Tunisia: Election observers from I Watch are already preparing for the next elections

During Tunisia’s October 2019 presidential and legislative elections, the I Watch deployed several observer teams with DRI’s support to monitor the campaigns and election process. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to look back on what worked and what didn’t for the field teams and observers working with the structure.

I Watch field teams and coordinators at the debriefing session

I Watch held a debriefing and evaluation session from 22 to 24 November, bringing together more than 160 members of its field team to discuss monitoring methodologies and deployment conditions.

Observers from different Tunisian regions shared experiences and feedback on their field work. The participants highlighted, among others, the training sessions held before the election campaigns and the lack of real-life examples to better assess upcoming missions and anticipate challenges such as harassment, invasive questioning of monitors and physical attacks.

Participants shared their feedback during plenary sessions

Participants also focused on specific aspects of the evaluation process, such as the observation methodology, reporting forms, partners dynamics, and the general campaign environment. Some questions raised were how to deal with clear cases of corruption, harassment of female observers in some regions and the weekly work plans being too complicated to follow.

Observers and team coordinators then worked on listing best practices and recommendations to better assess future activities. These included deepening the contents of the introductory training sessions, changing the field activities agenda so that team coordinators can better manage observers and follow projects, and tips to strengthen and maintain the network such as team building sessions, mobile apps for closure and monitoring, training of trainers and introducing more experts to the network.

Group sessions highlighted specific issues coordinators and field teams dealt with while monitoring the elections

The debriefing session helped I Watch’s team to have a clear picture of what worked and what needs improvement. Valuable lessons were learnt from the plenary sessions and specificities addressed during the group workshops will help shape the workplan for the next elections.

DRI supported this event as part of the “Support to Constitution Implementation in Tunisia – Phase III” project funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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