Short-Term Election Observation

Next dates: 17.02.2020 - 20.02.2020

Additional dates:
21.09.2020 - 24.09.2020 (Deadline:: 21.06.2020)

Please note

that this course is primarily aimed at participants from the EU and/or OSCE participating states. Applicants from other countries will only be admitted in exceptional cases.


We strongly encourage all applicants to get in contact with their respective national EOM focal points before applying to the course. For more information, please see section "course audience" below.


German applicants have to succesfully complete the selection process for German election observers prior to their participation.



Quick Facts

  • Venue: Different Hotels in Berlin
  • Course fee ZIF Expert Roster: 100 € full board included
  • Course fee external applicants: 550 € full board included
  • Application documents: CV + Letter of Motivation, reference by national focal point (see below)
  • Programme: Sample
  • Apply now as:

ZIF does not offer scholarships and does not cover travel costs.

Course description

The Short-Term Election Observation (STO) course serves as an introduction for future election observers. The curriculum focuses on the two main international actors – OSCE, EU – and their respective involvement in the field of democratization and election obersvation in particular. Furthermore, the course provides an overview of the relevant international standards.

Special emphasis is placed on respecting the code of conduct, personal mission readiness and teamwork. Since security is becoming a growing concern for all missions, STO training includes a security part aimed at raising awareness ofpersonal security issues and the challenges related to working in crisis and post-conflict environments.

The STO course, like all ZIF courses, follows a participatory methodology, and all trainers have an extensive practical background in election observation.


The course language is English.



Learning objectives and course content

Learning Objectives

Through case studies, role plays and simulation exercises, participants will understand the process of election observation and the activities at polling stations and counting centres. 


Course Modules

  • Introduction of International Actors - OSCE, EU and UN - and their Respective Involvement in Democratisation Activities and Election Observation Missions
  • Election Observation, Supervision and Implementation
  • International Election Standards
  • Case Studies of Election Observation Missions
  • Experiences of Short- and Long-Term Observers
  • Mission Readiness and Personal Motivation
  • Code of Conduct
  • German Participation in Election Observation Missions
  • Security Aspects
  • Information on National Recruitment Procedures for German Nationals

Course audience

The course is aimed at qualified German and international professionals who want to participate in OSCE/ODIHR and EU election observation missions as short term election oberservers (STOs).


Since ZIF is the Election Observation Mission (EOM) focal point for Germany, please note that only members of the ZIF Expert Roster for Election Observation will be eligible for nomination by ZIF to participate in an election observation mission.


For international applicants, please note that this course is primarily aimed at participants from the EU and/or OSCE participating states. Applicants from other countries will only be admitted in exceptional cases.


We encourage all participants to get in contact with your national EOM focal point. His/Her recommendation will be a strong asset for your application. You can get in contact with your focal point via the EU EOM website or the EODS website. A broader list with all EOM focal points from OSCE participating states can be found on the ODIHR website.



Course fee

€ 100.00 for German applicants to the ZIF Expert Roster for Election Observation (open to German nationals only);


€ 550.00 for external, international applicants who are not applying for membership of the ZIF Expert Roster for Election Observation.


The course fee includes all training material, accommodation and meals at the training site. Please note that the course concept also foresees evening activities.  Since one of the goals of ZIF training is to promote sharing of experience among the participants from different fields and provide an opportunity for networking, ZIF encourages all participants to stay at the training site. Discounts will not be given to participants who choose to find private accommodation. Participants are required to make arrangements for their own health insurance for the duration of the course.


ZIF offers a limited number of scholarships, only for national staff of OSCE missions. For more information on those scholarship opportunities, please refer to your line manager or directly to ODIHR.



Application process

Please apply for the STO course via the ZIF database. Please click on the 'Apply Now' button on the top right side of this webpage and follow the directions that match your profile.


Important: During registration, please select the option "Training Only" in the  "Application for:" pop-up menu.

Please note that we require a short (1-2 paragraphs) and relevant motivation statement for this course.


Participants will be selected and informed shortly after the deadline has passed.