NICE strives to enhance the ability of Malawian citizens to participate in public life including democratic decision-making processes. It is therefore within this context that NICE has collaborated with mHub, CCJP, PAC and NDI to establish and manage a national wide Election Situation Room. The Election Situation Room is an initiative that has been deployed in many countries such as Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia to mention a few.
The Election Situation Room is a coordinating center to which data on aspects that constitute a free, fair and credible election are submitted, collected and analyzed in real time by a team of experts to provide constructive information to various electoral stakeholders for their urgent action, operational responses and to feed into a broader report on how elections are and or were conducted. The Election Situation Room is very important as it provides a mechanism for real time interventions to incidences as they happen during the election process.
The objectives in hosting the Election Situation room include to;
1. Provide early warning on issues that might impact on the integrity of elections;
2. Provide evidence-based analysis that will lead to operational responses;
3. Facilitate constructive engagement with key stakeholders on the conduct of elections
NICE will trained and deployed 5,002 stationery and 462 roving observers across all districts in Malawi and CCJP and PAC will both train and deploy 252 observers that will collect and send information using an SMS short-code and an android mobile application developed by mHub for use under the Election Situation Room.
mHub is Malawi’s first technology hub and was involved in the pilot phase of the Election Situation Room in Malawi during the 2014 elections funded by OSISA and Hivos. mHub has also supported similar work in other countries in Africa like Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
So how does the Election Situation Room work?
Observers send in reports as responses to a standard Election Observer Check List on categories that include human resource, voting procedures, voting materials and incidences that define whether an election was free, fair and credible.
It is expected that a large amount of data and information will be generated about the electoral
environment and context, Election Day proceedings, and post-election developments and
events. The information and data will be analyzed and packaged in an accessible and digestible format for a variety of audiences and stakeholders. NICE will therefore sub-contracted experts who will be responsible for analyzing data and information, producing write-ups, and other written material that will facilitate decision making by the situation room stakeholders