On February 22nd – 23rd, ECES proudly delivered an intensive two-day Coaching Training to the East African Community (EAC) Representatives on Election Observation and Assistance.

This marked the first 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 Coaching Training aimed to share ECES expertise on electoral assistance in order to strengthen capabilities of EAC personnel in:

  • undertaking effective observation of elections at higher professional standards, acting impartially;
  • collecting accurate information;
  • detecting electoral irregularities;
  • and drafting objective and pertinent conclusions and recommendations.

The event kicked off with initial remarks from ECES Co-Founder and Executive Director, Fabio Bargiacchi, followed by the opening speeches of Sub-saharian Africa Deputy Director and former Italian Ambassador to Sudan, Ambassador Fabrizio Lobasso, and of the Principal Political Affairs Officer of EAC, David Michael Onen.




Training sessions covered all aspects of the Election Observation process, involving ECES Senior Electoral Experts:

Day 1. 

  • Introduction to Election Observation – Adolfo Cayuso, ECES Senior Electoral Expert;
  • Political context – Rindai Vava and Zefanias Matsimbe, ECES Senior Electoral Expert;
  • Legal context – Eirini Maria Gounari, ECES Senior Electoral and Legal Expert;
  • Establishing an Observation Mission - Adolfo Cayuso, ECES Senior Electoral Expert.


Day 2.

  • Media monitoring, institutional communication, fake news, disinformation and social media – Hamza Fassi-Fihri and Wilson Manji, ECES Senior Electoral Experts;
  • Reporting forms / Observation checklists – Daria Prapocka, ECES Senior Electoral Experts
  • Data tabulation analysis and reporting of Election Day – Daria Prapocka, ECES Senior Electoral Experts.


 Launched in December 2020 as a crucial component of Italy’s ‘Strategic Partnership with Africa’ placing Africa at the core of the European and Italian agenda, Innov-Elections aims at:

  1. alleviating COVID-19 lockdown policies’ impact on ‘Election Observation and Assistance Units’ of African Regional Organisations and Secretariats of Networks of Electoral Management Bodies;
  2. enhancing women’s role and participation in elections’ management;
  3. boosting electoral stakeholders’ leadership and conflict management capacities
  4. contributing to the digitalisation of electoral processes.

During the opening session welcoming the participants, ECES Co-Founder and Executive Director Fabio Bargiacchi, said:

“Innov-Elections project will last for the next 24 months; therefore, ECES will have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with various regional organisations in Africa, which are dealing with election observation and electoral assistance, as well as with the first 11 African countries selected by Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

 He added:

“ECES was founded by me and Abbot Apollinaire Malu Malu, the former president of the Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo and also the President of the Network of Electoral Management Bodies of Southern Africa. He is not with us today as he unfortunately passed away some years ago, but I am sure he would be extremely honoured looking at the important participation of the EAC in this first training on Electoral observation.

Ambassador Fabrizio Lobasso stressed that:

“One among our many initiatives, which is an outstanding activity well known and recognized from any part of the world, is capacity building through training. I think it is almost ancestral, as during the centuries Italians have shown a particular, positive attitude to this maieutical way of transferring knowledge and competencies. Teaching and training are a way to transfer Italian values, which are solidarity, generosity, humbleness, humanity, inclusion, and most of all, the absence of secret agenda. It is a people-to-people relation, a partnership between equals.”

The Principal Political Affairs Officer of EAC, David Michael Onen, pointed to the importance of such initiative for the EAC:

“Most of the times, the EAC’s Partner States do not have adequate capacities and knowledge in terms of election observation. This opportunity comes in a crucial moment for creating a pool of skilled election observers for each partner state to be deployed when needed. For the EAC, this collaboration came right at the time when we needed it the most.”