Calling Researchers interested in Democratic Governance – CLOSED


OSISA is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. It‘s vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life. In pursuance of this vision, OSISA‘s mission is to initiate and support programmes working towards open society ideals, and to advocate for these ideals in southern Africa. Established in 1997, OSISA works in 10 southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. OSISA is part of a global network of autonomous Open Society Foundations, established by George Soros.


About the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (ECF-SADC)

The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF-SADC), is an independent regional organization in which each country of the SADC region is represented by its electoral management body. The ECF-SADC members include the electoral management bodies of 14 SADC countries- namely; Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. The Forum has been in place since July 1998 and it has played an important role in ensuring that the management of elections in the SADC countries is improved and in building the capacity of election management bodies to fulfill their roles.Amongst other objectives, the ECF-SADC aims to:·                Strengthen co-operation amongst Electoral Commissions in the Southern African Development Community; and

·                Promote conditions conducive to credible and transparent elections in the SADC region.


The ECF-SADC structures include the Conference, the Executive Committee and the Secretariat. The Secretariat   is based in Gaborone, Botswana (



OSISA together with the SADC-Electoral Commissioners’ Forum (SADC-ECF), and the Open Society Foundations’ (OSF) Africa Regional Office (AfRO), is recruiting researchers for a comparative study of electoral commissions’ contribution to democratic governance and electoral processes in Southern Africa. The study will create a body of knowledge to foster peer learning and sharing of best practices in promoting elections of integrity among SADC member states.

Research Scope                                                                                                                                                                                         Comparative analysis of election management bodies in Southern African countries and their respective contributions to democracy and good governance. Based on interviews, field research and review of relevant literature, and current debates and discussions, the study will examine the following issues: Legal framework and historical/political background; institutional framework; powers of Elections Management Bodies (EMBs); Comparative assessment of the independence of EMBs; election monitoring; country context specific issues; relationship/s between EMBs at regional and continental levels

Tasks and Deliverables                                                                                                                                                                        

  • Carry out research (including literature review and interviews with key informants);
  • Process and compile data gathered in an analytical chapter examining the issues identified above;
  • Produce an executive summary of the chapter highlighting the key findings of the analysis;
  • Provide a bibliography of sources and authorities used for the study;
  • Make a presentation at a validation workshop organised in-country with key stakeholders;
  • Respond to queries and requests for additional information during editing of the report;
  • Comply with the writing style and referencing format that will be provided by the collaborating partners to the project.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Post graduate qualification in related field (e.g. political science, law, social science, public administration, journalism;
  • Five years’ experience working in an election related field (e.g. election management, election observation, political analysis, civil society election advocacy,
  • Excellent writing, interviewing, and presentation; research and analytical skills (samples of published articles required);
  • Ability to work with governmental, inter-governmental, and civil society organizations;
  • Proficiency in official language/s of SADC member state/s (English, French and Portuguese);
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively, within in tight timeframes and meet deadlines;
  • Profound knowledge of the respective country’s socio-political and economic dynamics;
  • Knowledge of electoral issues in the SADC region will be an added advantage;


Interested, researchers are invited to submit their applications to conduct this research. The application letter should be accompanied by a paper of not more than two pages explaining the researchers’ understanding of the assignment. Applications together with CVs should be submitted to by July 11th, 2015. If you have not received any communication by 20th of July, 2014 you should assume that your application has not been successful.