EEA 2014

6th Edition of the Effective Electoral Assistance Course in Milan

Milan, 24-28 November 2014

Between the 24th and 28th of November 2014, the European Center for Electoral Support (ECES), Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) and Osservatorio di Pavia organised the 6th edition of the ISPI Advanced Diploma in Effective Electoral Assistance hosted in Milan. 


This annual course illustrates in detail the recent policy and implementation developments in the fields of electoral assistance and election observation. Elections have in fact been widely accepted as an essential part of democratic processes to the point that an effective management of the electoral process is considered crucial to fostering democracy and preventing the outbreak or recurrence of conflict and violence. The Advanced Diploma on Effective Electoral Assistance will introduce participants to the evolution of Electoral Support, since its first implementations to the latest developments. This excursus gives the chance to emphasize the main features of Electoral Support, such as the Electoral Cycle approach, Electoral Observation and Media Monitoring to name just few.

ECES and ISPI believe that building capacities and disseminating practices and lesson learned about electoral support activities is a fundamental contribution to improve the understanding on electoral processes. Given ECES experts’ many years of experience in strategic, operational and contingency planning to ensure the smooth running of electoral processes, participants of the Advanced Diploma benefit from a comprehensive overview of lessons learnt along the way. Furthermore, participants gain a valuable insight into the guiding principles currently under discussion within the international community.

The 6th edition started with participants being introduced to the background of electoral assistance and principles of the electoral cycle approach while examining the various roles of different electoral stakeholders. The participants were presented with information on various aspects of an election observation, such as the background, the methodology and the structure, with the European Union Electoral Observation Mission to Afghanistan in 2009 used as a case study. Other electoral topics that were examined were the transition of election observation to electoral assistance, principles of media monitoring and analysis, on International Framework and Obligations, the project cycle and the development of Effective Electoral Assistance.

Throughout the training, Eliane Torres, ECES Deputy Head of Programs and Capacity Development Advisor, and Anne-Sofie Holm Gerhard, ECES Senior Electoral Advisor and Alice Combi from the Osservatorio di Pavia shared their extensive experience in Electoral Assistance as well as the implemented projects of ECES and Osservatorio di Pavia in several countries. Anne-Sofie Gerhard provided insights on the International and regional obligations governing democratic elections, while Eliane Torres, another expert in charge of conducting the training, presented the project cycle management, methods to assess the needs and the project identification.


The participants were also given a presentation on electoral budgeting as well as an exercise in the training of Voter Registration Staff and on the Electoral Material Procurement Budget. This enabled the participants to have a realistic goal towards electoral budgeting and a mindset to be aware of when planning any electoral observation or electoral assistance missions.


The last part of the training was dedicated to the project implementation and the case study of the ECES project "Preventing Electoral Violence in the SADC region". Finally the training ended with a session on the evaluation and audit of projects with the special case study of Madagascar. 


We were really proud to organize the Advanced Diploma in Electoral Assistance in collaboration with ISPI and we hope that all the participants had enjoyed it and learnt a lot from it. We would also like to thank all those who were involved with organising the weeklong training.



Founded in 1934, ISPI is one of the oldest and most prestigious international relations institutes in Italy, with its headquarters in Palazzo Clerici, Milan. It is a private law association, which was granted the status of non-profit-making body in 1972, and operates under the supervision of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Where the management is concerned, it is under the control of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the State Auditors’ Court.

ISPI’s scientific output has always been distinguished by a sound pragmatic approach, based on monitoring various geo-political areas and interpreting the major trends in progress on the global scene, to provide political and economic operators with reliable information and guidance. Its interdisciplinary nature is guaranteed by the close collaboration of specialists in economics, politics, law, history and strategic studies (from both academic and non-academic circles) and by partnerships with prestigious institutions and research centres all over the world.

The public served by ISPI is broad: ranging from students to representatives of the political and cultural world, from members of public administrations, international bodies and non-governmental organisations to the business community (who are still major interlocutors as well as important supporters of the Institute).

In particular, ISPI has become the institute that makes the biggest contribution in Italy to forming tomorrow’s diplomats (over 20% of those admitted to the diplomatic career in the last 5 years are from ISPI), as well as young people wishing to work in international organisations, both governmental and non-governmental. ISPI stimulates debate on current affairs in the global scenario (every year over 1,600 students are involved in its training activities and 20,000 people take part in the events, organised especially in Milan, Turin and Rome).




Anne-Sofie Holm Gerhard is an experienced election expert with specific technical knowledge in the field of electoral assistance and election observation. She has a solid experience in providing both election advisory services (strategic planning, management, formulation & advisory support) and operational support through the implementation of projects. She has experience in capacity building and training at the regional, national and international level with special focus on Africa. Furthermore, Anne-Sofie excels in preparing electoral and project budgets, while providing procurement advice for the purchase of sensitive electoral goods such as ballot boxes, ballot papers, indelible ink, biometric voter registration kits and polling kits. She has extensive experience in project management, external relations coordination and resources mobilization.

For the past 13 years, she worked for the United Nations, participating in electoral assistance programmes with a focus on building democratic institutions as a conflict resolution tool, their electoral processes and capacity building. She has worked with electoral authorities in 18 countries and for the last 3 years worked with the UNDP Global Programme for Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS). Anne-Sofie also has extensive experience in formulating electoral assistance projects in concordance with EU rules and regulations for the different budget lines. As an Electoral Operations & Procurement Advisor for the joint EC-UNDP Task Force on Effective Electoral Assistance, she is experienced in assessing and formulation electoral cycle support projects, working with donor (mainly EU) national stakeholders (EMBs, political parties, civil society) and cooperating partners, assessing country office capacities, project activities, use of implementing partners and formulating procurement action plans & timelines, management arrangements, work plans & budgets in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Anne-Sofie holds an M.A. in ‘Governance and Development’, specialized in ‘Institutional Design and Conflict Management’ from the University of Sussex, UK and a B.A. in International Marketing and Languages from Copenhagen Business School. She is also a BRIDGE accredited facilitator


Eliane Torres is the Capacity Development Advisor for ECES’s Pev-SADC Project. Eliane is an Electoral Expert and BRIDGE Accrediting Facilitator one of the very few that is able to conduct training sessions in English, French and Portuguese, with experience in curriculum development workshops and in mentoring BRIDGE facilitators, having delivered numerous trainings for UNDP, IFES and now ECES since November 2013. She served as the Electoral Management Advisor for IFES in South Sudan to support the newly formed Electoral Management Body and the Constitutional Review Commission between 2012 and 2013. She was also a final evaluator for the USAID funded IFES project in Chad. From 2010 to 2011, she held the position of Electoral Assistance and Parliamentary Development Officer in UNDP Bissau for the EU funded capacity developmentproject tothe lusophone EMBs (Pro PALOP-TL) andmanaged the project in support of the National Parliament.

Between 2008 and 2010, Eliane worked for the EC-UNDP Joint Task Force in Electoral Assistance and the Global Programme for Parliamentary Strengthening (GPPS) in UNDP Brussels, after being part of the IDEA consultant team for the European Commission Study on strategies and methodologies for the European Commission action in support to Parliaments. In addition, Eliane was an election observer in the EU Election Observation Missions in Togo, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Senegal since 2007. In addition to her experience working as a campaign coordinator, as a legal adviser for asylum seekers and as a project officer on Development Education, she also performed consular and liaison duties for the Portuguese diplomatic mission in Cyprus. She holds the UNESCO funded European Master in Human Rights and Democratisation (Italy) as well as a Law degree from the Minho University (Portugal).