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CEPPS in Malawi

In Malawi since 2014, CEPPS has worked with local civil society and government partners to encourage transparent, accountable and credible elections by promoting active engagement of civil society in electoral oversight and civic engagement efforts.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS uses an inclusive partnership approach to strengthen civil society oversight of electoral processes and build institutional capacity in Malawi.  This process invokes domestic observation and media monitoring, civic and voter education, enhanced electoral security, as well as a focus on building the capacity of electoral institutions, and the capacity of the Malawian Parliament to be responsive and transparent.

CEPPS Approach:

CEPPS provides technical and financial assistance to Malawi’s election observation networks to implement long- and short-term methodologies. Efforts include assisting with strategic planning, recruitment, training and deployment of observers, as well as the development of deployment plans, such as creating necessary materials, training and communication strategies. CEPPS also conducts political party poll agent training to increase legitimacy and accountability around the country’s electoral processes. Recognizing the role of the media in shaping narratives around elections, CEPPS works with partners to develop new media monitoring practices and train journalists on fair and accountable reporting. Further, we work closely with local civil society organizations (CSOs) to improve civic and voter education efforts to be more issue-based and accessible at the community level.

Additionally, CEPPS provides targeted technical assistance to Malawian electoral institutions and civil society partners in support of free, fair, and peaceful elections. Efforts include providing support to inclusive community-led conflict mitigation structures, developing an election conflict early-warning/early-response (EWER) system, training electoral stakeholders on election dispute resolution, developing robust voter education campaigns, and supporting the finalization of strategic and operational plans with the electoral commission.

Finally, CEPPS strives to improve the openness and responsiveness of the Malawian parliament to citizens’ needs by providing targeted technical assistance on strategic communications, transparency initiatives, committee trainings and issues of political and electoral reform.

CEPPS Key Achievements in Malawi:

CEPPS Works to Enhance Domestic Oversight of Electoral Processes

  • During the 2019 elections, CEPPS and its local partners deployed 57 long-term observers and carried out a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT), with 800 election day observers reporting from a random sample of polling centers across all regions, districts and constituencies of the country.
  • Following the Constitutional Court ruling, which mandated that new elections be held in 2020, CEPPS partners provided legal expertise and parliamentary assistance to the electoral authorities and leadership in parliament on the interpretation of the court ruling and the urgent drafting of electoral reform bills to align the country’s election law with the jurisprudence. CEPPS also supported local observation partners to recruit, train and deploy more than 500 observers across the country on election day in June 2020.

CEPPS Supports Improvements in Electoral Security in Malawi

  • CEPPS trained 314 Multi-Party Liaison Committee (MPLC) members, community representatives, to support conflict-mitigation structures and quickly address electoral conflicts at the community level.
  • CEPPS also activated a robust EWER program in 13 districts to feed electoral conflict data in real-time to public and electoral stakeholders in support electoral security mitigation measures.
  • CEPPS engaged 6 partner CSOs who provided 65 trained, community-level monitors to collect data on electoral conflict incidents, which was then verified and aggregated on a digital online EWER platform.

CEPPS Supports Sustainable Capacity Building of Malawian Electoral Institutions

  • CEPPS facilitated the development and finalization of a strategic communications plan for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and technical support in the development of a voter education campaign targeting the 2020 fresh elections.
  • CEPPS also provided technical assistance on election dispute resolution (EDR) by training the MEC’s legal department and district elections officers, ensuring efficient and professional resolution of electoral complaints and training 52 representatives of the judiciary.
  • Following the call for fresh elections, CEPPS supported the MEC in updating and finalizing their polling and counting procedures, as well as developing a procedural training video to educate poll workers on the updated procedures.

CEPPS Builds Citizen Awareness and Engagement Through Civic and Voter Education

  • Prior to the May 2019 elections, CEPPS partnered with 15 Malawian CSOs and three media houses to host a series of televised presidential debates aimed to strengthen the culture of democratic debate within Malawian society and enhance citizens’ knowledge of candidate positions on key issues.
  • Ahead of the 2020 fresh elections, CEPPS partners collaborated on three radio messages aimed at promoting peace and cohesion among Malawians ahead of the elections.
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