As the American summer drew to a close, IFES hosted a small Training of Facilitators Course for some of its staff in Washington D.C. Coming just as the American presidential race heats up ahead of the November 2012 polls; the course was planned as part of project work for the headquarters’ staff and field-based staff.
Gathering at the Lombardy Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks away from the White House, ten (10) IFES staff members participated in an intensive course led by Rushdi Nackerdien and Ambar Zobairi, with Kamissa Camara assisting for two days. From 6 to 14 August 2012, participants based in London exchanged views with participants from Washington D.C., Bamako and Addis Ababa.
Participants had to conduct multiple icebreakers/energizers and co-facilitate multiple sessions during the course. The Introductory Module formed the core of their first presentations and appropriate course modules related to their project work were selected for their second presentations. Participants gave the programme high ratings overall in terms of content, delivery and their own participation. When asked about how they would apply the lessons learnt, they indicated that:
“One part of my work always has been in training area.”
“In several ways, in different levels it could be used.”
“We use it every day in our current project.”
“Facilitation of specific modules (Political Finance).”
“I think BRIDGE (both content and method) can be useful in any context because of its adaptability.”
“Training skills and techniques are very useful.”
“Train people on presentation/facilitation skills and technical election topics.”
“Both the content and the methodology are integral parts of my work and I anticipate to use considerably.”
“BRIDGE can be an integral part of our Election assistance program in Mali.”
Though we were cramped into a small venue, the small group size, benefit of free and fast Internet, as well as collegiality amongst participants made the course an invaluable contribution to everybody’s learning and enjoyment. Participants left the course invigorated about the potential for their projects, excited about new friendships and enthralled about the increased teamwork that had developed amongst a geographically dispersed project team.