LEAD Cape Town
On the 30 of October to the 2 of November 2018, ECES facilitated a LEAD Workshop in Cape Town on practical mediation and the lessons learned moving towards the National General Election (NGE) 2019. his 5-day LEAD training of trainers is part of national project, funded by the European Union. The PEV RSA project (www.democracy-support.eu/southafrica) is 24 months (2018/20) and is implemented by the European Centre for Electoral Support in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
The opening ceremony had speeches from the dedicated Project Coordinator, Victoria Florinder (ECES) and Chief Provincial Officer for the IEC in the Western Cape Courtney Sampson. The speakers stressed the importance of ensuring that the NGE runs smoothly and is perceived as fair and credible. ECES’ and the IEC’s intervention in Knysna shows how when there are dedicated people and resource available, progress can be made and violence stopped in South African elections.
Participants came from across the Western Cape. Participants were from civil society and the IEC, as well as researchers in the field. With professional expertise in fields such as social work, conflict mediation, election management, education, and social media relations, the participants represented a holistic cross section of electoral stakeholders who can make an impact in decreasing the amount of electoral violence in the field.
This is the third LEAD training, following a trainings in Gauteng held in June 2018 and is part of the PEV RSA projects stakeholder engagement component. However, ECES is building on the work done in the Western Cape in 2016 as part of a regional project in electoral violence prevention, called PEV-SADC.
The curriculum on Leadership and Dialogue was crafted by ECES in partnership with Centre for Creative Leadership, CCL. CCL is based the US and delivers high-end executive education for world leaders. Such trainings are usually very costly and require far more time than what one usually can afford. The partnership between CCL and ECES emerged to make leadership training accessible and affordable for electoral stakeholders.
Leadership training blended with dialogue techniques has so far proven to be a winning concept. Leadership, both for the individual and organizational level, are essential components of electoral processes.
The LEAD workshop in Cape Town was meant to explore various ways how exchange between stakeholders of difference of opinion, beliefs or ideologies can be carried out almost conflict-free by making use of technical skills.
In sum then, this workshop in Cape Town was a forum whereby members of security structures who engage with the electoral process can further develop skills in leadership and dialogue and make use of the very fact that participants come from different backgrounds to bring out as many perspectives are possible on how to succeed with dialogue.
The workshop is being facilitated by Zefanias Matsimbe, Senior Lecturer at Eduardo Mondiane University and a senior expert at EISA, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, Host Director of the Election Support Network of Southern Africa and Executive Director of Zimbabwe Election Support Network and lastly, Victoria Florinder, Senior Conflict Management Advisor and Project Coordinator, ECES.