The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) with funding support from the European Union, today organized a 4-day Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) training for Ethiopian Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of the Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Associations for Elections taking place in the beautiful city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The workshop is being conducted within the context of the Prevention, Mitigation and Management of Election-related Conflicts and Potential Violence in Ethiopia (PEV-ETHIOPIA), which seeks to establish a coalition of like-minded non-state actors in order to form a stronger voice in political- and electoral processes in Ethiopia. The Non-State Actor (NSA) coalition established under the project will be capacitated and closely assisted in carrying out activities that cumulatively contributes to the prevention, mitigation and management of election-related conflicts and potential violence in the run up to, and following, the coming elections. In light of the reform process and opened space for NSAs, it is essential that NSAs receive substantial support to make a meaningful contribution allowing self-sufficiency beyond this action and following the next electoral cycle. Therefore, the NSA coalition will be the main delivery mechanism through which the project will implement activities closely assisted by project lead, ECES, and associates, The Forum of Federations and GOinnovation. As such, the NSA coalition will therefore not only receive capacity building and institutional support but also on-the-job training by planning, implementing and evaluating activities foreseen within this project.

The objectives of the LEAD training is to strengthen the leadership capacities, increase the level of confidence and self-awareness while providing electoral stakeholders with the necessary tools to enhance dialogue development and dialogue-based decision making throughout the electoral cycle.  It is expected that the training will strengthen the long term capacities of participants to effectively deal with elections related conflicts and its triggers. Participants at this training will be acquainted with applications of leadership tools within the electoral cycle and the skills to analyse and prepare strategies to develop and enhance dialogue in electoral processes. A little more on the LEAD program. It is built around the core values of inclusiveness and the exchange of specific experience and knowledge between electoral stakeholders. LEAD is designed for representatives of Electoral Management Bodies, civil society, NGOs, political parties, bodies entrusted with electoral justice, academics, security forces, the media and media regulatory bodies.

“The Civil Society is an important arm of any nation and a veritable tool for facilitating sustainable development. By virtues of your closeness to the people and your role as watchdog for the society, you are better placed to respond to the genuine aspirations of the people and promote causes that will contribute to building a sustainable democracy in Ethiopia. Your collective positive action is important for the conduct of free and fair elections and therefore a desirable step towards national development”, noted Mr. David Le Notre, ECES representative in Ethiopia.

ECES is a not for profit private foundation headquartered in Brussels with a global remit. ECES promotes sustainable democratic development through the provision of advisory services, operational support and management of large projects in the electoral and democracy assistance field. ECES works with all electoral stakeholders, including electoral management bodies, civil society organizations involved in voter education and election observation, political parties, parliaments, media, security forces, religious groups and legal institutions confronted with electoral disputes resolution.