Victoria Florinder, ECES Project Analyst, will give us inside on the PEV – SADC, aimed at prevent electoral violence and conflict in the countries of the Southern African Development Community.
Victoria, could you please tell us about the PEV-SADC project?
The Prevention of Electoral Violence in the SADC region is a partially EU funded programme via the European Instrument of Democracy and Human Rights. ECES signed the contract last year in March and marked the start for this multi-country initiative together with partners SADC election support network and EISA. We have both training and research activities in each of the 14 SADC countries and work very closely with the civil society organisations that are members of the SADC ESN. We also work with other key players relevant to what we are trying to achieve, which is in short to support the main actors with new tools and enhanced capacities in being more effective when it comes to violence prevention in an electoral context.
What are the main activities?
As I already mentioned, we are delivering training programmes which draws from two specific curricula's. On the one hand, we have the praised BRIDGE programme that allows participants to be trained as trainers but also covers very topical issues pertinent to their line of work. There are over 24 modules to choose from and the selection is made in close consultation with the final beneficiaries of the course. Secondly, we have the Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral Stakeholder Programme that if face was developed by ECES in partnership with San Francisco-based Center for Creative Leadership. The LEAD programme tackles issues relating to leadership especially in a context of electoral contestations and disputes. Since conflict can take shape differently. It can for example be explicit violence between political cadres but also be a prolonged constitution drafting process where the citizens who ultimately are the end users feels excluded. The conflict in the first case would thus relate to open violence, whilst in the last cast it would be an extended process of grievances, which could eventually have a violent consequence and severely damage the trust between citizens and elected institutions. We are trying to consider these varieties also when carrying research when it comes to definitions etc. The research is meant to feed into an observatory which in turn will be used to map and mitigate election related violence and conflict. It is to be seen as a joint tool for several stakeholder but managed by the SADC ESN. On top of the activities I just mentioned, we provide advisory support and institutional guidance both for the network as an entity but also for the individual member organisations.
How would you describe a normal working day within the PEV-SADC team?
In this project, communication is key so I would say that we communicate with our partners almost every day. We are constantly planning or implementing activities and work as a team when it comes to budget management and business development that the PEV-SADC project paves way for. This is one of the most content-rich projects we are in the midst of implementing, so I recommend interested readers to stay tuned on the projects website www.pev-sadc.eu.
Thank you Victoria and keep us posted about the project!