Programmes of the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit

Electoral Research and Publications
The mandate of the DEAU involves in the main, the improvement of methodologies and practices in elections in Africa, this makes it incumbent therefore on the Unit to evolve a structured research process that is aimed at aggregation and systematization of information at all levels. Critical information in this respect relate basically to inventories, databases and existing frameworks. In detail, research seeks to find out how things were done in the past, what challenges are faced and available options for improvement.

Activities under this process are:

Process One

The process here is informative, meaning that DEAU has a responsibility to inform its stakeholders and its mandate constituency on what it is doing or what needs to be done. Hence the need to provide publications, which may be on outcome of events, held, instruments and methodology of elections, structural and organic information on election management bodies etc.

Mapping and Inventory of Legislative frameworks of Member States
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The overall objective here is to assess the legislative and hence electoral frameworks of member states to ascertain their level of conformity to the electoral norms in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance especially in the member states that have ratified the Charter. The Charter has become the benchmark for elections in the continent and thus the basis for assessment of the credibility of all elections in member states of the African Union. However, it is pertinent knowledge that the existing national laws or the legal framework for elections in that country governs every national electoral process autonomously. It thus amounts to practical wisdom, that if member states are expected to conform to the standards contained in the African Union normative frameworks, efforts need to be deployed first to ensure that these standards are reflected in the national laws of the countries.


Programmes Planned for the Year
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Legislative Inventory of ECOWAS Member States
Date: May/June 2013


Annual EMB Meeting Publication
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The continental EMB meetings, apart from serving as a forum for interactions among EMBs, offer the opportunity for EMBs to interrogate DEAU programmes of electoral support and make their own inputs into it, as well as suggestions and recommendations based on their expectations. The outcome of the meeting thus becomes a working document for the DEAU in its relationship with EMBs for that year and the succeeding years, and will be the basis for presenting a testimonial at the next meeting on how far the Unit went into meeting the demands and expectations of the EMBs that arose from the previous meeting.


Programmes Planned for the year
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The Outcome Document for the 2012 Continental EMB Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia 11 – 13 June 2012 has already been published by the DEAU and has been sent to all EMBs and Partners. Click here for the electronic version.


EMB Reference Book
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The objective is to provide information on the EMBs in Africa, its structure and processes of elections. In addition to this, it will provide a basis for comparative analysis of EMBs in the national electoral processes. As this is a book publication, it is expected to serve as an institutional reference for the African Union and an academic reference for scholars and researchers in elections within and outside the continent.


Publications Planned for the Year
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The 2012 EMB Reference Book is planned for publication in July 2013


Process Two

The process here is also informative, meaning that DEAU has a responsibility to inform its stakeholders and its mandate constituency on what it is doing or what needs to be done. Hence the need to provide publications, which may be on outcome of events, held, instruments and methodology of elections, structural and organic information on election management bodies etc.

Enhancing the Capacity of the National Election Management Bodies
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DEAU’S mandate of improvement of the national electoral process creates the requirement of an effective relationship and engagement with the Election Management Bodies EMBs who manage the national electoral process. EMBs, by the nature of their dual responsibility as managers and umpires of elections, constitute focal points for the infusion of democratic and governance principles into the national electoral process. To enhance the national electoral process towards the objective of improved conduct of elections thus begins with the enhancement of the capacity of the EMBs to deliver on their mandates. The Unit’s programme of electoral assistance therefore centers on the improvement of skills and knowledge base of EMBs, and the enhancement of the national electoral process through exchange of human and material resources. In fulfilling this mandate of promoting democratic elections through electoral assistance, the Democracy and Elections Assistance Unit adopts the electoral cycle approach, which takes the 3 stages (pre – electoral, electoral and post – electoral) as an integral process in order to achieve the desired result of a democratic electoral process. The electoral cycle approach takes the end of one stage of the electoral process as the beginning of another stage and does not recognize or make provision for a period of lull. Therefore, if elections end in one country, the Unit does not have to wait for the next four or five years to begin the assessment for the next election.


African Union National BRIDGE Capacity Building Trainings:
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BRIDGE an acronym which stands for “Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections,” is an electoral training curriculum designed by the United Nations, IFES, International IDEA, UNDP and the Australian Electoral Commission since 1999 to provide training in various areas of electoral management to both election managers and all other stakeholders of election. So far it is the most comprehensive electoral training curriculum in the world covering every practical area of election management through the entire cycle. The objective of the African Union National BRIDGE capacity building training for EMBs is to provide electoral trainings to EMBs on specific areas of election management requested by the EMBs themselves, and in their own countries. It is also to train and accredit a number of EMB staff as accredited BRIDGE facilitators who can deliver BRIDGE trainings internally. DEAU started organizing BRIDGE in December 2011 and so far, has provided BRIDGE training for five countries under the AU National BRIDGE capacity building programme. The plan is to increase this number to 10 in 2013


National BRIDGE Workshops scheduled for 2013
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Burundi
Date: 15 – 19 April 3013 (Two Simultaneous Workshops)
Language – French
Venue: Bujumbura
Malawi
1st Workshop: 29 April – 03 May
2nd Workshop: 06 – 10 May
Kenya 24 June – 09 July (Two Workshops back to back)
Venue: Nairobi