“A total discovery” was how one participant described the BRIDGE workshop on civic education, media, electoral contestants, political finance and electoral observation held from 13 to 17 February 2017 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
The 25 participants included members of the following three civil society organizations: CESPAD, FOPRIDEH and ASONOG.
This workshop was organized by UNDP Country Office with the support of the UNDP LAC Regional Hub and the financial contribution of USAid, as part of the UNDP technical assistance to elections, citizen identification and civil society. Opening remarks for the workshop were provided by the Alissar Chaker, UNDP Deputy Representative.
The workshop aimed to provide the civil society organizations with concepts, tools and experiences that they can apply to their monitoring activities. In the short-term these relate primarily to the implementation of the new political finance law that will come into force later this year. The specific objectives were to:
Introduce the participants to the BRIDGE methodology;
Expose the participants to the essential principles and practices of civic education, media, electoral contestants, political finance and electoral observation;
Analyze the political finance law and discuss its implications;
Create a monitoring plan for the implementation of the law
The level of participation and engagement was quite high throughout. Many noted that they were very impressed with both the substantive content as well as the BRIDGE methodology. Almost 50% of the participants were women, and there were also a diversity of ages and levels of understanding, which allowed for the sharing of experience and expertise among participants. The constant interest for learning and high commitment of the participants was expressed by one who, with a very wide smile said “aprendemos muchísimo!!!”
On the last day, each of the participating organizations presented the monitoring plans that they had developed during the course, which they will subsequently integrate and implement through a cooperative platform.
It was observed throughout the workshop that this initiative should be followed by similar BRIDGE workshops to continue supporting the empowerment of the civil society organizations.
The facilitators for the course were Deryck Fritz, UNDP Electoral Consultant, Fernanda Lopes, UNDP Electoral Regional Adviser. The closing remarks were provided by Roly Davila, Chief Technical Adviser, UNDP Electoral Technical Assistance and Citizen Identification Project, and Sergio Membreño, Coordinator, UNDP Citizen Security and Governance Unit.