ZIF trains future long-term election observers (LTOs) in Berlin


On Friday, May 4, the annual ZIF Long-Term Election Observation Course, which took place on the outskirts of Berlin, came to a successful end. During the one-week course, German short-term election observers (STOs) trained together with international colleagues for future deployments as long-term election observers (LTOs).

In contrast to the relatively short deployment as an STO, the requirements for LTOs, who are in mission for approximately 2 months, are much higher and their field of activity is more diverse. Among other responsibilities, LTOs report on the election campaign, meet with election management bodies, party representatives and civil society on the ground and prepare for the arrival of STOs on Election Day.

The trainer team, consisting of Mark Stevens, Ranko Vukcevic, Sarah Fradgley and Prof. Robert Krimmer, provided the participants with a comprehensive overview of the tasks and the challenges of an LTO assignment. The topics of the course included, among others, correct report writing to the mission leadership, media cooperation, the Code of Conduct as well as the correct handling and working in a team. Due to the rich experience of the trainers, the content was often accompanied by personal anecdotes related to the subject and implemented in practical tasks, e.g. role plays. Thus, the course became a multifaceted preparation for the first LTO deployment.

The team was supported by Giovanna Maiola and Radivoje Grujic, representatives of the EU and OSCE/ODIHR respectively, who explained the institutional similarities and differences between the two organisations in the field of election observation.

As usual with ZIF training courses, the diversity of course participants from 10 different countries reflected the mission reality and enabled an exchange of experiences enriching for all sides. The sunny weather in Berlin added the final touch to a successful training course.