The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance office in Addis Ababa twinned Media and Elections using BRIDGE in an English run training workshop held at the Radisson Blue Hotel from the 22 to 26 July 2013. The course was part of the African Union/International IDEA Joint Activity Plan funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid).
Sixteen top officials including a Deputy Chair and a Commissioner came from Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Cameroon, South Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia to take part in the training. 9 media representatives and journalists representing television, radio and print media drawn from Ghana and Ethiopia also participated in the workshop. The training team was led by Tomsie Dlamini, Expert Facilitator and saw the full accreditation of:
Atem Oben Henry Ekpeni, Director at Center for Democracy and Electoral Studies Cameroon.
Fegus Frans Lipenga, Director of Broadcasting, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, Malawi.
Sam Jones, Program Officer, International IDEA Stockholm, Sweden
The course materials were drawn from currently used Media module with additional materials taken from the freshly reviewed Media module, ensuring the training met the expectations of the participants and objectives of this module in BRIDGE. The course content was structured to hit and reflect a balance for the dual audience of media and election practitioners. In this light, the training made emphasis on concepts pertaining to both areas of work. The five days were organized as follows:
Day 1: Understanding free media and Electoral Cycle
Day 2: Role of the EMB to the media and the media to elections
Day 3: Managing the media; legal and institutional frameworks
Day 4: Media relations Techniques
Day 5: Disadvantaged groups and Strategies for effective Communication
Participants enthusiastically participated in all the activities of the workshop. Those among the participants who had experience eagerly shared their experiences with others in a manner that greatly enriched the training. The intervention of Paschal Chem, Communication officer of the Peace and Security Department at AUC on Social Media and Elections spiced the training and gave value to the use of guest speakers.
At the end of the course, presenting a vote of thanks, Tabitha Ndunge Mutemi speaking on behalf of the participants said, “we came somehow empty but going back full with information, knowledge and skills that we will apply in our daily work and the credibility of our respective organization with regards to EMB relations with the media”. Many of the participants expressed having met their expectations and wished for more of such workshops where ideas meet to foster relations and networks.
Authored by: Atem Oben Henry Ekpeni, BRIDGE Workshop Facilitator