Needs assessment mission
As one of the long-standing democracies in Africa, the electoral environment in Mauritius is widely accepted to be transparent, credible and peaceful. As a matter of fact, Mauritius has an established track record of peaceful polls and incidences of violence during the election period are rarely politically motivated. Next general elections are foreseen in 2015 and no fear has been expressed for a potential of violence in these upcoming general elections. Against this background, ECES experts and PACTE project members Eva Palmans and Juvence Ramasy carried out the NAM from 15 to 22 June 2013. Indeed, the electoral system in Mauritius allows for a representation of the plural society and the long history of electoral processes contributes to the efficiency and transparency of the process, which leads to confidence of all stakeholders in the electoral machinery. Despite the established democracy, a debate has been launched during the last years on the need for electoral reform. The debate on electoral reform shows that there is still a need for improvement of the electoral system as well of the organisation of elections and the participation of civil society in electoral processes. All the interlocutors have confirmed the latter, which shows the importance of the current project. However, our interlocutors insisted on the fact that the reflection on "election-related violence" should be adapted to the context of Mauritius.
The ESN-SA member organisation in Mauritius is the Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS) who was founded in 1965. From a social service coordinating body, MACOSS has evolved into Council of NGOs dedicated to social services and sustainable social development. As an umbrella organisation, MACOSS seeks to promote social and community development and voluntary actions through non-governmental organisations. It strengthens its members (in June 2013, MACOSS counts 327) by initiating communication and collaboration among NGOs and between NGOs and Government and the private sector primarily through meetings, workshops, consultations and institutional development activities. MACOSS has an outstanding experience in capacity development activities aiming to reinforce its members in organisational and operational skills, networking and information sharing on social related issues. However, there is a lack of structured training in this field (electoral reform, civic and voter education, election observation, etc.) as well as organised advocacy activities to formulate and promote recommendations on potential electoral reform. The NAM allowed for the identification of organisations involved in Human Rights, Democracy and Governance potentially interested in participating in the capacity development and research activities.
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