SatElections - Appropriate Satellite Technology in Support of African Electoral Cycles

  • Status
  • Status date

SatElections is a Pilot Project dedicated to the production and distribution via satellite of eLearning modules on Effective Electoral Assistance and Electoral Administration. In practical term, the broader module on Effective Electoral Assistance will be later adapted to a more specific eLearning Electoral Administration Module for the needs of the Independent Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (IEC-DRC). The proposed satcom based system will represent the first step to validate the fulfilment of the operational communication needs required in the Congolese election process and to create an internal network for Electoral Management Bodies for the transmission of electoral data.

The following objectives will be pursued by the project:

  1. Production of the first ever eLearning Module on Effective Electoral Assistance

    This Module will target the training of development partners and electoral management bodies in effective electoral assistance. The module will be based on the content developed for the Training Session on Effective Electoral Assistance by United Nations Development Programme, European Commission and International IDEA. Such Module will be then:

    • Integrated within the SatElections Training Platform and delivered to remote terminals through the satellite communication system (Sat3Play technology and ASTRA2Connect)
    • Adapted to be transmitted in the different platforms already available within the EC and UNDP.


  2. Creation of eLearning Modules on Electoral Administration needs for the IEC-DRC

    The eLearning Module on Effective Electoral Assistance will be adapted for the IEC-DRC, distributed via satellite and utilised before the holding of the next Congolese local elections (end of 2008-first half 2009).


  3. Creation of an internal network for electoral data transmission needs

    The satcom solution provided by the project will support election data transmission for the Electoral Management Bodies in DRC.


Thanks to a cooperation among the Industrial Partners, the IEC as sponsoring partner and UNDP, EC, International IDEA, the project aims to:

  1. Produce the first ever eLearning modules on effective electoral assistance and electoral administration;
  2. Assess the feasibility of broadcasting the modules with appropriate, cost effective and sustainable satellite technology;
  3. Assess the feasibility of using the same satellite technology for creating internal network for Electoral Management Bodies and for their electoral data transmission.

SatElections will demonstrate that the system and associated services provide an effective, sustainable and scalable solution in support of African Electoral Cycles. The proposed satcom system will become part of the activities of the EC-UNDP-IDEA led Global Training Platform on Effective Electoral Assistance and the adapted module for electoral administration will be tested in DRC to assess the applicability in other African electoral cycles.


The proposed solution for DRC will provide services to the end users through the traditional IP protocol suite (TCP/IP, UDP, FTP).

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The main components of this architecture can be grouped in three macro functions

  • Services provision
  • Services access
  • Network provision

Services provision
This function is provided by a service application platform located in Matera and consists of all HW and SW components supporting the following services:

  1. Production of the eLearning Modules on Effective Electoral Assistance
  2. Creation of eLearning Modules on Electoral Administration needs for the IEC-DRC
  3. Electoral data transmission function

Services access
The field terminals will be located in DRC. A typical remote terminal will be connected to a Local Area Network and will provide a suite of services to the final users.

Network Provision
The network is based on the solution adopted is provided by Newtec and ASTRA with Sat3Play technology and Astra2Connect service platform.


The first step consists of the High Level Requirements and Baseline Design identification and definition. This output will be revised and finalised at the BDR.

After the BDR, the two sets of applications will be developed and integrated within the SatElections system. In parallel, operations related to the Pilot Network Deployment and Commissioning will be carried out in order to be ready to start the pilot phase which will last about 10 months. The pilot operations have been planned to start in June 2008.

Finally, the outcomes assessment will be carried out and the project will be completed by May 2009.

Current status

A new organisation (INEC) replaced unexpectedly the original SatElections partner (IEC) in May 2011. INEC has still not yet confirmed its interest in pursuing the activities started by IEC.

Due to the lack of response from INEC, the consortium – led by Openet – has proposed to close the SatElections activities in DRC and to shift the focus of the collaboration pursued in the pilot activities from the national stakeholders in DRC to international organisations active in the Central and South Africa. In this respect, Openet has proposed the following three main activities:

  1. A new electoral eTraining service to support the African member countries of the “Economic Community of Central African States” (ECCAS), conceived in collaboration with the "Ecole de Formation en Afrique Central Electoral” (EFEAC) based in DRC and with the “European Centre for Electoral Support” (ECES) based in Brussels.
  2. Extend the scope of the eTraining and Capacity Building activity with a satellite radio based service in DRC to stimulate the implementation of strategies against climate changes and in favour of food security and rural/farmer subsistence. The activity will be conceived in the frame of the “Communication Initiative for Sustainable Development” programme in cooperation with FAO and the Italian Ministry of “Environment and Territory”.
  3. Support the “Rally to Read” initiative, pursuing eLearning/Educational assistance to very remote and rural schools in South Africa The above three activities have been negotiated and agreed with ESA on Feb 2012. For more info about the progress status click here "Satellite way for education (Sway4edu)".