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Lessons Learned Study on Election Observation Missions deployed by the AU and RECs/RMs in Africa towards free, fair and transparent elections, with a focus on AUEOM

1.   Background

The African Union acknowledges the importance of elections to the promotion of democratic governance and has made a number of commitments to improve the integrity of elections on the continent. These include the provisions of the 2002 AU/OAU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, the 2002 AU Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions, and the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, which entered into force in 2012. One of the governance indicators essential to peace and political stability on the continent is the existence of democratic elections.

As part of its efforts to realise Aspirations 3 and 4 of Agenda 2063, which envision a "Africa of good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice, and the rule of law," and "a peaceful and secure Africa," respectively, the African Union Commission, through its Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate, offers assistance to its member states in several election-related areas. This includes providing technical assistance to election management bodies and monitoring and observing elections.

Undoubtedly, there has been an appreciable improvement in democratic trends on the continent, particularly with institutionalising constitutional alternation of power. Nonetheless, there has been a steady decline in the quality of governance, especially in terms of voter participation in elections. According to the 2022 Mo Ibrahim Index, participation indicators have steadily declined since 2017. Shrinking political space, frequently characterised by the eroding of liberties in the period immediately preceding elections, monetisation of elections, disinformation, and declining voter turnout undermine elections on the continent. Despite the fact that many Africans favour democratic governance, frustrations with manipulating democratic mechanisms appear to have bolstered support for military coup d'etats on the continent.

In an effort to provide appropriate assistance for enhancing democracy and governance on the continent, the Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate proposes to conduct a study on the lessons learned from its support of electoral processes. The study analyses the support processes (technical assistance and the entire spectrum of observation) in order to inform future support processes with lessons learned.

2.   Rationale

The African Union Commission devotes substantial resources to assisting Member States to strengthen the integrity of democratic transitions. In the past twenty-one years, the Democracy and Elections Unit, which is operationally responsible for electoral support, has provided various forms of assistance to Member States' electoral processes.  Utilising lessons learned over the years, the Unit has enhanced the AU's support processes.  Notwithstanding, there has yet to be any systematic and coherent reflection to analyse the effectiveness of the AUC's support processes. The AU Commission (AUC) intends to conduct a lessons-learned study that will assess and report on Election Support and Election Observation Missions deployed by the AU and the RECs/RMs to support regular, free, fair, and transparent elections. Therefore, the lessons learned study is to identify and document critical lessons, challenges and opportunities to guide innovation and improvement.

3.   Objective:

To implement the aforementioned rationale, the AUC, through its Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate's Democracy and Elections Unit (DEU), and with the support of the Training for Peace (TfP) Programme, will conduct a lessons learned study on the AU's support for electoral processes. The lessons learned study's primary objectives are as follows:

  • Compile and analyse the AUC's experiences and good practices in support of electoral processes.
  • Determine how the AUC's support for electoral processes has contributed to the integrity of elections on the continent.
  • Generate critical lessons learned from support to electoral processes to enhance the effectiveness of the AUC's efforts.

4.   Methodology

The lessons learned study will be undertaken from December 2023 on the following timeline:

Proposed days: 5 days
Commission a consultancy to produce a lessons learned study that assesses and reports on the Election Observation Missions.

-       Draft inception report & Inception meeting

-       Desktop literature review and Data collection (primary and secondary sources)

-       Draft report to present findings to DEU & receive feedback

Proposed Days: 40 days

The study will further undertake a review process that is not part of the Terms of Reference:

Participation in a lessons learned workshop to share, review and edit the lessons learned study with DEU and relevant stakeholders.

Proposed Days: 5

Finalisation and submission of study

Proposed Days: 10

5.   Output

A lessons learned study that assesses and reports on critical lessons and challenges of the Election Observation Missions deployed by AU and RECs/RMs.

6.   Contract Management and Reporting

DEU, under the AUC, is responsible for commissioning the lessons learned study on Election Observation Missions deployed by the AU and RECs/RMs. The coordination and supervision of the commissioned work, as well as all matters of reporting and of ensuring that the deliverables meet established quality benchmarks will be the primary responsibility of AUC DEU.

The Consultant will be contracted and administratively managed by the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) on behalf of the Training for Peace Programme. For remuneration purposes, the Consultant will report on their activities to ACCORD. The Secretariat of the TfP will have operational oversight over the performance of the assignment.

This is a home-based assignment therefore travel is not required. The Consultant will engage virtually:

  • ACCORD will facilitate engagements with interlocutors at the AUC.
  • ACCORD will provide IT support to host virtual meetings.

7.   Performance indicators:

The Consultant will be evaluated on the basis of the following indicators:

  1. Timeliness of submissions;
  2. Readability, chronology, lucidity, appropriate style and tone of all documents;
  3. Quality of the Framework; and
  4. Satisfaction of AUC and partners.

8.   Qualifications and competencies:

The applicant should:

  • Have an Advanced University degree or equivalent experience in governance, political sciences, international relations, development studies, law, social sciences or related field.
  • Have at least 8 years of experience in academic research or policy analysis in the fields of African democracy issues, and elections;
  • Have broad knowledge of AU entities, mandates, working methods and intergovernmental processes, especially as it relates to the African Governance Architecture (AGA), which is inspired by the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU);
  • Have extensive knowledge on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG);
  • Command thorough theoretical and practical knowledge of broader security, governance and development processes;
  • Have demonstrated experience in writing high-quality documents, especially policy-relevant papers and articles;
  • Have proven experience in analysing complex information from different sources and on various subjects, and
  • Preferably have experience in working with the AU or RECs/RMs on Good Governance, Democracy and Elections.
  • Language: Fluency in English in required.

9.   Submissions

Each applicant should submit the following documents:

  • Cover Letter
  • Technical proposal with Cost of Rates (In USDs)
  • CV/Resume (not more than 3 pages)

10.           Deadline for Technical Proposal

Qualified applications are invited for the above assignment. The deadline is 30 November 2023. Please direct your submission to Ms Karine Siaba, Ag Coordinator, DEU at and Mr Wandile Langa, Programme Officer, ACCORD at

Closing Date: 5 December 2023

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