A review meeting was conducted with the National Assembly and the Senate on December 5 and 6 in Ampefy attended by five MPs and 12 staff members from both houses. The meeting reviewed the parliamentary support provided by EISA and gathered recommendations for continued support. During the meetings, MPs and staff underlined the strategic role EISA has played in strengthening parliament's mission and images, particularly in supporting women MPs. The social dialogue and "open house" events were also acknowledged as having played a great role in bridging the gap between MPs and their constituencies.
A radio drama was broadcast for the week of September 25th on Don Bosco Radio and thereafter broadcast throughout the other 25 local stations of Don Bosco across the country.
An information advert on parliamentary roles and functions posted on Facebook and YouTube reaching almost 14.000 views across Madagascar and 299 shares in only a few weeks. The comments from viewers showed their lack of understanding of MPs roles and functions, the negative image citizens have of their elected representatives and the need to bridge the communication gap between MPs and their constituencies.
The radio shows, Youtube, etc was an effective and creative platform to inform the public.
Responding to a request by both Houses of Parliament, EISA, jointly with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and UNDP, supported, a third Parliament Open day in the province of Mahajanga (Boeny Region) on September 25th and 26th. The event was attended by 1086 visitors. Exhibitions, debates, economic and social forums were held during the two days. Simultaneously conferences open to the public on issues in the Boeny region took place. Fourteen MPs and 13 senators, including all the MPs elected from the Boeny region, participated in this event. During the Open House EISA held a competition on democracy where CSOs competed in a giant quiz, that was broadcast on local TV. The event contributed to reconnecting the local population with their representatives, particularly as the country is moving to its next parliamentary election.
A two-day workshop on the roles of women within political parties especially during the electoral cycle was held on 13 and 14 August, attended by 28 women, including one MP, from different political parties. The workshop focused on women in leadership positions in public life and improving their self-esteem with a view to equipping them with the necessary skills to effectively engage within their parties and advocate for gender equality.
Twenty senate staff members from the protocol department benefited from a capacity building training on protocol procedures from 18 to 20 July. This training was requested by the head of the department to improve the image of the institution as well as to strengthen the skills of the staff in assisting MPs and other officials in their jobs.
A parliamentary seminar on the ratification of international treaties and agreements was held on June 29th 2018 in Antananarivo. Organized upon the request of the Senate, this seminar responded to MPs ' needs and concerns about the procedures for ratifying international treaties and protocols and their implications for domestic legal order. Indeed, while many international treaties and agreements are regularly subject to MPs' ratification, the stakes and implications of such an act remain little known to the elected officials thereby affecting their efficiency at the time of the examination and the vote as well as in the monitoring and control of the obligations arising therefrom: 9 senators attended the seminar.
The National Assembly staff benefited from a capacity building training on institutional communication and public relations on June 18th and 19th attended by 33 staff from the protocol department, held in Antananarivo. This training was requested by the head of the department to improve the image of the institution as well as to strengthen the skills of the staff in assisting MPs in their interactions with citizens. From 18 to 20 July, twenty senate staff members from the protocol department also benefited from the training.
EISA Madagascar met with the Senate President, Rivo Rakotovao, on 11 April 2018 to assess achievements and discuss further support to Senate members in performing their duties (pictured right).
As part of the celebration of International Women's Day, EISA and the Liaison Office of the African Union in Madagascar held a seminar on March 9th, 2018, with the parliamentary women's caucus from the National Assembly on strategies to reach the quota of 30% in the participation of women in public life by 2020. Seven women MPs from the different party benches in the lower house facilitated the panel. Two hundred and six parliamentary staff members of the National Assembly also attended the seminar. This seminar has allowed MPs to not only share best practices on increasing women's participation in the next legislative elections but also to commit to reaching the 30% quota by 2020.
EISA also participated in the celebration organised by the Ministry of Population on 10th March on a discussion on the evolution of women's participation in public life in Madagascar, facilitated by the head of the caucus of women MPs together with the EISA Madagascar country representative.
From 20 to 22 February 2018, a capacity building workshop for media professionals was held in Antsirabe, in partnership with the Friedrich Erbert Foundation (FES) and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The workshop aimed to improve journalists' understanding of parliamentary work so that they can contribute to increased accountability and transparency of governance processes. Thirty journalists from 15 regions of the country participated.
It is important to note that for the first time in Madagascar, regional radios have been associated with such an initiative. In a context where more than 80 % of the population are living in rural areas with difficult access to information. As the most accessible and popular media in the country, training radio journalists can play a crucial role in reporting and sensitising the population on democratic processes.
SEHATRA is one of the lower chamber initiative to create a platform in which member of parliaments, mayors, municipal councils and other stakeholders meet to discuss issues around recently passed policy bills. On February 1st of 2018, four senators and 27 mayors from the municipalities around the capital convened for an information session meeting regarding the topics of rural electrification and natural disaster management.
This initiative, chaired by the speaker of the senate, is part of the senate's role as representatives of the local and regional authorities. The exchange has allowed MPs to elaborate on the new rural electrification policy and clear some misunderstandings regarding the proceedings around natural disaster management.
Parliament's effectiveness depends on staff capable of providing quality assistance to MPs. It is within this framework that EISA organised a training workshop for National Assembly executives on leadership in Antananarivo from 29 to 31 January 2018. The purpose of this initiative to strengthen their leadership skills.
10 staff were convened during the three-day workshop. It allowed participants to reflect on ways to improve their leadership within their respective departments.
Following the success of the Parliament Open House held in June in Antananarivo, a second Open House took place in Tulear, the capital of Atsimo Andrefana region, on the 3rd and 4th of October jointly organised between EISA, the UNDP and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation. During the two days of the Open House, exhibitions on both houses of parliament were displayed at the city hall. At the same time conferences open to the public on the topic of the DINA, (a legal framework put in place by local authorities in the south of Madagascar to protect people against insecurity from the "dahalo" (bandits who steal livestock) and MPs accountability also took place at the city hall where all the MPs and senators from the region were present. This gave citizens a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, raise issue and share concerns with their elected representatives that affect the region. A follow-up social dialogue meeting held in Atsimo Andrefana in July also took place on October 3rd. Since the social dialogue series has been introduced by EISA, the focus is now on identifying issues of concern in communities and constituencies so that common solutions can be found
At the beginning of the parliamentary session in May 2017, EISA held two information sessions for both houses of parliament's Committé Local de Development (CLD) (ie Local Development Committee), a committee composed of mayors and heads of regions and districts, led by MPs that manage development projects for each of their respective constituencies. This information session has contributed to clarifying some misunderstanding around the management of the committee as well as the funds allocated to the committee. Following the session the senate decided to conduct a regional participative evaluation to get feedback on the effectiveness of the committee with a view to later submitting recommendations and improvements to the government.
From May 29th to 30th, a training workshop on parliament's role in evaluating public policies was held in Antananarivo for members of the senate and some of the technical staff of the upper house. The workshop aimed to improve MPs 'role in evaluating public policies as a part of their oversight function. A second workshop on the same topic was held at the National Assembly. The recently voted for government education policy was specifically discussed during the meeting along with the different evaluation tools that MPs will need to evaluate this policy.
Requested by the senate a capacity building training was held from April 5th to 7th in Antananarivo for their staff to strengthen their skills in developing and writing parliamentary documents and resources such as session reports and meeting minutes
EISA's first workshop in 2017 for parliamentary staff was jointly organised with the National Assembly and held on March 20th and 21st . The workshop was an orientation for all the newly recruited staff of the Assembly on the organisation and structures of parliament along with some a look at staff work ethics and moral obligations. The second capacity building training held from March 23rd to 25th March in Antsirabe was for new technical staff working with the parliamentary committees. The focus of the training was to initiate and familiarise new recruits on the legislative preparatory work that will assist them to effectively perform their job.
A parliament open house day was held on June 9th in Antananarivo, EISA took part in the exhibition by showcasing its parliamentary strengthening program since 2014.
The intention of the event was to bring parliament closer to citizens and to promote MPs accountability. The two day activity included an exhibition on the history, role and responsibilities of Malagasy Parliament, a conference focussing on MPs accountability facilitated by EISA, and parliamentary debates with youth and students from Toliary University. A total of 3360 visitors attended the Open House session.
The Interior and Decentralization Committee of the National Assembly benefited from a capacity building workshop organized by EISA in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), on June 3 2016.
The workshop consisted in a knowledge update on the decentralization system in Madagascar, its stakes and challenges. The topics of gender and decentralization, as well as the roles and functions of the Committee were also addressed.
Decentralization is an important issue in Madagascar, as many barriers have made its implementation unsuccessful. Moreover, decentralization is an entry point to development and a vector of local democracy.
EISA Madagascar, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the French Embassy, is holding an induction workshop for newly elected and appointed senators from May 25th to May 17th. During the three-day workshop, presentations on the roles and functions of senators decentralization, as well as on gender issues includig women's political participation, gender mainstreaming in the legislative process and the role of the senate in the creation of a gender sensitive parliament - will be provided by different experts. The workshop will also give attendees an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.
This workshop addresses a need for capacity-building for the senate expressed by the President of the institution, and will help senators fulfil their mandate effectively. The opening ceremony will be chaired by the President of the Senate, Mr Honoré Rakotomanana.
A capacity-building workshop for senators' assistants will also be held from May 30th until June 1st 2016. The new Senate was in place in February 2016 and its inception represents an important step in the process of democratic reconstruction in Madagascar.