ECES was in Botswana, Gaborone under the flag of the partially EU funded regional project entitled preventing election related conflict and potential violence in the SADC countries (PEV SADC) from 14 to 18 December 2015 for implementing a workshop. During five days, researchers from each of the SADC countries came together to hold the first Observatory meeting that is a natural component to compliment the capacity enhancing thrust of the Project. The Objective of the meeting was to discuss the research findings in order to peer review each others contributions, but also conduct a robust curriculum development, using practical examples to illustrate theoretical concepts of conflict management. To this end, the concrete deliverables will consist of a comprehensive handbook with papers stemming from the entire SADC and specific case studies to feed into the Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral stakeholders (LEAD) curriculum.
As an added value, the aspirations of the Observatory was to consolidate into a more long term entity that may come to produce everything from briefing packages for regional observation mission, deliver training on conflict management in the SADC and function as a repository of knowledge on election related conflict and lastly, work as a regional early warning system whereby the researchers are in turn linked to a wider, national network for greater coverage. The curriculum development workshop was being held at the Phakalane Golf and Conference from 14 – 18 December.
Apart from the many nationalities that are represented, ECES facilitators in Gaborone also brought with them diverse experience: Rindai Chipfunde Vava is the Chair person of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and vice Chair of the regional body, SADC Election Support Network; Eva Palmans, Head of Programmes and Deputy Project Director for the PEV SADC project currently also coordinating ECES’ second Project in Madagascar entitled Incpials. Eva is a Belgian national but have lived and work in Madagascar for ECES for a period of over thee years. Adina Borcan, Rumania Capacity development advisor who most recently supported the ECES led project PACTE Burkina Faso in support of the elections in Burkina Faso through a multi facetted menu of activities. Lastly, Victoria Florinder, Sweden, is supporting the coordination and implementation of the PEV SADC project and especially the research component based in Brussels but with several months per year spent in the SADC.