«La tenue de cet atelier est en parfaite adéquation avec la problématique de gestion de la crise. Cette approche [médiation] s’insère dans la logique de création d’un espace d’échanges fructueux entre les différents acteurs de la transition, afin d’harmoniser des points de vue sur l’organisation et la gestion des élections en République de Guinée. » (Feedback provided by a participant of the Conakry workshop)

As part of the preparations for elections in Guinea, MSP (a joint project of swisspeace and CSS ETH-Zurich) together with International Alert (IA) conducted workshops on “Mediation in the Context of Elections” at four separate locations in Guinea. The endeavor also had the support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), BEFORE and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The more than one hundred participants in total were allowed to familiarize themselves in three days with the legal context of the elections (electoral law and the constitution), conflict theories, election cycles and the techniques and methods of mediation.

27 to 33 representatives of NGOs, religious groups, the administration, and the national, regional and local electoral commissions participated in the four workshops.

The synergies between local, regional and international experts allowed participants to extend their knowledge about conflict analysis and prevention, to discuss specific topic-related mechanisms, and to encourage the sharing of experiences between various African countries in regard to mediation and elections. In so far as the latter is concerned, experts from the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) shared their knowledge on projects in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Participants were selected on the basis of the following specific criteria: political independence, good reputation and potential to work as mediators and as bridge builders in society.

Presentations by international experts, group work and role plays sparked lively discussions on the challenges of the upcoming election and the potential of mediation.

The first workshop in N’zérékoré with 21% participation of women was completed successfully on 16 May 2010. It was followed by workshops in Conakry, Labé and Kankan. The participants welcomed the idea of further workshops of this kind. The organizers will keep in touch with the participants of the workshop series in order to assess the project’s impact. Furthermore, International Alert will present a report on the results of the workshops to the Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI), so as to ensure that the project can be integrated in local structures in an optimal manner.