With EISA's support, SYMOCEL designed a comprehensive advocacy document of its recommendations arising from the 2018 - 2019 elections which was widely disseminated. The document highlighted the change expected in the electoral architecture, the related issues and challenges emerging from the elections, proposed amendments to the legal framework t and the regional and international best practices. A press conference was held on 22 October 2019 to officially launch the recommendations attended by prominent guests including parliamentarians, political party representatives, lawyers etc. The launch received substantial coverage by key national and international media outlets. The advocacy document will be shared with key stakeholders such as the parliament, the Presidency of the Republic, CENI, the government, political parties, diplomats etc.
On 18 and 19 September 2019, attended by the EISA Executive Director, EISA organised a preparatory workshop on the advocacy campaign for monitoring of the electoral process for SYMOCEL. The general objective of this workshop was to define the activities to be conducted in the framework of the advocacy for electoral reforms, their formulation, implementation and follow-up, as well as the monitoring of the electoral cycle in order to improve the electoral process in the management of future elections. EISA's support has enabled SYMOCEL to identify its advocacy campaign to be conducted and define a strategy for monitoring the electoral cycle; to agree on synergies with other stakeholders in the electoral process, and exchange experiences on the awareness campaigns with other partners.
As a follow up of the workshop, EISA organised working sessions focussing on the analysis of the recommendations made by the SYMOCEL EOM and to identify and prioritise the proposed reforms and provisions of the legal framework. In addition, the working sessions also focused on identifying appropriate institutions, partners and allies to work with on the advocacy campaign.
EISA established a working relation with the media professional union (UNPC) and regulatory body (CSAC) and is supporting SYMOCEL to capitalise on its association with this network to advocate for reforms in the media sector. It must be noted that SYMOCEL was the only organisation that conducted a full-scale media monitoring exercise during the recent electoral cycle in DRC. This positions the SYMOCEL EOM as a key stakeholder in regard to media issues. Among recommendations relating to the media, SYMOCEL recommended: i) the adoption of a media law that promotes more effective political pluralism, particularly in the public media; ii) the appropriate financial and institutional support to the regulation body (CSAC) to fulfill its mandate and iii) to include social and online media to its monitoring samples.
In May EISA organised a two-day working session with SYMOCEL to discuss key elements to observe during the post election phase. This working session also evaluated the relevance of the advocacy campaign that the SYMOCEL EOM is intending to carry out in this post-electoral phase. The working session was useful int that EISA was able to transfer knowledge and equip SYMOCEL with the necessary tools to observe post election phase, as well enable the SYMOCEL to transform its electoral observation exercise into advocating for initiating and implementing electoral reforms.
On 9 August, EISA organised a further workshop using the Advocacy Guide developed under PROCEC I to ensure a consistent approach to advocacy campaigns under PROCEC 2.
To strengthen SYMOCEL's ability to conduct post election reforms, in June EISA assisted SYMOCEL in drafting an advocacy action plan. The advocacy plan identified relevant electoral reforms; selected advocacy partner; agreed on activities for the formal and informal advocacy campaigns; and developed a timeline. To finalise and validate the action plan, EISA organised a workshop during which the objectives and techniques of advocacy campaigns and the challenges that may arise, were identified. It is anticipated that through this support SYMOCEL will be able to conduct efficient, effective and professional advocacy for electoral reforms.
The SYMOCEL advocacy plan has included a section on democratic access to the media, particularly regarding opposition political actors. With the technical assistance of EISA, SYMOCEL is the only election observation group that has monitored the media throughout the current electoral cycle in DRC, commencing in 2016. Key recommendations that emerged from the media monitoring exercise includes the adoption of a press/media law that guarantees political pluralism in public and private media and ensure the independence and financial sustainability of media groups. EISA has strengthened the capacity of SYMOCEL to partner with media actors and local influencers and be at the forefront in advocating for election reforms and attaining concrete results.