On the 29th, 30th and 31st of March , ECES proudly delivered three intensive Coaching Trainings to the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) on Media Monitoring.
This marked the third activity implemented under the Innov-Elections project, which is financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Innov-Elections was developed by ECES and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa (SSSA) and is being implemented with the support of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
This activity is part of a series of trainings to be delivered each week from the end of March to early June, aimed at sharing ECES expertise on all aspects of the electoral process and facilitating the exchange of real experiences and good practices among the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries, composed by staff members of the Electoral Commissions of the 17 SADC States.
The event kicked off with the initial remarks of ECES Co-Founder and Executive Director, Fabio Bargiacchi, followed by the opening speeches of Sub-Saharan Africa Deputy Director and former Italian Ambassador to Sudan, Ambassador Fabrizio Lobasso, and of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Kryticous Nshindano.
Three sessions on Media Monitoring were offered in the main languages spoken by the 17 Member States of the organization:
• French Session on 30-31 March, facilitated by ECES Senior Electoral Expert Alain Chabod;
• Portuguese Session on 30-31 March, facilitated by ECES Senior Electoral Expert Zefanias Matsimbe.
Training sessions covered different aspects of Media Monitoring during the electoral process, in particular:
- Institutional communication applied to elections
- Media relations with a focus on the regional instruments
- Media monitoring
- Overview on other EMBs’ communications
- Crisis communications/fake news/deep fake/hate speech
During the opening session welcoming the participants, ECES Co-Founder and Executive Director Fabio Bargiacchi, said:
“These trainings will be centred on the exchange of experiences and perspectives between the various Electoral Commissions in the domain of media monitoring and institutional communication. Nowadays, electoral processes are heavily influenced by new media and social networks, thus it becomes critical for Electoral Commissions to effectively monitor them and understand the opinion of users on specific aspects of the electoral process, in order to build up the appropriate institutional communication strategy and response. Last but not least, another increasingly relevant aspect is related to how to tackle the rise of fake news, a phenomenon that impacts all of us around the world.”
Ambassador Fabrizio Lobasso stressed that:
“When we deal with electoral processes, we are digging into the deepest part of human rights and fundamental liberties. In particular, we are working to improve the level of dignity of persons. This is the first image of human rights that we hope to stimulate. At the same time, we are working to stimulate solidarity, which is a way to work all together in order to have an institutional apparatus which is stronger and thus more trustful. With the electoral training, we also work on accountability, that encompasses the responsibility of people launching themselves into the electoral competition, and vice versa, that of the electorate constituency which is called to choose their representatives. Finally, we work for gender balance in elections– and Italy in the past embarked in a long path towards reaching gender equality in terms of voting. We deal with the basic rights of human beings, and it is not only transferring competencies from Europe, Italy, Brussels, to you, but also on the way around. Because we learn a lot, we speak about diplomacy of values, an intercultural diplomacy, which is a way of encountering Africa on a people-to-people and community-based level.”
The Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Kryticous Nshindano, stressed that:
“At ECF-SADC, we are excited as this project is in line with our mandate, which includes training and capacity building of EMBs to enable them to execute their role of conducting and managing elections, a very important aspect for us. We are very confident that Innov Elections project will cover the election management framework with modules on the election process, focusing on strategic and operational planning. We find particularly relevant the focus on social media, an increasingly important tool to be integrated into electoral management.”