On 4 February, the Project on Explaining and Mitigating Electoral Violence teamed up with Creative Associates International and the Alliance for Peacebuilding to launch a practitioner-based affinity group on electoral violence.
The inaugural meeting of the Electoral Violence Affinity Group in Washington, DC brought together representatives of organisations including the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the Carter Center, Search for Common Ground and the United States Agency for International Development.
The new group serves a vital need, say its founders, as a first of its kind forum for development practitioners, advocacy organisations and donors to share resources and lessons learned in electoral violence prevention and mitigation.
“There is a community out there doing electoral violence prevention, but there really isn’t a mechanism for us to communicate and coordinate,” said Jeff Fischer, Creative’s Senior Electoral Advisor, speaking at the inaugural meeting.
The group will facilitate collaboration among practitioners working across countries and regions so that electoral violence prevention work in Latin America, for example, can benefit from best practices or successful approaches in Africa or other regions.
Group members also emphasised the importance of thinking ‘significantly down the line’ at the forecast for potential electoral violence years ahead and what preventative actions could be taken now.
Presenting at the launch, Prof Sarah Birch of the University of Glasgow, unveiled early findings from the Explaining and Mitigating Electoral Violence project. ‘The main impetus for doing this research was to help people like you better do what you do to detect and prevent electoral violence’, Birch told the group.
Birch issued a call for electoral security practitioners to submit electoral assistance project documents to the Explaining and Mitigating Electoral Violence project for research on best practices in prevention.
‘This would be very useful for us because we can use it to extract from that who’s been doing electoral violence prevention work in the field and link that up to our datasets’.
She wants to find out ‘what works, where, under what conditions and why?’ with the goal of keeping more elections in the future secure. ‘The reason we’re doing this project is that we want to have an impact. We want to link up with people who will be able to benefit from the data analysis and use the methods in field’.
For more information on the Electoral Violence Affinity Group, please contact Jeff Fischer, Senior Electoral Advisor, Creative Associates International at JeffreyF@CreativeDC.com.