"EISA’s interventions for 2009 were undertaken in the context of political developments on the continent. These developments included the realisation that democracy in Africa is still fragile as demonstrated by recent political developments in countries like Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Niger, Madagascar and Mauritania as well as recent failed elections in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. While the holding of regular elections having become a reality across the continent, the missing link has been the relationship between elections and the ability to move from procedural democracy to a substantive participatory democracy. At the continental level, the African Union has been called upon to play a stronger role in the promotion of democracy, peace and stability on the continent. Similarly, at the regional level, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are taking a more central role in democracy, governance and poverty reduction in member states. EISA strengthened its relationship with the African Union during 2009, providing support to the Democracy Electoral Assistance Unit in helping further professionalise the training and deployment of observation missions. The Institute also strengthened its relationships with the RECs - for example, conducting training for election observers deployed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC)."