Publication | Report/Paper

Ethiopia: Technical Assistance Project


From May 17 through July 18, 1994, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) conducted a technical assistance project in conjunction with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The project, which represents the second for IFES in Ethiopia, combined onsite advice, commodity procurement and seminar organization assistance in support of the country's June 5 Constituent Assembly elections. The project was financed by a $242,941 grant from USAlD/Ethiopia.

The project follows a February 28-March 8 pre-election assessment conducted in Ethiopia by Keith Klein, Director of Programs for Africa and the Near East. Mr. Klein arrived during the registration period and was able to conduct his assessment with the input of Joe Baxter, a consultant for the United Nations, who was in Ethiopia at the same time and who had been involved in the process during 1993.

This project may be regarded as the first phase in a long-term assistance project envisioned by IFES. in a proposal submitted to USAlD/Ethiopia April 1994. This report on the just-completed 'program activities provides an opportunity to review the progress of NEBE in conducting the Constituent Assembly elections as well as of IFES' assistance to the process thus far. Gary Ouellet, a Canadian technical advisor, traveled to Ethiopia in mid-May to observe the preparations for the elections, offering advice as appropriate. He was joined at the end of June by Laurie Cooper, the IFES Project Officer; together they coordinated a post-election workshop from July 3 through July 6 for NEBE to examine and share lessons learned from the election experience through all professional and administrative personnel levels. At the conclusion of his stay, Ouellet drafted a number of recommendations regarding the election .process as well as some political issues for presentation to NEBE.

The project was initiated with the following four objectives:

·         provision of 10 mobile HF transceivers (two-way radios) for use by NEBE during the month prior to the June 5 election;

·         sending an election specialist to Ethiopia during the month prior to the election to oversee the installation and use of the radios, to monitor NEBE's needs and activities, and provide advice as appropriate;

·         assistance in the organization and facilitation of a post-election evaluation workshop for NEBE; and

·         assistance in NEBE's initial goal-setting and strategic planning exercises following the evaluation workshop.

This project was a qualified success in achieving the objectives detailed above. The fourth objective was the one that was not fulfilled, primarily because NEBE was still preoccupied at the end of the IFES project with the administration of elections in regions where they had been postponed to July and August. The implementation of the radio component was also complicated by the expanded election schedule. However, the workshop was conducted, receiving positive evaluations from almost all of the participants. Furthermore, given the prevailing negative attitude of NEBE to election specialists and advisors, the IFES consultant was surprisingly successful in establishing a good working relationship with members of NEBE senior and junior staff, as well as in providing procedural suggestions that were and continued to be given serious thought.


This report is excerpted in large pan from Gary Ouellet's final activity report and recommendations to IFES. IFES appreciates the work that Gary put into assembling such excellent materials.


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