during 2011, EISA used the opportunity provided by the local government elections in South Africa to organise a study tour for members of the National Electoral Commission (CENI), political parties and CSOs to South Africa to gain first hand exposure to see how Party Liaison Comitttees work as well as the EISA/IEC Conflict Management Panel structures function in practice. The study tour, which took place from 13 to 20 May, included three officials of the CENI, including the president of the CENI, two political party representatives and three CSO representatives. The delegation also observed polling day in the Gauteng province and held meetings with South African political parties, the South African Civil Society Election Coalition, the Municipal Demarcation Board and the IEC. The Malagasy delegation also established networks with the Election Management Bodies of Burundi, Zimbabwe and Mexico which were also in South Africa at the time.
Upon returning to Madagascar, EISA Madagascar convened a half day debriefing workshop which brought together the study tour participants, additional representatives from the participants' institutions, UN agencies, international NGOs, embassies and the media. The participants shared their experiences and reflected on the challenges facing the electoral process in Madagascar.