How can I get training when I donít meet the requisite selection criteria?
So, youíre interested in becoming a Long-Term Observer, but the selection criteria for the NEEDS LTO training say you have to have been a Short-Term Observer at least twice in order to be considered. Youíve only done one STO, or none. How can you get selected?
Itís pretty unlikely that you would be selected unless you have something else going for you that would mitigate your lack of observation experience, such as experience in electoral technical assistance. Thereís a lot of competition for places Ė only 16 seats at each training event and 27 Member States who can apply. Youíd have to hope that everyone else who applied had the same or less experience than you.
The criterion of previous STO experience prior to LTO training is not arbitrary. It exists so that the organisers can ensure that the candidates have a basic level of understanding of how a mission works. It also shows a longer term commitment to the field. NEEDS is free of charge and also covers all of the expenses of the candidates who attend. Itís important to make sure, as much as possible, that the people who are selected are the right ones for the job. NEEDS represents an investment to improve the quality of the cadre of EU Election Observation Missions.
Bear in mind there are reputable organisations which offer fee-based LTO training courses. If youíre ready to make the investment, take a look at the websites and see what courses might be coming up that would suit you. Courses organised by UK Focal Point ERIS and German Focal Point ZIF are recognised as valid preparation for observation by the European Union.
Keep applying for STO and LTO positions if you think youíre ready and you fit the mission selection criteria. NEEDS has prepared an informal hand out for people who will be STOs for the first time. Itís free of charge and you can download a copy of it here.