Funded by the EU, ECES facilitated a training session on Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) from the 25 to the 29 of March, 2013. The training was managed in collaboration with the Central African School for Electoral Training (EFEAC), with support from the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of Burundi and the Directeur Général des Elections of Québec.
This LEAD training gathered all the essential stakeholders of the electoral process in Burundi. The 50 participants were representatives from the CENI, media, civil society, organisations in charge of ensuring the security of the electoral process and from organisations in charge of electoral dispute resolution. The opening ceremony was launched by the Vice-President of the Republic of Burundi and was followed by speeches from the Ambassador of the EU, the President of the CENI, the Secretary General of the EFEAC, the Director of the Electoral Unit of the ECCAS and finally ECES Executive Director. Representatives from a large part of the international donor organisations dealing with the electoral process in Burundi were also present.
- The first day was dedicated to an introduction to the main challenges of leadership followed by a screening of the movie An African Election in French, by Jarreth Merz.
- The second day participants were provided with particular insights into the most vulnerable phases of the electoral process and the means to overcome them.
- The third day was dedicated to the challenges of organising elections and involved active discussions on the crucial stages of the electoral cycle, such as voter registration and transmission of results, with a comparative case study from Cote d’Ivoire.
- The fourth day focused mainly on the importance of time management during electoral crises as well as negotiation techniques which could make or break a tense situation.
- Finally, the week was concluded with sessions on how to prevent electoral violence and the central role of leadership in organising and guaranteeing the sustainability of democracy in the post-electoral period. The training was concluded with an interview with Abbé Apollinaire Mohulungu Malumalu, President of the Management Board of ECES and General Director of EFEAC, on the role of the Central African School for Electoral Training.
At the end of the training, all participants received certificates during the closing ceremony, following closing speeches from Mr Pierre Claver Ndayicariye - CENI President, Mr Abbé Apollinaire Mohulungu Malumalu - EFEAC Director General and Mr Pierre Atomo Ndong - ECCAS representative.
This first LEAD training in Bujumbura, Burundi which gathered various members from the Burundi civil society (media, CENI, ministers) was a great success, both, in ECES’ contribution to the prevention of electoral violence in the region, and for enhancing dialogue and exchange between electoral stakeholders in Burundi. All the participants expressed their appreciation of the highly relevant training programme and the skills gained from it. It is hoped that open discussions and cooperation that took place during this week between the participants will facilitate future collaboration and contribute the the organisation of peaceful elections in the long run.