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Mauritius: Strengthening capacity to protect elections

Group photo. Photo by Lume Production Company Ltd / International IDEA.
International IDEA and the Office of the Election Commissioner of Mauritius (OEC) recently re-joined forces to organize a Protecting Elections Capacity Development Workshop in Port Louis. The workshop served as a sequel to the event held in February earlier this year and aimed to further empower national stakeholders in protecting electoral integrity.

The Capacity Development Workshop continues the pilot phase of International IDEA’s Protecting Elections project. The project, funded by the Government of Canada, aims to support electoral management bodies (EMBs) and other electoral stakeholders with the knowledge and capacity needed to protect the integrity of electoral processes. At its core lies the development of an integrated framework promoting the use of risk-management, resilience-building and crisis management practices in elections.

While the February workshop set the scene by mapping electoral challenges alongside possible courses of action, this workshop aimed to strengthen the electoral stakeholders’ knowledge and skills to collaboratively deal with electoral risks, threats, and crises. 

Over the course of three days, participants from the Office of Election Commissioner (OEC) of Mauritius and other state agencies such as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Community Development, Independent Broadcasting Authority, Government Printing Department, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Commissioner of Police, and the Computer Emergency Response Team, involved in the electoral process were trained to apply risk management, resilience-building and crisis management practices in the electoral process. The curriculum implemented by International IDEA was developed as part of the project and customized to meet the Mauritian stakeholders' needs, including safeguards on disinformation and extreme weather. 

The methodology combined expert presentations with hands-on group work and tabletop exercises. For example, one of the activities included a crisis management scenario-based simulation designed to convey a sense of urgency, fear, and prompt action. The activity included several ‘injects’ designed to create a challenging election environment. Materials included ‘news flashes’ and ‘rumors’ which were shared via video (using artificial intelligence) and messaging applications. 

The event was another opportunity for national stakeholders to meet, discuss and learn from each other how to effectively prevent risks, withstand threats and recover from potential crises in elections.  The benefits of this were confirmed in the participants’ evaluations of the workshop. For more details, see the interview with the representative from Mauritius Independent Broadcasting Authority, Mr Jean Yann.

The next step in the partnership between International IDEA and the OEC of Mauritius will be a Technical and Advisory Support event organized by International IDEA in Port Louis. This event will allow International IDEA to focus on one specific challenge identified in the previously held workshop and further support national efforts to uphold electoral integrity. 

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About the authors

Julia Thalin
Associate Programme Officer, Electoral Processes
Erik Asplund
Senior Programme Officer, Elections and Crisis
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