April 12, 2010

New Jobs Listing Area on the Website

  The BRIDGE website now has a section for job listings.
March 17, 2010

BRIDGE and ACE are now on Facebook

BRIDGE and ACE are now on Facebook! The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network is now online repository for electoral information and Your Portal to the World of Elections.
March 3, 2010

Australia Day Achievement Award to the BRIDGE Office

In presenting the awards, the Commissioner acknowledged the commitment and passion which all of the award recipients across the AEC brought to their work in 2009, and thanked them for their contribution towards enhancing the AEC’s reputation for excellence.
December 9, 2009

BRIDGE Workshop – AEC Victoria

Recently the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) organised a BRIDGE (Introduction) workshop for new staff in their Victorian State Office.
September 6, 2009

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

ACE Administration and Cost of Elections [Project], formerly the ACE Project, now known as the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network (www.aceproject.org). AEC Australian Electoral Commission (www.aec.gov.au). Accreditation The process of becoming an accredited BRIDGE facilitator. There are two steps – 1) becoming semi-accredited by attending a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant and successfully completing a TtF workshop and 2) becoming fully accredited by completing supervised module workshop facilitation in the field. Assessment The process of estimating the value/quality of something before or during a process/event. BRIDGE Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections. Refers to the curriculum (both Versions 1 and 2), the BRIDGE partnership and the BRIDGE network, BRIDGE programs and BRIDGE workshops (www.bridge-project.org) BRIDGE Office Based in Melbourne, Australia at the Australian Electoral Commission, the BRIDGE Office is the central point of information for BRIDGE. The office holds and updates the curriculum, and administers the database of BRIDGE facilitators. BRIDGE Network Individuals and organisations. Past and present BRIDGE partner organisations, BRIDGE office staff, project managers, program developers, facilitators, and workshop participants. There are many email groups keeping former workshop participants in touch with each other. BRIDGE partner committee Representatives from the five BRIDGE partners. They meet annually at a Partner Committee Meeting (formerly the Expert Advisory Group – EAG). BRIDGE partners The five BRIDGE partners – the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), International IDEA, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), UNDP and the UN Electoral Assistance Division. BRIDGE program A customised series of activities (e.g. module workshops, capacity development, skills transfer) to achieve set program objectives. BRIDGE website www.bridge-project.org – the central repository for BRIDGE resources, information and networking. Capacity development A process through which individuals, groups, institutions, organisations and societies enhance their abilities to identify and meet development challenges in a sustainable manner. Client organisation The organisation for which a BRIDGE program is to be conducted. This can include election management bodies (EMBs), civil society groups, political parties, the media, etc. Can also be referred to as a hosting organisation. Customisation The process of adapting the BRIDGE materials to suit the specific needs and objectives of the project, program or workshop, targeting different audiences. EC European Commission. EMB The generic term for an election management body. Evaluation Evaluation – the process of measuring the amount of something during and/or after a process/event. Facilitation Manual The reference manual for BRIDGE facilitators, outlining facilitation techniques and workshop delivery guidelines. Facilitator Someone who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion. The preferred terminology in BRIDGE (as opposed to ‘trainer’). Facilitators Handbook The folder/handbook containing all relevant workshop resources for a BRIDGE facilitator to deliver a specific workshop. Foundation modules The two introductory modules for the BRIDGE curriculum – Introduction to Electoral Systems, and Strategic and Financial Planning. International IDEA International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (www.idea.int). IFES International Foundation for Electoral Systems (www.ifes.org). Implementation Manual This manual. It provides guidance to individuals and organisations responsible for designing, implementing, delivering and evaluating training workshops that use material taken from the BRIDGE curriculum. Implementation Workshop A short workshop designed to support individuals and organisations responsible for designing and setting up BRIDGE programs and workshops. It aims to familiarise participants with what BRIDGE is (its scope and flexibility), and how to best implement it. Implementing organisation A non-BRIDGE partner organisation that runs a BRIDGE Program. Also referred to as ‘implementing partner’. Modules The 23 topics within the curriculum. Workshops can be designed from one, or a combination of several, of the modules. Monitoring The maintenance of regular surveillance of a process/event. Needs Assessment The research and consultation process that precedes a) the decision to run a BRIDGE program, b) the design of the program. Can include a scoping mission. Participants The individuals who participate in BRIDGE workshops as part of their professional development. Participants Handbook The folder/handbook containing all relevant ‘Participants Notes’ documents for a specific workshop, provided to each workshop participant. Regionalisation Strategy to promote and assist the use of BRIDGE in a region, including translation and additional content. Scoping Mission A feasibility study. Showcase A customised workshop that exemplifies BRIDGE content, materials and methodology and which exposes key players and decision makers to relevant aspects of BRIDGE so that they can make an informed choice on its applicability. Thematic group The three themes of the BRIDGE curriculum that each module falls under – Electoral Architecture (structures and design for elections); Working with Electoral Stakeholders (the various interested parties for elections) and Electoral Operations (the ‘how to’ for elections). TtF workshop BRIDGE Train the Facilitator workshop, which aims to accredit a high-quality group of facilitators for BRIDGE. UNDP United Nations Development Programme (www.undp.org). UNEAD United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ead/). Version 1 The first BRIDGE curriculum, published in 2002, containing 10 modules. Version 2 The updated BRIDGE curriculum, launched in 2008, containing 24 modules categorised into three thematic groups. Workshop A discrete BRIDGE training event. For example, a module workshop, a TtF workshop, an Implementation or Customisation […]
September 6, 2009

Copyright and Disclaimer Notice

Copyright: 2008 (Version 2 – 2008). Copyright: The BRIDGE partners believe that the open and free exchange of information is critical in promoting democratic elections. However, BRIDGE is a program designed to be conducted by accredited BRIDGE Project facilitators only. For this reason, no BRIDGE Project materials may be used or reproduced in any form or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in the material, or for non-commercial, education purposes. Disclaimer: While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of BRIDGE materials, the project partners assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information of instructions contained herein. Copyright Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright, but in some cases this has not been possible. The BRIDGE partners welcome any information that would redress this situation. BRIDGE contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. The material is being made available for purposes of education and discussion in order to better understand the complex role of electoral administration in today’s world. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in relevant national laws. The material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this project for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright […]
September 6, 2009

About This Manual

The experience of running BRIDGE programs has confirmed that achieving the best possible outcomes requires extensive consultation, detailed planning, meticulous preparation, systematic implementation with an eye to sustainability, and careful evaluation. This manual has been designed to address these factors. The manual also provides an historical background to BRIDGE and its materials, values and philosophy. This manual is not designed to be read from cover to cover, but rather is a reference tool for BRIDGE partners and BRIDGE implementing organisations. Some chapters contain step by step detail – for example in preparing a scoping mission, a project document, or choosing a workshop venue – which are primarily relevant to the team embarking on the tasks. Other chapters have a more reflective bent, discussing good practice, BRIDGE’s fit in capacity development programs, and the electoral cycle, for example. Each chapter opens with a box describing the main content, but also who the chapter is most relevant for, whether it be BRIDGE partner focal persons, program managers, or administrators. The manual can also be a useful resource for facilitators, both when they are planning to conduct BRIDGE workshops and during the training process. It serves to introduce facilitators to BRIDGE, and their important role within the project. The first section introduces BRIDGE as a professional development tool and as a valuable part of electoral assistance programming. The following sections basically follow the chronology ‘before the program’, ‘during the program’ and ‘after the program’, containing chapters on needs assessment, program design, preparation and running of the BRIDGE workshops, evaluation and specific sustainability issues such as facilitator resources and recordkeeping. Each chapter contains sections which ‘focus on’ particular cross cutting themes or issues such as translation and regionalisation. Additional reference material is available in two areas: The Annexes: At the end of the Implementation Manual are annexes, referred to throughout the manual itself. Each annex is a reference document to assist understanding of various implementation issues. The Toolkit: The Toolkit is available on the BRIDGE website (www.bridge-project.org), as well as in hard copy format (request from the BRIDGE Office). The toolkit contains useful implementation resources such as checklists, templates and pro forma. References to toolkit materials are marked with […]
September 6, 2009


In December 1999, a group of prominent electoral experts from around the world met in Canberra, Australia to discuss the potential structure and content of a short capacity-building program for electoral administrators. They were asked to reflect on everything which, with the benefit of hindsight, they wished they had known when starting work on their first election. The knowledge they identified formed the basis for what has become the BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) curriculum – arguably the world’s most comprehensive curriculum in electoral processes. BRIDGE is the umbrella name for the cooperative effort between the five BRIDGE Partner Organisations that develop and maintain the BRIDGE package of products and services. Roles within the BRIDGE partnership include membership on the Partner Committee and providing BRIDGE focal persons in each partner organisation. The expanded BRIDGE partnership now includes two new partners, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), each with a strong track record in implementation of electoral support projects in a wide variety of countries. Within the BRIDGE Office based in the Australian Electoral Commission in Melbourne, Australia, there is a BRIDGE Coordinator and several full-time project officers who are responsible for developing the curriculum and the BRIDGE website, for providing advice and support to implementers of BRIDGE, maintaining a database of all BRIDGE facilitators, keeping records of all BRIDGE workshops conducted around the world, and dealing with other ad hoc project requirements as they arise. From the beginning, we at the BRIDGE Office have been blessed to work with the most talented and committed co-writers, all of them experts in some aspect of elections. We have all shared the view that the educational philosophy of BRIDGE is that the best teaching should involve learning by all, including the teachers. We are committed to an activity based, ‘inquiry learning’ approach. We have all believed that the teaching approach of BRIDGE should model all of the democratic standards and principles that BRIDGE aims to nurture. We all share the belief that the best learning environment is one where everyone is respected and where all opinions and efforts are valued. We also firmly believe in the principle of consulting the users of BRIDGE in order to improve BRIDGE. Most importantly, we have all worked on the basis that BRIDGE is not a ‘quick fix’. It is a long term, professional development program. Local ownership of the content and methodology of BRIDGE is essential if BRIDGE is to successfully meet its stated objective. That being: To give insights into the principles, skills and challenges involved in the conduct of properly run elections. I believe that we have created something which genuinely helps to build the capacity not only of those new to elections, but also of those who have been in electoral administration for a long time and all stakeholders in the electoral process. BRIDGE builds teams, it encourages sharing, and it helps electoral administrators find the information they need to meet the challenges of their vitally important jobs. Of that, we can all be justly proud. BRIDGE is in a process of continuous development and improvement, as the curriculum has evolved from Version 1 to Version 2, and as BRIDGE workshops are being run in increasingly diverse situations. One evolution is a widening of scope, from initially being a curriculum in election administration to focusing on the wider electoral process as well as the associated issues of Democracy and Governance. This has placed much more emphasis on the role of stakeholders both in the design of the modules and as potential target audiences for the workshops.  Version 2 of BRIDGE is a huge curriculum with all its attendant resources and that combined with the broadening of the potential target audience has placed a great deal more responsibility on implementers to build their skills in customisation of programs and workshops. The emphasis of this second edition of the BRIDGE Implementation Manual therefore, is to again offer practical advice and tools to those planning, project managing and implementing BRIDGE programs around the world. As with the Implementation Manual for Version 1, this manual will again contain all the detailed information necessary to ensure the smooth planning, conduct and evaluation of all types of BRIDGE programs and workshops. However, this time there will be more emphasis on areas such as customisation, translation and facilitator accreditation. The development of BRIDGE has been the work of many hands, and the content of the curriculum materials, and of this Manual, represent a distillation of input from virtually everyone who has used or had contact with BRIDGE.  The BRIDGE partners are deeply grateful for their support. Ross Attrill – BRIDGE […]
August 18, 2009

Special considerations for running a TtF workshop

Implementing a Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop A TtF is also a more complex implementation task than a standard BRIDGE module. The nature of the workshop is that it is quite intensive in non-facilitation tasks, and needs to be quite narrowly targeted and planned. Thorough planning is crucial for a successful TtF. Special requirements A TtF is much less structured and predictable than a standard BRIDGE module because of the scope that it gives to participants to develop and create their own activities. Because of this, implementation of a TtF needs to take some extra issues into account. Administrative support Administrative support is essential to a TtF. A TtF involves many more ad hoc administrative tasks (such as procurement, printing and photocopying) than a standard BRIDGE module. Facilitators will know from the beginning of a standard module the activities they plan to present, and the resources they will need. In a TtF, as participants are developing and creating activities throughout the two weeks, this is much less predictable and it is essential to have an administrative support person to deal with participants’ requests and the flexibility of the workshop, in addition to usual BRIDGE administrative tasks such as venue management or travel. Venue requirements A TtF requires sufficient space to allow participants to work quietly in partners preparing activities and presentations. Breakout rooms are highly desirable, although a large enough main room can be sufficient. There should be enough tables and chairs for each pair to work separately, without distraction from other pairs. A quiet area to give feedback is also essential. Facilitators will spend the last day of the TtF giving verbal evaluations to the participants on their performance at the TtF, and ideally there should be several private rooms or areas where this can be done. Workshop materials TtF materials differ from standard module materials. In addition to the Facilitators and Participants handbooks, there is also a Participants Workbook, Facilitation Manual and the BRIDGE curriculum. Implementation Manuals should also be provided for participants who are likely to be involved in implementation as well as facilitation. There should be ample generic stationery available to allow participants to be creative, but also to work with the kinds of things that are likely to be available to them – e.g. coloured paper, glue and sticky tape, markers. AV materials It may be useful to ask participants to bring along laptops if they have one, to facilitate their activity development, or to have several PCs available for use. However, computer access is not essential, and it can also be useful for participants to learn how to operate without computer support, as they may be expected to facilitate in areas where this is not available. Access to a photocopier and printer is essential for a TtF as participants will want to copy handouts, and if they have laptop or PC access, to print out materials. As usual, a projector (OHP or data) is also required, along with a screen or bare white wall for projections, and facilitators may choose to use DVDs/videos which may require a television and player. A small stereo for music can also be useful for both activity work and more informal use. Social outing Ideally, a social outing should be arranged for the middle weekend of the two-week TtF. It provides a welcome break to an intense and lengthy workshop, plus the opportunity for participants to socialise. If participants are international or from outside the host city, a cultural outing is […]
August 18, 2009

Running a BRIDGE Workshop

This section looks at what happens during the workshop itself. Facilitators should also refer to the Facilitation Manual for further facilitation-specific information. Methodology Principles Reminder Those facilitating BRIDGE workshops are encouraged to: create a learning environment that is respectful, safe and conducive to open and constructive dialogue keep lecturing to a minimum, instead using participatory methods for learning such as discussion, debates, mock trials, games, role plays and simulations connect people’s lived experience directly to abstract concepts and legal documents provide for an open-minded examination of electoral concerns with opportunities for participants to arrive at positions different to the facilitator’s include an international/global dimension to how elections are practiced, (e.g. how it manifests itself both at home and abroad) affirm the belief that the individual can make a difference and provide examples of individuals who have done so include an action dimension that provides participants with opportunities to act on their beliefs and understanding. These actions should address problems both at home and elsewhere in the world explicitly link every topic or issue to relevant articles of the broader international instruments on elections and democracy, such as UN Conventions or regional declarations be responsive to concerns related to cultural diversity, especially in the design of activities should reflect a variety of perspectives (e.g., race, gender, religion, cultural/national traditions). Preparation days As stated earlier, the workshop should be preceded by several days of preparation by the facilitation team. The opening session No matter how much effort is put into providing participants with material that explains BRIDGE in detail, many will still arrive on the first day knowing little about BRIDGE. There may also be participants who fail to see how BRIDGE is relevant to them. It is therefore vitally important that the opening ceremony of BRIDGE be supported by key figures in the client organisation, and that an overview be given to participants. If the head of the organisation is prepared to give ten minutes of his or her time to say how important he or she thinks the program is, it can really help to build a positive environment from the start. Care should be taken to ensure that the arrangements for opening a BRIDGE workshop have been thoroughly planned. Among other things, it might be necessary to: invite key and/or high profile personnel to attend this session, and ask some of them (especially clients and donors) to make welcoming comments before an appropriate BRIDGE facilitator introduces the workshop invite the media (perhaps through the distribution of a press release) arrange the training room furniture, with appropriate seating for VIPs take photographs provide special refreshments The following items relate to the opening session as outlined in the Facilitators Notes of every module, and highlight some implementation issues for each. Welcome and workshop administration A sample of an introductory speech is given in the Introduction module. To adjust such a speech to local circumstances, the following elements might be included: introductions of visitors and special and important guests explanation of the role of consultants, if they are being used an expression of gratitude to relevant people and donors what BRIDGE stands for the background to BRIDGE the main objectives of the workshop what participants will take away with them the BRIDGE methodology (in particular, adult learning principles, flexibility, interactivity, informality, awareness of diversity and differences in expectations) main characteristics of the workshop Under the last of these points, it may be appropriate to reiterate that BRIDGE provides a forum in which participants can work together through discussion, debate, presentation, role-play and simulation. Providing from the outset a detailed description of what BRIDGE is (and is not) is critical. Once welcoming speeches have been made and the workshop introduced, facilitators should outline some of the practical aspects of the workshop. They might wish to: go through housekeeping matters (for example venue, security issues, car parking, access passes and ID badges) discuss administrative matters (for example participants’ obligations as employees, and remuneration and allowances in relation to workshop attendance) run through the agenda discuss with participants the starting and finishing time of daily sessions recall that the schedule is flexible and, therefore, may be changed according to circumstances mention that participants will be working in teams, pairs and individually, which implies time frames may vary depending on the type of activities conducted Facilitators should take the time to introduce participants to BRIDGE if they are new to it. If possible, provide the BRIDGE brochure or refer participants before the workshop to the BRIDGE website. There is a PN document called ‘BRIDGE Project Information’ in every module which also covers basic information about BRIDGE. The contact list should also be circulated at this point to obtain contact details for all participants. Addressing participant expectations We have discussed module objectives (those that were developed by the curriculum designer) and program objectives (objectives specific to the context and participants of the program being run), based on which the particular workshop being run has been designed. It is important for facilitators to manage any mismatch between participant expectations and the program objectives on day one. One of the standard exercises on the first day of any BRIDGE training, following housekeeping and the official welcome, is an activity called ‘Introduction and Participant Expectations’. Facilitators may discover at this point that, despite having developed the program objectives through discussion with stakeholders, and despite having communicated them in advance, that nonetheless misunderstanding or miscommunication can occur. Re-aligning participant expectations with program objectives (and program design) should be done as early as possible – and a variety of techniques can be used: Open discussion together with the participants at the end of the activity Quick discussion amongst the facilitation team and hosting organisation to assess whether changes to the curriculum are possible at that late hour (such as the addition of a guest speaker, or shift of focus) Individual discussion with those participants directly affected (whose expectations will not realistically be filled) – experience has shown that early recognition of individual concerns can be enough to pre-empt any discontent at a later stage Curriculum framework and context (‘This Module in BRIDGE’) It is important for participants to be able to see the workshop within a wider context. This includes the: Wider BRIDGE program Electoral cycle BRIDGE curriculum framework Ideally organisers should promote the workshop as a component of the broader program, and participants should be aware of that. Placing it within the electoral cycle and the BRIDGE framework will underline this. Guest speakers Throughout the conduct of BRIDGE activities, it is recommended that specialists be invited to address participants on relevant issues. The importance of local experts cannot be over-emphasised, as they serve two important purposes: first, they provide a change from the regular facilitators; and, second, they can provide highly context-specific information. Relying on guest speakers is particularly recommended when facilitators do not have an extensive electoral background. People who have expert knowledge in many areas of electoral administration are likely to be found both within the host country EMB and outside (for example, from academia or donors). To show appreciation to such guests in the most appropriate way, the project manager will need to consider whether their contribution is part of their normal job and whether they have incurred substantial expenses in requesting leave from work or getting to the venue. Photographs A digital camera is extremely useful in a BRIDGE workshop. Photographs of opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies and certificate presentations, group dinners, guest speakers, and groups working together and having fun, serve two important functions: As a visual record of participation that can be given to participants to remind them of the personal outcomes achieved through the workshop – a group photo should appear on the same page as the participants contact list, so that those who do not normally work together can easily network (putting faces to names helps), a central element of the capacity development objective of BRIDGE programs As material for BRIDGE archives – effective documentation (including thorough record keeping) of all workshops will allow the BRIDGE Office to continually improve BRIDGE programs, which is one of the founding partners’ main objectives If a digital camera is not available, standard photos should be taken and forwarded to the BRIDGE Office for scanning. Monitoring during the workshop Monitoring is a vital part of the evaluation process, which is discussed further in 7.1 Evaluating BRIDGE. Monitoring during a workshop should cover (at the minimum) facilitators, venue, materials and teaching aids, and should include elements of group, peer and individual feedback as well as trainer evaluations. Participants should be asked to give an indication of their own experiences of training and learning. Although BRIDGE workshops are appraised by participants on a daily basis, using evaluation sheets (each module contains a generic sheet for use), there are also other methods – referred to in the Facilitators Notes – that facilitators may choose to use to measure the effectiveness of training during the workshops. There are real advantages in continuous monitoring. Daily appraisal – including verbal or icebreaker evaluation either at the start or the end of the day – enables facilitators to modify their workshops and address any issues as they emerge. That way, feedback is unlikely to be missed. Yet, experience shows in some cases that those who are evaluated and supposed to give feedback may get tired of it, which will result in a half-hearted response. As a result, the feedback will not be as accurate as expected. Group evaluation Various forms of verbal group evaluation are suitable for the end of a day or the whole workshop. Their strength is that people are usually more prepared to make extensive comments in a small group discussion, than in writing. Filling out feedback forms has the inherent problem of being completed in isolation from other participants but is anonymous. Hearing others comments can, however, make the less confident members of the group feel more secure about their opinions but it puts all in the position of having to justify their opinions to the rest of the group. Key moment snapshots Evaluation can be done less frequently, especially when the activities do not vary significantly from day to day. People tend to give much more feedback when they see or experience new things. To counteract possible weariness and minimise the risk of losing valuable feedback, it might be advisable to have a set of debriefing sessions among the implementers at fixed intervals or depending on the novelty of the topics or activities covered. Other tasks to be performed in relation with the workshop monitoring are summarised in Table 4 below. Table 4: Monitoring Tasks Who is being monitored? Type of monitoring Product of monitoring Project team/ counterpart training unit The client organisation may assign an “evaluator” to assess the workshop A report from the client organisation Facilitators Facilitators may undertake self appraisal throughout the workshop Feedback may be provided by co-facilitators Feedback may come from participants Combined appraisal methods: evidence of learning may be compared to objectives, for example by examining completed flipcharts, group work outputs, or individual presentations Possible adaptation or adjustment of training Daily debriefing Weekly assessment (if needed) Participants Depending on length of workshop, assign participants as peer evaluators Daily written and/or verbal appraisal can be provided Facilitators should try to ensure that feedback is relevant, and that the feedback process does not become boring, monotonous or repetitive for participants A variety of creative relevant appraisal techniques should be used daily in sessions Written evaluation sheets/forms on materials, logistics, training quality, trainers, contents relevance and application, and areas of improvement Facilitator evaluation Reflection Asking participants a few questions during the workshop can help check what facilitators could be changing. Questions could include: What is one thing I could do differently next time in my role as facilitator? What would you like me to be doing that I am not? What could I have done to make this meeting more productive? What should I be doing to make you (the team) self-sufficient (not need me)? What has to happen for you to rate our meetings a "5?" These could be done at the end of sessions or at the end of the day before the workshop is completed. However there is a danger that participants will not want to offend and will give facilitators a very positive review. Observe participant outputs You can often learn a great deal about your own work by looking at the work the participants do in groups. Although subjective, if you can see that their flipcharts etc are poorly put together, or not complete, or that discussion is off the topic this suggests either 1) the task and or roles were not clear 2) the task is not seen as relevant to needs 3) there is something wrong with the group dynamics – or some combination of these. Keeping notes on whether these occur and what remedial strategies you took is a useful way to add to the training process evaluation. Closing the workshop Like opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies are an important formal activity. To mark the conclusion of a BRIDGE workshop, it might be appropriate to organise a lunch or dinner for the participants and the key personnel involved in the project. It is perhaps even more important to have such people handing out the completion certificate to their ‘employees’ than having them provide welcoming speeches at the start. Local protocol officials should also be consulted on these matters. Refer to the Facilitators Notes for more information on closing activities (including simple things like having participants stand in circle and exchanging positive comments on their respective performance as a form of goodbye; presenting them with mementos (gifts); taking group photos; conducting informal evaluations; and giving speeches). A typical closing ceremony (following a lunch) could proceed as follows. 14:00 Participants assemble in the training room (where furniture has been moved during the lunch break and seats rearranged in theatre-style, with a table for VIPs at front). 14:10 The Master of Ceremonies (facilitator or project manager) introduces a VIP from the client organisation (for example, a Commissioner). 14:15 The Commissioner delivers a concluding speech. 14:20 The Master of Ceremonies invites the Commissioner to hand out certificates as names of participants are called (photos of presentation taken by administrative assistant) – this procedure should be practiced first, so that everyone is standing in the right place to facilitate efficient presentation and photography. If mementos are given, they should be handed out in line after certificates have been distributed. 14:30 Everyone is invited to assemble for a group photo (ensuring that key people are in the photo, not taking them, and using at least two cameras for good measure). 14:40 The project manager concludes with any housekeeping matters (for example inviting people to check whether they have all of their belongings), organises an informal goodbye activity if appropriate, and ensures facilitators say goodbye to all participants (thanking them for their participation) before they leave. Certificates At the end of a workshop, in addition to key tools and resources to take back to their agency and modules containing theory, practice and resources relating to each electoral administration topic, participants receive a certificate of completion or a certificate of attendance. BRIDGE certificates follow a standard format that contains the BRIDGE logo, BRIDGE partners’ logos, dates, venue, and description of the workshop. A generic certificate can be downloaded from the facilitators’ section of the BRIDGE website. It is important that close attention be paid to listing donor and supporting organisations and placing logos in an adequate manner, getting the appropriate person to sign the certificate, and, of course, ensuring that names are correctly spelled and calligraphed, if hand-written rather than printed. The BRIDGE Office should be sent records of who has completed the module (participant list), and whether any facilitators received their full accreditation at this workshop. At this stage, BRIDGE workshops do not accrue credits towards any university course. Generic templates for the BRIDGE certificates (for workshop completion, and both partial and full accreditation) can be obtained from the BRIDGE […]
August 18, 2009

Focus On: The BRIDGE Website

The BRIDGE website has the following functions: To explain BRIDGE to potential clients and interested parties The BRIDGE website explains what BRIDGE is to potential clients through a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) area, a summary of the curriculum, news articles, upcoming events, discussion forum, statistics, reports and an online version of this implementation manual To inform BRIDGE stakeholders about current BRIDGE issues and events The site informs stakeholders about BRIDGE current issues and events through a quarterly newsletter publication. The BRIDGE Facilitator Bulletin is for anyone who is interested in keeping informed about BRIDGE news with a focus on facilitator and implementer issues. This newsletter can be subscribed to through the front of the BRIDGE website. The ‘News’ section of the site informs stakeholders about BRIDGE events. This area is specifically designed so that facilitators or implementers can write articles and reports about a completed workshop and have it posted to a central point where BRIDGE Partners, facilitators, implementers, clients or participants can read about what is happening with BRIDGE. The ‘News’ feature of the site also acts as a repository of information on past workshops and programs. To send reports about a completed BRIDGE workshop, facilitators or implementers can email the article to the BRIDGE Office (projectoffice@bridge-project.org) along with a selection of photos from the workshop. Articles are also welcome in languages other than English. To provide a central point of contact for BRIDGE related queries The website also acts as a central point for individuals to submit BRIDGE related questions. The BRIDGE website has a ‘contact us’ section. Messages posted to this area are sent to all BRIDGE Office staff through the email address – projectoffice@bridge-project.org. The BRIDGE Office will review the emails and either respond directly or forward the email to the relevant Partner organisation. To maintain a database of past and future BRIDGE events The BRIDGE calendar is a record of past and upcoming BRIDGE workshops, meetings and other events. All BRIDGE events must be posted to the BRIDGE calendar using the online notification form to be considered officially BRIDGE. Where Partner approval has not already been sought, the online notification will be considered a request for approval and sent to the BRIDGE Partners. Events will be posted to the BRIDGE calendar following review from the BRIDGE Office and approval from the BRIDGE Partners. To maintain a database of BRIDGE facilitators The BRIDGE website maintains a database of facilitators. BRIDGE facilitators are registered to the website when they successfully complete their TtF. Information is kept on their contact details, BRIDGE experience and accreditation information.Facilitators are able to progressively update their own profile as they accumulate BRIDGE experience. Accreditation is also done through the BRIDGE website through online accreditation forms. Applications to become Workshop Facilitator should be submitted by the facilitator who is doing the accrediting, not the applicant. Applications to become Accrediting or Expert should be submitted by the applicant themselves, identifying a referee. This database is one of the tools that the BRIDGE Office and Partners use when recommending facilitators for planned workshops. Registered users of the BRIDGE website may log in and search the facilitator database themselves. Here they can find facilitators by specific criteria such as their accreditation status and languages spoken. To provide facilitators with access to the curriculum and other resources needed to conduct BRIDGE workshopsThe BRIDGE website hosts the up to date curriculum as well as translated versions for use by facilitators. Only accredited facilitators and the BRIDGE Partners have access to this section of the website. In addition to the curriculum this area has ‘extra resources’ such as brochures, posters, nametags and folder covers and dividers. Facilitators can also access the artwork files should they need to customise these resources. To provide facilitators with evaluation tools for their BRIDGE programs or workshops The BRIDGE website has several forms and tools for both facilitator and participant evaluations. To provide a forum for the BRIDGE community The BRIDGE website hosts a BRIDGE forum to facilitate discussion and communication between all BRIDGE stakeholders. This facility also has the function of informing the BRIDGE Office and Project Partners about potential issues that may need to be addressed at Partner Committee Meetings. The forum is publically viewable, although only registered users can post comments. Website checklist: facilitators and implementers Register as a website user Update your own profile Notify the BRIDGE Office of BRIDGE events and update information if needed Download BRIDGE curriculum, materials as necessary Send an article about each BRIDGE event for publication, including photos Complete any accreditation forms if relevant Complete facilitator evaluation forms giving feedback for the BRIDGE event […]
August 18, 2009

Preparing for a BRIDGE Module Workshop

Although they may involve practical tasks, most of the activities conducted in the initial phase of a project are research-related and, therefore, of an essentially theoretical nature. Their purpose is to define the framework within which training is going to take place. This chapter details the specific measures to be taken to ensure effective implementation of the actual workshops that will make up the bulk of the BRIDGE program. Selecting facilitators The success of BRIDGE depends on the quality of the facilitators who deliver it. The program team should have already identified facilitators who may be available for the workshops, and facilitators should already be involved in the customisation process. More information on the dynamics of a facilitation team can be found in 5. BRIDGE Facilitators, however this section looks at some of the logistical considerations implementers should take into account when preparing for a workshop. Employment conditions BRIDGE is designed to develop capacity in an organisation, and once established, a BRIDGE program should be using local facilitators from within the client organisation, in which case their employment as a facilitator for a workshop will depend on the organisation’s own human resources conditions. However, when bringing in external facilitators, particularly for organisations or countries that are just starting a BRIDGE program, there are other issues to consider. Contracts and agreements Upon recruitment, a facilitator may be asked to sign an agreement or contract. Fees The BRIDGE Office does not prescribe a fee for facilitators – this is a matter of negotiation between the facilitator and the implementing organisation, and will need to consider issues such as experience, skills and regional rates. A convention usually followed for BRIDGE programs is that partially accredited facilitators are not remunerated for their time, until they achieve full accreditation in the field – the work completed is seen as pure professional development. Allowances As stated in the budgeting section, travel and other allowances for facilitators should already be taken into account. Availability Where large projects employ several facilitators, it might also be worth having the program manager check when they are available for training and keep a list of possible dates. It is also wise, when large numbers of facilitators are involved in different workshops, to record the actual number of hours worked. Facilitator preparation and coordination When selecting facilitators to run workshops, it is essential that preparation time is factored in. A facilitator cannot be expected to turn up on the first day of the workshop and start from there – they will need at least several days beforehand to meet with the rest of the team (particularly where they do not know or work with each other) and establish and maintain the team dynamic. Team members will need to: discuss and agree on their respective roles and responsibilities to create a supportive environment agree on the outcomes of the workshop review the relevant workshop content and collate the resources (if this has not already been done) create the final agenda for the workshop (see ‘Finetuning the agenda – a typical training day’ below) Where three or more facilitators are involved, close and effective communication is vital, and it may be appropriate to designate a program manager to coordinate and ensure such communication. As a guide, you will need to calculate the appropriate number of preparation days for any given workshop. As a general guide, facilitators should have as many preparation days as there are days in the workshop. Things to consider when calculating preparation day numbers include: How experienced is the facilitation team in delivering BRIDGE workshops? How experienced is the team in delivering this particular module workshop? How much customisation is required for the workshop? How much of an administrative role will the facilitators have to play? Are briefings required for guest speakers/interpreters? Sufficient preparation time and effective communication within the team are vital to the quality and success of the workshop. Selecting participants At this stage, program managers should already know who the module workshops are targeted to, but there are several things to consider when selecting, nominating, or requesting expressions of interest from participants for specific workshops. A broad range of organisations and individuals can benefit from taking part in BRIDGE. Potential target groups of BRIDGE are: Practising election administrators from developing democracies Electoral administrators in more established democracies who may need professional development or a team building exercise Stakeholders in the electoral process in all contexts, such as contestants, the media, civil society groups, etc. Participant prerequisites and criteria Participants should: ideally have some prior or current experience in the electoral field, or be about to take part in election-related activities be motivated individuals, committed to the democratic process be willing to share information be willing to participate in the evaluation and further design of the program Participant group dynamics While the choice of participants in a BRIDGE module workshop is likely to be made by the client organisation, the following suggestions could be offered to it: Number of participants – The ideal group size would be 15-25 participants. Gender balance – As with choosing facilitators, it is preferable to have a balance of male and female participants in the workshop, bearing in mind the principles outlined in IDEA Gender Equality Policy (See www.idea.int/policies/gender_policy). Hierarchical balance – To ensure maximum benefits for the client organisation, efforts should be made to achieve a balance in participation, with different levels of the hierarchy and areas of work being represented. Geographical balance – There are also advantages in having a balanced mix of international, regional and national participants, which provides them with a broader perspective on issues relating to electoral management. Participant expectations and preparation It is important that all participants, whether they have been selected by advertising for expressions of interest, or designated by their employer, are fully informed about what to expect from the workshops. A briefing (or a very detailed letter) serving that purpose should include: A clear description of what BRIDGE is and is not (and what it can and cannot do) BRIDGE documentation, for example copies of the BRIDGE brochure, and the BRIDGE website address Information about salaries, allowances and other administrative matters It is also important to obtain information about what the individual participants do expect from the workshops. This enables a program and workshops to be fine-tuned to best meet their needs, address any misconceptions early, and also provide a basis for post-workshop evaluation, as responses can be compared before and after training. More about dealing with participant expectations at the workshop itself is covered in the next chapter. Surveying participants The following questions about BRIDGE could be asked of the participants. Have you heard of BRIDGE? Can you describe the main objective of this workshop? What are you hoping to get out of the BRIDGE program? The following questions about their organisation could be asked: Did you participate in an induction program when you first started at your organisation? What types of professional development activities (e.g. training programs) have you participated in whilst working there? What type of professional development activities (e.g. training programs) would benefit you most in your current role? The following questions about the standards and principles underlying good electoral practice could be asked: What are the principles that underlie the best practice of an election? What are the values that underlie the best practice of an organisation like yours? What are the skills needed by an electoral administrator? What are the rules and regulations for running elections in your country? Questions should be tailored to the particulars of the workshop being envisaged. Administration and logistics Administration and logistics play a key role in the success of a program. Without adequate planning, poor logistics and administration can have a negative impact on the program. Administrative support It is recommended that an administrative assistant be employed for the duration of a workshop to record all material developed on the whiteboard, poster paper and overhead projector slides, and then create notes, summaries of activities, and statements of outcomes of workshops. Such notes or summaries could be photocopied and distributed (as well as archived) during the workshop. This frees the facilitators from these matters and allows them to concentrate on the workshop contents. The administrative assistant could also liaise between participants, facilitators and program organisers on any matters relating to the workshop management. Liaison and communication between facilitators, and with participants It is essential that facilitators meet not only before the workshop begins but also regularly while it is being conducted. Ideally, for familiarisation purposes, these meetings should take place at the venue where the workshop is going to be held. At such meetings, facilitators should go through the Facilitators Notes and all associated resources in detail, to check their accuracy. They should also at this time identify, collect and check all the training aids. Facilitators, who are responsible for ensuring that all workshop arrangements are in place, should liaise with the personnel responsible for each of the support structures. Logistical problems (such as transportation and venue appropriateness) can be a major source of dissatisfaction if not dealt with appropriately. Throughout the workshop, it is important that facilitators remain aware of the needs and expectations of participants. Problems should be dealt with promptly, before they become major issues. Finetuning the agenda – a typical training day A typical training day begins at 9.00 am (09:00) and ends at 4.00 pm (16:00) in the afternoon. Sessions are usually divided as follows: Time Description of Session 8.30 am – 9.00 am Registration (refreshments) 9.00 am – 10.30 am Session (early morning) 10.30 am – 11.00 am Break 11.00 am – 12.30 pm Session (late morning) 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm Break (lunch) 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm Session (early afternoon) 3.00 pm – 3.15 pm Break 3.15 pm – 4.00 pm Session (late afternoon) Sessions are usually for one and a half hours’ duration – with longer sessions better scheduled in the morning (when attention spans are greater). Optimal session length will be partly determined by: the complexity of the subject matter to be addressed; the skill levels and prior experience of the participants; and the information retention capacities of the participants. Sessions of longer than 5 or 6 hours in a single day will tax participant and facilitators’ energies and attention spans, and possibly lead to reduced effectiveness. Facilitators also need to consider the needs of participants in terms of ‘time off’ from the standard agenda. For example, prayer times in some cultures require longer breaks. Similarly, in some countries it may prove necessary to provide for longer midday breaks to allow participants living far away from the venue sufficient time to walk home for lunch. Facilitators will need to meet at the end of each day to assess and finetune the agenda. Preparing workshop resources The time necessary for the development and production of resources for workshops is often underestimated. All resources should be prepared according to a schedule, well in advance of the actual training. Facilitators should stay in close contact with the people organising collation and printing, to ensure the quality and accuracy of the resources. Workshop resources Facilitators will usually need to produce two handbooks: The Facilitators Handbook The Participants Handbook BRIDGE handbooks are usually composed of the following elements: Two, three or four-ring insert binders of an appropriate size to hold the workshop documents; The workshop documents themselves, copied and holepunched/drilled for the appropriate binder. BRIDGE documents have been designed as simple black and white MS Word documents for ease of reproduction Document dividers, for ease of reference, to separate distinct documents. For example, the Facilitators Handbook will usually be divided by document type, such as a handout, a facilitator resource, etc. The Participants Handbook may be divided by module section (e.g. Intro.1, Intro.2) or by the documents to be used each day of the workshop (e.g. Day 1, Day 2), or by whatever method the facilitator believes will be most straightforward for the audience. Copyright and acknowledgements Property rights Depending on the extent of the modification from the original materials, the issue of property rights must be taken into account. Where the BRIDGE curriculum is being run as-is, or with minor modification, materials must bear a clear mention of property rights for the BRIDGE partners, including in the target language, in accordance with copyright disclaimer below. Where BRIDGE is being run in combination with other sorts of training (e.g. operational training), or BRIDGE methodology has been used for other purposes, the issue of property rights is less clear since, in some cases, the customised materials could be so specific to the operational needs of the beneficiary that it might become difficult for the BRIDGE partners to claim ownership. In such cases, the BRIDGE Office should be contacted for guidance. Acknowledgements For any kind of customised BRIDGE programs, there must be a clear acknowledgement of the BRIDGE partners. The correct and appropriate use of logos of BRIDGE partners, clients and donors must be ensured. In addition, to inspire a sense of ownership amongst contributors, the inclusion of institutional logos and names of individual contributors often has the benefit of giving more weight and authority to the materials. BRIDGE partners have specific rules surrounding the use of their logos. The correct logos for AEC, BRIDGE, IDEA, IFES, UNEAD and UNDP are available for downloading from the BRIDGE website. Also, donor organisations would have to be consulted regarding the appropriate use of their logos. Care must be taken to ensure that the ‘hierarchy’ of acknowledgements is correct. If donor A were to sponsor the development of a module (or its translation) and Donor B were to fund the presentation of the program in a particular country, credit may be conferred as ‘Program funded by Donor B, based on curriculum development funded by Donor A’. Titles of materials and programs should reflect the reality of the situation. If the material draws largely on BRIDGE, then the latter’s name should be used. If it is extensively adapted to suit local circumstances, then a new name appears appropriate – with due acknowledgement of the original material within the text. Covers should equally reflect the reality of the project, with logos included accordingly. For example, a typical cover could include the following text: ‘A workshop for election administrators in [here insert name of country], based on BRIDGE materials developed by the AEC, IDEA, IFES, UNEAD and UNDP, funded by [here insert name of funding agency], implemented by [here insert name of implementing agency]’. While this may seem cumbersome, the inclusion of adequate recognition is part of credibility building for the program and materials, as well as an important part of building a constituency of support for BRIDGE as a whole. The following copyright and disclaimer notice should appear in all BRIDGE workshop materials, including any amended or customised version: Copyright: 2008 (Version 2 – 2008) Copyright: The BRIDGE partners believe that the open and free exchange of information is critical in promoting democratic elections. However, BRIDGE is a program designed to be conducted by accredited BRIDGE Project facilitators only. For this reason, no BRIDGE Project materials may be used or reproduced in any form or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in the material, or for non – commercial, education purposes. Disclaimer: While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of BRIDGE materials, the project partners assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information of instructions contained herein. Copyright Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright, but in some cases this has not been possible. The BRIDGE partners welcome any information that would redress this situation. BRIDGE contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. The material is being made available for purposes of education and discussion in order to better understand the complex role of electoral administration in today’s world. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in relevant national laws. The material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this project for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Assembling the workshop handbooks It is important for facilitators to be familiar with the structure of the workshop handbooks, not only for use before and during the workshop itself, but so that they can easily collate a handbook, either as a master copy for printer reference (see the section on ‘Commercial printing’ below), or if the handbooks are being produced in-house. These instructions are designed to explain the process of putting together the Facilitators and Participants Handbooks, and also to prepare other workshop resources. Refer to the Facilitation Manual for a quick reference of terms. Facilitators Handbooks As a facilitator, you should have the Facilitators Handbook for the module(s) you are conducting. This should contain: Facilitators Notes (FN) – the main document the facilitator will be working from Facilitators Resources (FR) – one master copy of each FR the facilitator plans to use Handouts (HO) – one master copy of each handout the facilitator plans to use Slides or overhead transparencies (OHP) – one master copy of each OHP the facilitator plans to use Presentations (PPT) – a master copy reference of each PPT the facilitator plans to use. Either print out all slides, or you can also print summary pages (to do so in PowerPoint, go to File, Print, Print What. Select ‘handouts’ and ‘six slides to a page’). ‘ Facilitators would also have with their folder: Displays such as posters, photos, maps etc. that they would want to display during the workshop Electronic files on CD, DVD, flash drive or hard drives, such as AV material (videos, audio), PowerPoint presentations, flash animations, etc. Additional resources – facilitators should have looked at the ‘additional resources’ provided that are not included in the official curriculum, but which they might find useful for their participants as further reading Participants Handbooks Every participant receives a Participants Handbook, which contains all of the Participants Notes (PN) documents they will refer to during the workshop. Facilitators need to be aware of which activities they plan to run (or are thinking of running, to give them flexibility) to work out which PN documents they will need to include in the Participants Handbook. Facilitators should decide the most appropriate way of ordering and dividing the PN documents in the handbook, for ease of reference for participants as documents do not have page numbers (owing to the fact that any combination of documents may be used in any workshop). It may be a chronological order is the most convenient or a numbered order (and chronological order may not always be the same as numerical order, depending on how the workshop has been customised). If using a chronological order, facilitators should keep in mind that a planned agenda does not always go to plan and activities are often run in an unexpected order. It is critical that documents are collated in an order that will make sense to participants as this will minimise frustration and save time during activities. Additionally, when directing participants to documents, remember to refer not only to the title, but the number of each one, e.g. Intro.1.6 Key Understandings – Introduction Module – PN. Follow the same steps as for the Facilitators Handbook for printing and collation. How to create a master copy of the handbooks Step 1 = The activities you are going to run should have been worked out during the customisation and preparation phases prior to this point. Consult the Facilitators Notes to find out which documents are needed for each activity. Step 2 = If you do not already have copies of the curriculum resources (e.g. from the program team or from the DVD they would have received when they did their TtF), download the relevant documents from the BRIDGE website. Step 3 = Print out all documents relating to the activities you plan to run. BRIDGE documents are designed to be easily printed in black and white, double-sided. Step 4 = Order the documents according to the type of handbook (i.e. by document type for Facilitators Handbooks, and by either numerical or chronological order for Participants Handbooks). Step 5 = Drill or punch holes into the documents to match the type of binder you are using. Step 6 = Create dividers, one for each document type, and organise the collated documents behind the relevant divider. Step 7 = Create and print out covers and spines for the binders (if they are insert binders). Templates for BRIDGE module covers and spines can be found on the BRIDGE website. To be edited they require Adobe InDesign. Step 8 = Assemble the handbooks by putting the collated documents into the binders, and inserting the covers and spines. Even if you are not collating the handbooks yourself, it is important to know how to do it, and often, you will need to collate at least one handbook for the printers or whoever is doing the collating to have a reference copy. How to prepare other workshop resources Handouts: Refer to the Facilitators Notes for the module(s) you are running and make copies of all of the handout (HO) documents that you plan to use during the workshop. Most handouts should be copied so that there is one for each participant, although there are some which might require more copies. For example, the Evaluation Sheet which is distributed at the end of each day will need to be copied to allow each participant one copy for as many days as the workshop runs. Participants will usually want to file these handouts in the Participants Handbooks, so it is useful to hole – punch them in advance, or provide a hole puncher during the workshop. Facilitators Resources: Facilitators Resources come in many forms, but you may have to do one or several of the following, depending on the kind. Refer to the Facilitators Notes for guidance: Make copies of FRs for group work, for example, you might only need to make five copies of a document for an activity using five groups (these are called FR instead of HO to make this distinction) Provide a different working FR document to each group. Cut up cards for ranking or categorising activities, or as nametags in a role play Enlarge FRs which are to be used as signs OHPs OHPs can be used in various ways: As traditional ‘overhead transparencies’ with an overhead projector. In this case, create transparencies of all the OHP documents you plan to use during the workshop. Ensure you copy or print them on a printer or photocopier that is compatible with transparency film. If possible, add colour to the documents for printing. File these in your Facilitators Handbook with the master (paper) copies for easy access, and have some coloured transparency markers for amending. Display the transparencies as PowerPoint (or other display applications) slides using a data projector. If neither an overhead nor a data projector is available, OHPs could be enlarged to poster paper and displayed this way, or you could recreate the OHP material on poster paper or the whiteboard. Participants may request copies of OHPs, particularly if they are substantial. Most of the more complex OHPs are also PNs – check your Facilitators Notes to see if this is the case (these documents are listed in the FNs as ‘OHP and PN’) and direct the participant to their handbook. If the OHP is not already a PN, but you think participants may want a copy, you might like to make copies for each participant anyway. Commercial printing While it is possible for facilitators and implementers to copy and collate the resources for a workshop, it is much easier, if possible, to employ a printer or copy company to do this task. Where feasible, printing should be carried out locally. Once a printer has been selected, the simplest way to commence the job is to create and collate one example of each handbook you want reproduced, for the printer to use as a master copy and reference. When arranging the print run, facilitators should discuss the following elements with the printers when getting quotes to save time and money: Print run size – how many people are coming, how many of each handbook do you need? Collation – who will do this? It is easier to have the printer do this for you Drilling of holes – can the printer do this? Insertion of covers and spines Difference between the Facilitator Handbook and the Participant Handbook Types of binders/folders Paper quality Double-sided printing (BRIDGE documents are designed to be printed double-sided) The program team should also ensure: Submission of price estimates and quotes by bidding suppliers and compliance with established tendering procedures Revision and proofing of material, at least twice, to ascertain text, colouring, and presentation are correct – if possible, planning should provide time for the facilitators to check materials Correct and appropriate use of bridge terminology and numbering of activities Thorough proofreading and editing of translated materials Correct and appropriate use of logos and badging of founding partners, clients and donors Correct and appropriate acknowledgements of founding partners, clients and donors (following established order so as not to offend) Correct application of copyright information Stationery and equipment Each module contains a Facilitators Resource (FR) document that lists possible stationery needs for running the workshop. Stationery and equipment needs will be dictated by the kind of activities chosen, but some commonly used items include a whiteboard or blackboard, poster paper, markers and a projector (data or overhead). Facilitators should also have a contingency plan in case resources they have requested or need are not available, or equipment breaks down. For example, extra poster paper if there is no projector. The credibility of the program is dependent not only upon the successful facilitation of the workshop itself but also on the timely distribution of materials created during the workshop. Workshop venue – the ideal training environment The physical environment in which training is conducted can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the training. A venue for conducting a BRIDGE Project should ideally contain the following: One large room to accommodate up to 30 people Some smaller ‘break-out’ rooms Furniture such as tables and comfortable chairs Kitchen facilities Access to toilets Training equipment (see next section) Optional resources and materials would include: presentation aids such as whiteboards, writing materials, overhead projectors, video recorders and televisions, computers with internet access, sufficient election materials for displaying. Consideration should also be given to the following: Accessibility to transportation Ease of access Sufficient light and ventilation You may also try to minimise any distractions You would need to ensure that as facilitator you can be: seen by everyone and heard by everyone Setting up the room There are many ways you can arrange the furniture and equipment. The following are three possible arrangements for setting up the furniture in a training room. The learning environment must by physically and psychologically comfortable. Catering Appropriate catering and venue choice can ‘make or break’ a training workshop. If participants are to appreciate the training, they must feel that their needs are taken into consideration. Strategically planned breaks can help participants retain concentration, and allow facilitators to rest between sessions. In the planning stage, it is essential to be specific when negotiating the menu, the quality and quantity of tea, coffee and snacks. The caterers must be clearly told exactly what is wanted and at what time the food or refreshments should be served. The designated administrative support person should ensure that agreed menus and times are adhered to. Dietary requirements It is vital to check whether participants have any special dietary requirements before confirming a menu, such as halal, kosher or vegetarian diets, or allergies. If it is not possible to check, an effort should be made to ensure that all likely requirements are covered. Keep in mind cultural requirements as well, such as providing rice-based meals for those who would normally expect to eat rice at every meal. Morning and afternoon tea or coffee Ideally, arrange for tea and coffee to be available at the beginning of the day for participants who arrive early. If possible, tea and coffee should be available throughout the training day for flexibility in the timing of breaks and continued access to refreshment. Water should also be available throughout the day, preferably with bottles or jugs of water on each table. If the caterers are not able to be flexible in their timing, try to ensure that morning and afternoon tea are scheduled a little early (e.g. if the plan is to have morning tea at 10:30, ask for it to be ready at 10:15) rather than late, in case a session finishes early. If morning and afternoon tea, as well as lunch are provided, afternoon tea should be very light as participants have usually eaten enough by this point. Transport and travel Appropriate transport may need to be arranged for facilitators and participants, and anyone else attending the workshop, such as observers or guest speakers. It is important to know who will be paying for any travel, and what reasonable costs should be covered by the funder. It is vital that this is clearly communicated to all attendees and they are clear on what costs are being covered by the organisers, and what are to be covered by themselves or their home organisations. Things to consider include: Travel by air: what class of travel will be provided? Are there scheduling difficulties for participants from remote areas? Who will make the booking? Travel by car: are participants entitled to be reimbursed for their travel expenses if they drive themselves? Are they owed a travel allowance? What checks are there to ensure they are properly licensed and insured? Visas: for international attendees, will they require a visa to enter the host country? Who will pay for the visa fees? Do they need a supporting letter to facilitate the process? Are attendees expected to arrange their own visas? Can you provide relevant entry requirement information or direct them to relevant information? Transfers: How will participants make their way from the airport/train station etc. to the venue/hotel? If the venue and the accommodation are not the same place, how will attendees travel between the two? A welcoming gesture (if it is viable) is for someone from the workshop management to meet and greet participants at the airport and accompany them to the hotel and assist with check in. Weekends: for workshops conducted over more than a week, are participants able to travel home on the weekends? Who pays for this travel and what is reasonably acceptable? Accommodation As with transport, accommodation may also be required for workshop attendees. Ideally, if possible, consider finding a venue where people can stay in the same place the workshop is being held, e.g. a hotel with conference facilities, or a conference venue that is next door or in close proximity to a suitable hotel. It may be possible to obtain a discount for booking a conference/accommodation package. As well as being convenient, having this arrangement saves travel time and costs, and offers the possible added advantage of using guest rooms as ‘break out’ or preparation rooms. Accommodation should also be central and allow attendees to easily access shops, restaurants, etc. As with transport, it is essential to ensure that all attendees are clear on what is being provided and what is at their own expense. For example, the room cost only may be provided, but attendees would be expected to cover any extras, such as meals, telephone calls, minibar. Things to consider with accommodation include: Preferably attached to the training venue (if not, then suitable reliable transport to the venue) Single room accommodation for all participants and facilitators or rooms which allow privacy Bathrooms in each room (with option of bath or shower) Non-smoking rooms (if required) Accommodation must be clean and serviced daily Food and beverages must be varied, healthy and cater for vegetarians and other dietary needs Outdoor areas plus recreational facilities Reasonable access from the nearest airport or town (good roads) Mobile phone/Cell phone reception or access to operational phones in the rooms Televisions or easy access to television Laundry facilities (if required) Email access Access to public transport Secure environment Participant allowances It is essential to decide whether and to what extent any allowance needs to be paid to participants in the workshop. It is always best to base daily subsistence allowances (DSA) or per diem rates on the standards applied within the participants’ organisation. Often governments have official rates that can be checked and used as a benchmark. While it is important to recognise that participants who are away from home incur costs, it is not sustainable to pay extravagant per diem rates. The distribution of per diem is best handled by the administrative assistant and not by the facilitators. Hiring interpreters Working in an international environment, or bringing in external facilitators, may require the use of interpreters. Professional interpreters would be the preferred option, and they should be well-briefed on the general topics of the workshop, terminology and unfamiliar concepts, the expected audience, and also on the program objectives, so they have a good understanding of the workshop they are working in. Interpretation skills When professional interpreters – the preferred option – are not available, the person asked to replace them should have the following qualities (which also of course apply for professional interpreters as well): knowledge of the general subject or topics that are to be interpreted command of an extensive vocabulary in both languages ability to express thoughts clearly and concisely in both languages general erudition and intimate familiarity with both cultures excellent note-taking technique for consecutive interpretation Interpreters as part of the customisation and facilitation team Ideally the Interpreter should be a part of the customisation and facilitation team as early as possible. This will allow them to make valuable contributions in the structure and content of the workshop and gain greater knowledge about the subject matter and methodology of the BRIDGE […]
August 18, 2009

Focus On: Translation

In many cases, the customisation process not only involves adapting the original materials to the program’s objectives but also translating them into a local language. In doing so, a crucial decision must be taken as to whether the materials are translated before or after customisation. Customisation first OR translation first: Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, the decision will derive from the constraints of a particular context. In turn the decision for one or the other of these approaches will have implications for a number of key elements. It may also be important to differentiate between large linguistic groups that cover different countries and could be integrated through a regional approach and smaller linguistic groups/ languages that are limited to one country (or even a regional language within a country). Key elements to consider: Limited project vs. long term program – time and cost constraints/implications: Whether the translation is envisaged within a limited project or workshop or within a long term program will have a major impact on the decision to be made. Translating the whole of BRIDGE is a lengthy and costly endeavour. Obviously, it would not make sense to undertake such a huge task or even integrally translate a whole module for a ‘stand alone’ workshop. However, in the perspective of long term program targeting various audiences who share a same language, it can be more efficient and, in the long run, less expensive to translate the main resources of BRIDGE prior to doing the customisation. As much time and funds as it takes at the start, would be saved at the following stages of the program. Then this would most likely require an integrated effort from different partners who share common long term objectives. For a smaller project with limited time and budget customisation should definitely occur before translation. Material consistency, quality and relevance: A crucial issue with translation is ensuring consistency, quality and relevance of the material. Critical decisions often have to be taken to accurately translate a number of technical terms in a meaningful and relevant way for the intended audience. These can include ‘inventing’ or ‘creating’ a terminology in languages in which certain concepts are unknown (cf. Tetum/Arabic). In other contexts, there is a need to choose the relevant equivalent terms that most often cannot be done through literal translation. Translated material should always be thoroughly reviewed by the facilitation team. Material availability: one of the obstacles to the use of BRIDGE in some non-English speaking countries is linked to the fact that the material is not available in the local language, it limits the access and understanding of local stakeholders and decision-makers to what BRIDGE is and how it can meet their needs. In addition, clients may be reluctant to proceed with BRIDGE if they are required to take the burden of the translation prior to any implementation. Having a minimum of resources readily available in the local language can help remove this obstacle. This minimum can build up through ensuring collection, archiving and access to all translated resources. Ownership and sustainability: having available material already translated in a qualitative way, allows concentration on the customisation process with the direct and full participation of the local partners. It is more inclusive for non-English speakers and helps them gaining ownership of the program and ensures greater sustainability through it. If local partners have bi-lingual skills they should be involved in both the customisation and the translation processes. Whatever approach is chosen, it is crucial to build on any translation effort and avoid duplication through keeping track of the existing/on-going translation efforts (know what is available, ensure access to them); make room for improvement through feedback and update. It is also important to keep in mind the need of customising the translation i.e. adapt the level of language and the terminology to the specific audience (cater for the diversity within a same linguistic group). Tools Coordination Team Depending on the size of the materials to be translated and the number of people – translators, editors, proof readers, and designers – involved in the process, a coordination team led by a coordinator might be crucial to insure the translation process is on track. The role of the coordination team ranges from providing guidelines for the translation process, supervising translation and providing prompt answers to emerging requests during the process. The coordination team should also make sure that translators, editors, proof readers and designers are delivering copy according to an agreed time line. Preferably, an experienced BRIDGE facilitator should be part of the coordination team. This will help give better links with the overall BRIDGE program, as well as provide an insight to issues related to the nature of BRIDGE materials and methodology. Glossary Glossaries are key tools for translation. In addition to providing terminology, they help explain technical terms, making it easier to find equivalent in the target language. Early in the process, implementers should plan for the production of a glossary before any translation takes place. The rationale behind this can be explained by the fact that a good glossary helps achieve the following: Translation consistency: especially if translation involves more than one translator geographically spread over different dialectical areas Better understanding of technical terms in the original language which means better understanding of the subject materials In countries with new or little election practice, glossaries could help promote technical election knowledge as well as experience sharing Equally important is the process adopted to produce the glossary. In order to guarantee a certain level of accuracy, as well as achieving a broad acceptance among various stakeholders, a broad spectrum of people/expertise should be involved in producing the glossary. This should include BRIDGE facilitators, translators, linguists, election and legal experts. This combination of expertise is crucial to build support among different stakeholders who will be part of the BRIDGE program. Finding an equal term for many BRIDGE and electoral terms in some other languages might not be an easy job. Local culture and experience may have a major impact on how terms are translated. The translation should take diversity into account by reflecting the existing local election terminology as used in constitutional and legal texts. Where terms are completely new and not used in the target language, translators should focus on the meaning rather than the literal translation. In addition to a glossary of electoral terms, a BRIDGE terms glossary might be required. The translation of such a glossary should benefit local training glossaries and training manuals. Other key documents 8.9 Annex 9: Key Documents for Translation outlines a recommended translation order for BRIDGE documents, beginning with useful reference documents (outlines, summaries. guidelines) before translation of the curriculum itself. Translation guidelines Check if a previous translation exists! Seek permission for the intended translation. ê See Error! Reference source not found. ??? Use glossaries if existing (develop one if there is none; feeding back different linguistic/ terminology usage into existing glossaries). Use relevant/meaningful terminology (beware of literal translations; absolutely avoid any automated translation!): this requires thorough review by the facilitation team as a minimum; ideally the translation should involve local specialists in the relevant topics covered. As much as possible select translators with appropriate background and experience: these may sometimes be difficult to find, it is important to consider strategies to ensure their availability and to invest in building up their capacities (amongst other things by providing exposure to BRIDGE). At a minimum, the translator(s) should receive a proper briefing on the specificities of their task and what is expected from them as well as some guidance or tools (when available) to help them carry it out. They have to be given appropriate time to carry out their task. Their work should always be reviewed by the facilitation team. If the necessary language skills are not available within the facilitation team per se, it is important to ensure that a quality review takes place by specialists. It is also important that feedback be sought during the workshop from the participants and/or the EMB to adjust and improve the translation along the way. Give feedback on translation issues so consistency and quality can improve; feedback any translated material (possibly with comments) to the BRIDGE Office or coordination team. Budget It is important to achieve a good return for your budget. The translation of material whilst vitally important will increase your overall costs. There are a number of budget items you may need to take into account: translation of documents and resources possible coordination fees formatting and layout editing and proof reading There are a number of ways to calculate payment for translation. These can include: a straight word count, payment per word page count, usually 250 words per page package price, an agreed payment for complete translation job daily rate Keep in mind local rates and international rates may change your costs markedly. Other considerations Always check to make sure that a translated document is not already held by the BRIDGE Office or perhaps locally by a partner organisation or is publicly available elsewhere. Be aware that a number of documents may already be translated and therefore will not have to be translated again. When translations have been completed, please forward a copy to the BRIDGE Office. All translations should include the date they were translated and used. Before translating any documents permission must be sought from the owner(s) and authors of the […]
August 18, 2009

BRIDGE curriculum and module structure

To some extent, there is consistency between all of the modules. Each was built on a common structure, including: Facilitators Notes – the step by step guide to running a module Module Objectives – ‘this module was designed to achieve what purpose?’ Key Understandings (KU) – topic specific statements that reflect the most important things that you want your participants to know before they finish the module Learning Outcomes (LO) – Generic statements of the actions and behaviour participants will demonstrate once the workshop is complete which will often indicate that the Key Understandings are understood Sections – the basic building blocks of the module reflecting the natural classification of the topic, plus introductory and conclusion sections Sub-sections – the sub-topics to be covered in more detail Activities – the specific and step by step instructions for facilitators and participants (role plays, individual work, group work) suggested to achieve particular Learning Outcomes Resources – either external (handbooks, websites, articles, case studies on the subject developed outside the context of BRIDGE) or internal (presentations, handouts, overheads developed by the BRIDGE curriculum designers). While there is commonality, each module is also quite distinctive, depending on the topic at hand, and the thematic group to which it belongs. Each of the modules has been developed by a unique team of curriculum designers (writers/editors), reflecting the expertise, available resources, and current thinking connected with that particular subject. Program and workshop developers will discover that each module has its own style, reflected in the preference for types of activities, emphasis, and tone. There is also a difference in the relative sizes of the modules – ranging from three day to multi-week. Refer to: 8.3 Annex 3: BRIDGE Modules at a Glance The BRIDGE website (www.bridge-project.org) is the principle dissemination tool for the Version 2 curriculum. Details of new modules or materials released after the publication of this manual can be found on the BRIDGE website. Agenda building The shape of the workshop will depend on several factors – the objective(s), the time that can be spared, geographical location of participants, and the budget. You may need to do some hard thinking before finalising the agenda. There are more activities and materials in every module than can be covered in a short workshop. As a facilitator, you should select which modules and activities you will include in your agenda based on the objectives you have defined for the training. The activities are designed to give you as wide a choice as possible. Use those that best meet the needs of your participants, alter them as your participant’s level of interest and experience suggests, and leave the rest. Often you find that there are too many objectives – so you must either design a longer workshop, if that is possible, or cut back on your objectives. For reasons of cost or demands on the time of participants, a workshop may have to be shortened. Many prefer a workshop at the end of the week even if it runs partly into a weekend. A two-day workshop can be spread over three days with many advantages: The first morning is spent in travel Starting with lunch allows for renewal or formation of relationships Latecomers miss lunch but not the workshop! The first post-lunch malaise is dissipated by the excitement of a new situation Two overnight periods become available for homework/preparation The workshop finishes at midday on the third day, and those who must leave early miss dinner and not the final and important workshop session! To aid the customisation team, a set of sample agendas (half day workshop, 1-day workshop, 2-day workshop, etc.), reflecting the deeper understanding that the curriculum designers have of their particular modules. However, these agendas are only meant to be a guide. They will themselves have to be customised Ideally, there is continuity between the program development phase and the facilitation phase – so that the facilitation team is comfortable with the material and activities chosen, as well as the reasoning behind. Development of other resources The types of materials (other than the BRIDGE curriculum resources for the workshops) that might need to be developed, adapted and translated for a BRIDGE program could include the following: Module summaries and Facilitators Notes for all relevant modules This Implementation Manual BRIDGE information and promotional materials, such as brochures, videos Graphical material, such as binder covers, spines, dividers Letterhead and other office administration supplies Letters to client organisations, donors, facilitators and participants Directional signs Promotional banners Name tags Some material that should be sought in advance from the client organisation includes: Legal documents – for example, electoral laws and procedures Electoral planners and information (such as election calendars, and policies) Current and past electoral material (e.g. manuals, information brochures and booklets) Public outreach and promotional materials (e.g. posters, audio-visuals and stickers) Relevant training materials It is important to provide feedback to the BRIDGE Office on any […]
August 18, 2009

Focus On: Regionalisation

Regionalisation in BRIDGE refers to a strategy to promote the use of BRIDGE at the level of a region, including building interest and commitment among regional stakeholders, setting regional objectives and timelines, developing regional human resources, contextualising materials and supporting regional networks and partnerships. In this regard BRIDGE implementers can conduct BRIDGE on a regional basis, that is, the program may be customised to suit and include a number of countries or client organisations within a particular region. For example, implementers may wish to work with regional associations of electoral administrators to conduct BRIDGE workshops at a central location, or take a sub-regional approach by conducting BRIDGE workshops in various locations. This could be particularly useful if the region is widespread, yet is united by cultural or language links. It should be recognised that regionalisation brings with it inherent challenges due to the diversity: culturally, geographically as well as differing challenges and priorities. Regionalisation can be beneficial for a number of reasons: It can be a more effective use of human and financial resources Regional examples and experiences are sometimes more easily shared due to linguistic and cultural ties It creates an environment for sharing comparative experiences from a diversity of contexts thus strengthening the approach used in the BRIDGE curriculum It creates opportunities for the networking of practitioners There are a number of elements that together create a regional strategy including: Developing partnerships Encourages strong BRIDGE partner coordination and joint programming and is key to the success of regionalisation Builds interest and commitment for BRIDGE programs between regional stakeholders Increases advocacy and promotion of BRIDGE through the dissemination of informational materials e.g. brochures, posters, BRIDGE website. Local language information can be particularly useful Uses BRIDGE showcase workshops as a way to create understanding and highlighting the relevance and benefits of BRIDGE and to generate buy-in for regional programmes. Creates synergies and partnerships with regional organisations and associations Participants Participants are drawn from a number of countries in the region. This is beneficial as it creates an environment for sharing comparative experiences from a diversity of contexts Regionalisation of BRIDGE materials Development of regional case studies Customisation Translation Resources in original language identified Adaptation to take account of regional, political and cultural history BRIDGE human resources A regional approach can be used to create a pool of BRIDGE resource persons including facilitators, implementers and translators. Sometimes it can be a more effective economy of scale to have the BRIDGE resource persons spread through regions rather than all concentrated in one country where opportunities to implement BRIDGE activities may be more limited. Regional networks One of the benefits of a regional approach is that it creates opportunities for practitioners to develop networks. Networks can be beneficial for strengthening the notion of professionalism as well as providing access to comparative experience which is made easier by personal connections. Regional networks can be maintained through regional communication strategies for example regional events, newsletters, online forums, […]
August 18, 2009


Customisation is the process of adapting the BRIDGE materials to suit the specific needs and objectives of a project, program or workshop targeting different audiences. Once the type of BRIDGE program most appropriate for a country or situation has been determined, customisation of materials and activities will be required. Wherever possible, this should involve relevant stakeholders (the client organisation, political parties, civil society organisations, NGOs, or regional associations) in order to take advantage of their local knowledge and to ensure local capacity is being developed and in order to create a sense of local ownership. The BRIDGE Facilitators Notes and associated resources provide the basis from which to build a program. Very rarely, however, will they be able to be run exactly as written, as it was impossible for curriculum designers to foresee all the parameters (timing, needs, participants levels, circumstances) under which all programs in all contexts would be implemented. A BRIDGE Program, that is, the running of workshops based on the BRIDGE materials and within the framework set out by the BRIDGE Office, is most effective when it is carefully designed and customised with the clients and hosting organisations needs and requests, timing constraints and venues in mind. A metaphor could be that accessing the BRIDGE V2 curriculum is like shopping at a well-stocked supermarket prior to preparing a special meal. Only the host knows the reason for having the meal, the season for the meal, the dietary requirements of the guests, and the number of guests. All these elements are essential for preparing the menu, and from the menu, the shopping list. Customisation will require numerous elements. These include: Ensuring that the objectives of the BRIDGE program are consistent with the broad capacity development and professional development objectives of the client country. Ensuring that the workshops and program fit the time available. This will require building agendas that meet program objectives while recognising time constraints. There are sample agendas in the Facilitator Resources of all modules; however, even these will need to be customised to ensure relevance to each context. Sample agendas are available in all BRIDGE modules. Ensuring appropriate selection of modules, or sections of modules, based on the program objectives and the results of the training needs assessment. Ensuring the appropriate selection of activities based on the program objectives and the results of the training needs assessment and the audience. Developing new activities based on the context and audience. Adding materials relevant to the context and audience. Translating materials where appropriate. While BRIDGE can be customised to the specific requirements of a project, it is recommended that the following elements be included: Accreditation of BRIDGE facilitators, using the TtF workshop: In setting up BRIDGE programs, project partners should assess the appropriateness of conducting this workshop. The accreditation of local facilitators constitutes an important contribution to capacity building Adherence to the BRIDGE methodology: This is assured by using facilitators who have been accredited by the founding partners The capacity-development approach and BRIDGE methodology must stay intact: Whatever customisation is required, it is essential that the resultant program remain true to the principles of capacity development and that the methodology used be consistent with BRIDGE methodology An experienced BRIDGE facilitator should coordinate the customisation process Principles of customisation BRIDGE can be used and adapted to a variety of circumstances and purposes. However, there is a set of principles on customisation which need to be borne in mind. The workshop structure must remain true to the Key Understandings and associated Learning Outcomes, as outlined in the modules. The successful implementation of BRIDGE generally requires a significant sensitivity to, and appreciation of, the context in which it is based. The customisation process needs to be negotiated between the project team and the client. The actual customisation work is however the responsibility of the project team. The actual conduct of the program must be done by accredited BRIDGE facilitators. Ideally, facilitators should be a part of the customisation process. Content should be made relevant to the country, region, culture and organisational context (for example, references to the Constitution, electoral law and electoral system, type of EMB, ballot paper, cultural practices and norms, should be tailored appropriately). Since BRIDGE methodology puts an emphasis on comparative studies, examples from other countries should also be used. Whenever possible, regional examples should be preferred. Whilst not a minimum requirement, it is recommended that one or both of the Foundation Modules should be implemented first. The reasons for this are: to showcase the BRIDGE methodology and content to the client and donors to enable stakeholders to judge whether BRIDGE is suitable in their context (and to show potential facilitators what type of program it is so they can decide whether they would want to become accredited facilitators or participate in a future TtF workshop). to provide a firm foundation for other modules The level of language should be adapted according to the audience’s language level and diversity. The way the Foundation Modules are used (either in their entirety over five days, or shortened according to the time available) will vary, but the aim should be to showcase and provide a contextual basis for further BRIDGE workshops. Customisation for different program types All BRIDGE programs will require a degree of customisation to suit the client. Although customisation work will be minimal, it will be necessary to amend the scheduling, duration and emphasis of activities to adapt them to the client organisation’s needs and context. Depending on the type of program chosen, the following specific points should be taken into consideration: Running BRIDGE as an adapted and customised program The selection of modules will be based on the client’s needs. The team members in charge of customising the materials should have knowledge and experience of the country. The design should take into account the cultural, social, political and legal context. It might be necessary, for example, to avoid activities obviously unsuited to such contexts. Deleting, adding or creating an activity should always be consistent with BRIDGE methodology. For instance, care should be taken not end up with a workshop that relies overly on lecturing methods. One should ensure a coherent and logical flow of activities throughout the modified materials – in particular, a proper mix of still vs. moving activities, small group work vs. general brainstorming, and role-plays vs. case studies. Running BRIDGE in combination with operational or other sorts of training The best way to do this is to introduce each operational topic with one or more BRIDGE activities, or fit the operational topic within a BRIDGE structure. BRIDGE methodology and training techniques are used as often as possible to present operational procedures. A good example is using role – play to study polling procedures, demonstrating all the possible issues that may arise on polling day and how polling officials should deal with them. When designing a combination program, facilitators should keep in mind that there should be at least a minimum percentage of original BRIDGE activities introduced if the BRIDGE tag is going to be claimed for such a program. BRIDGE curriculum and customisation There are several stages involved in making a BRIDGE program a reality. Of direct relevance to the program development and customisation phase is the needs assessment stage, and ideally there would be continuity between the two. This could be achieved by including someone on the needs assessment team who will also be part of the team designing the program and workshops. Let us consider an example where a needs assessment team, based on consultation with a wide array of stakeholders, identifies a problem: certain parties did not accept election results as valid in a previous election, and trust in the electoral process has diminished since then. While a workshop cannot solve deeply entrenched problems, nonetheless the reasoning behind a program design could be as follows: Choose participants from both parties and electoral management bodies and design the program accordingly as a forum for a dialogue Compose a workshop pulling the most appropriate content together, such as: Ethics, Principles, and International Standards from the Introductory Module Introduction to the Electoral Cycle from the Electoral Assistance Module Media Centre and Results activities from the Polling, Counting and Results module Some activities from Technology, Observation and Dispute Resolution Modules (depending on what the contentious issues were in the previous elections) Within the workshop, explore ways of improving mechanisms for communication and transparency, to prevent mistrust and misunderstanding. Encourage and facilitate the development of a list of personal commitments for the participants to follow after the workshop Putting such eclectic content together into a smooth and effective program is the real challenge of customisation – especially if translation and regionalisation (adapting workshop content, resources and case studies to the particular region) are also involved. A program development team would, together with other stakeholders of the program such as the needs assessment team, implementing organisations and project manager, propose a series of program objectives, and gain consensus and agreement on these. Based on these program objectives, the program developers would choose from the 23 modules as appropriate. They would then create a revised set of Key Understandings, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Criteria reflecting the specific activities and resources that have been chosen from the modules and any activities or materials that have been created specifically for the program. The customisation team would then collate in an appropriate way, adding new dimensions, resources, activities, case studies and guest speakers to create a seamless program. Working from original BRIDGE resources Any customisation process will take as a starting point the original BRIDGE resources. Those are the sole property of the BRIDGE partners and are available to facilitators and implementers from the BRIDGE website (hard copies and electronic copies can be ordered from the BRIDGE Office). Almost all BRIDGE documents are available as MS Word files and can be modified to suit, keeping in mind BRIDGE rules and guidelines. After customisation, amended BRIDGE documents should be copied to the BRIDGE Office, or directly uploaded to the BRIDGE website to be archived as reference (refer to 6.2 Focus On: The BRIDGE Website). It is important that statistics, charts and power points are regularly updated. When developing and customising BRIDGE module workshops, facilitators should use the standard BRIDGE Facilitators Notes matrix and list all the supporting materials that would be […]
August 18, 2009

Post-needs assessment activities

Assessment report At the completion of a needs assessment mission, an assessment report should be written, on the basis of which a recommendation on whether or not to go ahead with a BRIDGE program would be made. It might also be necessary to develop concept papers, proposals or strategies to spell out the objectives of a program as it is evolving. Developing appropriate broad objectives Once a client organisation has identified its needs, broad objectives to address these needs must also be identified. These broad objectives will usually be at a conceptual level and may or may not require BRIDGE programs in order to be achieved. Some of these broad objectives may include: A more transparent electoral process A more professional and efficient electoral management body Credible elections Improved relationships between stakeholders BRIDGE should be considered as one of many potential tools to address existing needs and achieve broad objectives. In most cases BRIDGE will be very useful in achieving these objectives, but there may also be occasions when BRIDGE is not appropriate. Because there may be a discrepancy between the needs as expressed by the client organisation and those identified as a result of the assessment conducted from a BRIDGE perspective, some adjustments and compromises may have to be made. Informing BRIDGE partners and the BRIDGE Office If the needs assessment or the scoping report has recommended that a BRIDGE program is appropriate, and the decision has been made to proceed, all BRIDGE partners should be informed through the BRIDGE Office. The BRIDGE Office and the BRIDGE partners should already have been consulted and informed during the initial planning stages. Throughout the program, all relevant documentation should also be filed appropriately and sent on a regular and agreed basis to the BRIDGE […]
August 18, 2009

Planning for Evaluation

  Assessment – process of estimating the value/quality of something before or during a process/event Evaluation – the process of measuring the amount of something during and/or after a process/event Monitoring – the maintenance of regular surveillance of a process/event Effective evaluation depends on knowing what you are aiming for, what and why you want to evaluate, and what your time and cost restraints are.  There are different kinds of evaluation for different purposes. Evaluation should assist in learning what works well and thereby assist building the capacity and capability of what is being assessed. It should be a process of collecting information to assess the value of any activity and the quality of the program. There are a number of stakeholders who will be expecting feedback on the program – for different reasons, at different times and in different formats: The conduct of a needs assessment will result in certain expected outcomes. Ultimately, once a BRIDGE activity has been designed and implemented, one would return to the needs assessment to measure the success or limited achievement. Funders/donors of the program (and of BRIDGE as a whole) will want to know if the aims and objectives listed in the project proposal underlying their funding have been met (and proof thereof). Funders of the program and project managers will expect financial accounting. The program developers will want feedback on the choices made in compiling the agenda and program curriculum – did it work as envisioned? Participants will want to be reminded of the program objectives and their own expectations on the final workshop day in order to feel satisfaction with the investment of time and energy that they have made. Facilitators will want feedback on their performance. The curriculum designers of the V2 modules will want feedback on the activities, Key Understandings and resources used in order to improve the modules. The BRIDGE Office and BRIDGE partners will want both concrete facts and documentation about the program for statistical and archival purposes, as well as feedback on the success and difficulties of the program in order to improve the BRIDGE Package of services and tools. In the role as program developer or facilitator, meeting these assessments, evaluation and reporting needs will be something to take into consideration in the planning stages. A number of tools are available to help: Needs assessment report and recommendations that will inform the design and implementation phase Program Objectives, as developed in consultation with program stakeholders Key Understandings, Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria specified in the modules that you have chosen, which you will have adapted to your specific program Participant expectations, as described on the first day Games and techniques for evaluation and assessment included in this manual, and in the TtF workshop A workshop administration role assigned either to one of the facilitators or an external person is an invaluable asset, so that the reporting obligations are not forgotten. In addition to the formal and informal assessment and evaluation requirements – there are some guiding questions that should inform all of the decisions made, both during program development and facilitation of the workshop. Are we improving electoral processes? Are we strengthening the confidence and competence of key stakeholders? It is possible that you may not be able to measure these more fundamental questions in numbers or forms – but you will most probably have anecdotal evidence which can also serve a valuable purpose as a way to explain why BRIDGE programs are effective. The most important concept to understand with evaluation and assessment with BRIDGE is that we are assessing the success or otherwise of the program, rather than the success of any individual participants to learn or understand. The assessment tools used in BRIDGE are not designed to pass or fail participants. Planning for evaluation Any BRIDGE program will cost money, and implementers will therefore inevitably have to account to those who are funding them for the way in which the money has been spent, and the benefits which flow from the expenditure. Processes for measuring the impact of a BRIDGE program will therefore invariably need to be developed. This issue can be approached at a number of different levels. An assessment may be: Made on the validity of the needs assessment Made of the short-term or slightly longer-term impact which a program has had on individual participants. This may be based on the participants self-assessments, and/or on the judgement of the facilitators, and/or on the judgements made by their colleagues of the apparent impact which the program has had. Made of the overall success of a program – this can be done by examining evaluations prepared during and immediately after the workshops by participants, the facilitators, and where relevant the recipient organisation. Made of the impact which the use of BRIDGE has had on the way in which the beneficiary organisation does its work. Such an assessment may be done internally by the organisation, but may also take into account judgements made by stakeholders, such as donors, who work with the organisation. Attempted of the impact BRIDGE has had on the state of democratic development in a country. This will normally be exceptionally difficult to judge, since overall democratic development is influenced by myriad factors, of which interventions in the area of electoral capacity-building are only one. The BRIDGE founding partners are clearly committed to the process of continuously improving the product, and feedback from evaluations is a critical resource for them in achieving this objective. However, because the time of the client is precious, the extent and degree of evaluation need to be agreed at the planning stage. The evaluation process involves comparing performance against expectations, and therefore needs to be structured taking agreed outputs or outcomes into account. A clear focus on defining expectations when planning evaluations also helps to ensure that expectations are realistic, and shared by all involved.  This is discussed further in the Facilitators Notes. Evaluation needs to match program objectives (see section 3.1 Setting Program Objectives, below) Evaluation stages Evaluation of a BRIDGE program should take place: at the beginning of the program during and at the end of the workshops. This can include spot checks, informal chats with individuals; observation; feedback or evaluation sheets (open-ended) at the end of the program (after the workshops) a suitable time after the program to assess long term impact The first two stages of the evaluation process have already been covered in previous chapters – pre-program assessment (which determines what the evaluation is measuring against) and monitoring during the workshop (which contributes to the evaluation process). Assuming pre-program assessment and workshop monitoring have been conducted adequately, post-program evaluation should be more of a compilation exercise intended to give an overall view of the implementation of the project and measure its achievements. The impact of the project can be assessed by measuring the competence and skills both of the national authorities and individual participants in dealing with matters covered during the program. Evaluations, if done effectively, comprise several levels and strategies – each targeting different stakeholders with different approaches. Before turning to specific examples of evaluation strategies and questions, we need to clarify exactly what we mean by evaluation. Refer to: 8.5 Annex 5: BRIDGE Evaluation Cycle for a summary of the main elements of evaluation, and things to consider when designing an evaluation process for BRIDGE. […]
August 18, 2009

Building partnerships for delivery

The involvement of the client or implementing organisation as an integral partner to the needs assessment (and subsequent program design) is an important investment in the building of capacity and ownership of the program. Experience has shown that BRIDGE programs are most effective when they are carefully tailored to the needs of participants; and this can be effectively achieved by developing and delivering them in partnership with local bodies that can contribute to and/or drive the customisation process.  Potential partners include the following types of bodies: The country’s EMB, which may wish to nominate staff to take part in the program, but which may also be involved in defining the objectives and tailoring the delivery of the program, as well as in supplying facilitators or translators, providing venues, assisting with the translation and production of materials, and, generally, providing logistical support. In more established democracies, some EMBs may choose to use BRIDGE as part of their staff professional development program – Australia, for instance, has conducted BRIDGE modules in almost all of its States and Territories – or in the context of an electoral reform program. Local bodies separate from the EMB, but involved as stakeholders in democracy development or electoral reform. They may be prepared to sponsor programs and/or provide the sort of support EMBs can also provide. International organisations, regional organisations of EMBs, or governments/bodies involved in the provision of assistance relating to elections or democratic development. Such organisations may again be able to sponsor programs or contribute participants or facilitators, or both. Where an organisation of this type has been given responsibility for coordinating international electoral assistance in a country, entering into an effective partnership or cooperative arrangement with it will be particularly important. Donor organisations that may be prepared to provide funding or support in kind (for example, use of premises). Partnerships may be developed in various ways. In the first instance, EMBs in emerging democracies that are liaising with donors and receiving funds for electoral assistance may be introduced to the notion of using BRIDGE when discussing the type of assistance they require. As arrangements become more defined, a number of different bodies may form a consortium to deliver the program, with different partners making different contributions. Under such a model, it is important that respective responsibilities and spheres of action be clearly defined and understood. Alternatively, a single local agency may be developed as a partner in the delivery of a program. Again, it is important that responsibilities be clearly understood. Choice of partners will depend on what potential partner organisations have to offer, as well as on the context in which the program is to be delivered. If, for example, the latter is to be but one element of a larger capacity building project being managed by a particular assistance provider, it would normally be essential to determine precise objectives in the light of broader capacity-building aims, and to involve that assistance provider in the planning of the program from the outset. Choice of implementation approaches will depend on a number of factors. Potential partners, in considering when and how much they want to commit to any BRIDGE project, might benefit from a gradualist approach to implementation. In certain circumstances it may be better to take small incremental steps, rather than committing large funds to a large project. Program organisers may prefer to proceed in a non-prescriptive and indeed non-threatening manner – minimising losses (of face and money) – should an ambitious project not eventuate or proceed. If an organisation shows initial interest, but is not in a position to commit to a large project, it could be encouraged to send some key personnel to attend a BRIDGE workshop out-of-country before embarking on its own in-country showcase and/or a Train the Facilitator program, and certainly before developing and/or translating materials. Familiarisation and expectation management BRIDGE content and, in particular, BRIDGE methodology are still relatively new to many in the elections community. Methods for advocating and explaining BRIDGE to decision-makers include the following: pointing to the BRIDGE website providing explanatory leaflets or notes, preferably in the local language providing relevant samples of materials from the Facilitators Notes and Participants Notes; showing videos and/or photos of the conduct of BRIDGE in other countries – testimonials are powerful tools to build an intuitive understanding of how capacity development works in practice setting up meetings with counterparts in other countries or organisations who have had experience with BRIDGE conducting BRIDGE activities at regional meetings or conferences, or using activity-based methodology for the conduct of conferences or workshops in order to promote the methods that characterise BRIDGE inviting officials from an interested country or organisation to witness or participate in the implementation of BRIDGE elsewhere conducting specially customised demonstrations specifically targeting the country or organisation in question The use of short BRIDGE programs that exemplify BRIDGE content, materials and methodology – ‘showcasing’ – exposes decision-makers to relevant aspects of the project and can be a useful tool for giving them a better and more informed understanding of the benefits they can derive from BRIDGE. If the client audience has a clear understanding of what BRIDGE is it will make the job of the implementer a great deal easier. Refer to 3.4 Focus On: Showcasing BRIDGE for more information. Negotiating with clients During and after scoping, discussions will need to take place between the BRIDGE representatives and the clients, implementing organisations, and any donors. These should always reinforce and clarify the elements of the project in order to manage the expectations of both the latter. When negotiating with clients, the following approaches have shown themselves to be useful. Consulting extensively with the EMB and, in some cases, political parties – in order to create the political will for BRIDGE to be implemented. This may involve creating a ‘buzz’ by exchanging views with other senior or strategic staff, in particular on the benefits they will derive from BRIDGE. Conducting a needs analysis – establishing a checklist of what is needed and for whom, determining the time frame (short-term versus long-term), and the focus of the program (operational training versus professional development). Managing expectations – double-checking what can be offered in the available time frame and whether that is consistent with what the clients believe they are going to get. Setting realistic targets collaboratively – It usually pays to be modest rather than over-ambitious. An appreciation of the extent of local capacity to support reform is also essential. If capacity is low, rapid reform will not be sustainable. Ascertaining critical elements for all parties – key factors on which to focus are the timetable, money, and personnel. Negotiating with donors When negotiating with donors, concentration on the following points is likely to be necessary. Co-ordination of administrative and financial responsibilities, where more than one donor organisation is involved. Adequate badging and recognition – including ensuring visibility of donors’ logos. An emphasis on BRIDGE’s capacity-development focus – this dovetails with donors preference for projects that are low risk, low cost and high profile. Providing donors with a copy of the products associated with the workshops, such as participant handbooks. Inviting them to the opening and closing of the workshop. Supplying donors with regular updates on developments (successes, evaluations and feedback) and on any changes to the project. Showing both flexibility and […]
August 17, 2009

Focus on: Scoping Missions

Scoping missions should include at least one BRIDGE facilitator with extensive knowledge of BRIDGE. Having an experienced facilitator on the team – preferably one who is likely to be working on the program – is very strongly recommended because this will help to anticipate any problems (logistical, technical, or financial) that might be encountered during implementation. It also helps the facilitator build a relationship with the main stakeholders. A scoping mission typically consists of two components, documentary research section and interview-based engagements. Documentary research is done ahead of a visit to the initiating institution or country, covering/comprising: constitution, electoral law and other relevant legislation previous election results, observer and media reports on electoral issues and disputes previous training activities – reports and plans the organisation’s relationship with its stakeholders (for example political parties and the media, previous international interlocutors) organisational culture. Research can be done by reviewing existing literature (observation reports, media reports, and EMB reports), meeting and speaking with individuals, and using tools such as the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, IFES and Inter-Parliamentary Union websites. A summary background analysis and briefing package for new team members are typical outputs of the research process. Apart from the client organisation, the mission members should meet with other stakeholders, including: donors; political parties; parliamentarians; relevant department heads; civil society groups; observer groups. Focus groups are a complementary for generating information useful for the assessment. The members of a scoping mission when speaking to client organisations and other interlocutors should, as a minimum, cover the following topics. The nature of BRIDGE: What it is and what it is not.  Discussion should draw on the issues covered in the first section 1. About BRIDGE.  In particular, a distinction should be drawn between BRIDGE as part of a larger electoral assistance project, and as a stand-alone project. Types of BRIDGE: How BRIDGE can be run. Sequencing: The recommended sequence of BRIDGE events in a program should be discussed, always keeping in mind the context in which the program is to be delivered. (See also:  2.3 Focus On – Sequencing)  However, the following guiding principles are suggested: Initial preference be given to conducting a showcase and module workshops to demonstrate BRIDGE Participants of a TtF (Train the Facilitator Workshop) should have participated in at least one BRIDGE module workshop A TtF should only be scheduled if there is a detailed plan to roll out module workshops An Implementation Workshop would only be conducted if a sizeable BRIDGE program is expected Customisation: Refer to 4.  Designing and Customising BRIDGE Workshops Budget: How much is required? How much is available? Where is the money coming from? Who will manage the budget? The potential costs of running a BRIDGE program should be made clear, whether it is donor or client funds that are likely to be the main resource for the program.  The scoping mission should clearly outline the costs of various options for delivery and ensure that client organisations and donors do not have unrealistic expectations of what can be done with limited funding. Refer to: 8.4 Annex 4: Potential Cost Items of a BRIDGE Program for a list of costs to consider   Timing: It would be ideal to conduct BRIDGE in a post-election environment – when the program can be combined with lessons learnt from past elections. Although a pre-election period is not an ideal time to proceed, BRIDGE could be conducted if it were to support other training activities focussing on operations. There is much opportunity for subsequent misunderstanding if the likely influence of operational priorities is not taken adequately into account.  Counterparts may, in good faith, believe that they will be able to balance on the one hand the conduct of BRIDGE programs aimed at long-term capacity-building and, on the other hand, short-term operational needs; but experience in many countries tends to suggest that such balancing is almost impossible, and the operational needs will ultimately take priority. This means that either: BRIDGE programs need to be timed so as not to impinge on operational priorities; or programs need to be customised so that they will clearly contribute to meeting operational needs In the latter case, adequate lead times need to be built into the planning of the program, as customising of materials to a particular country or region is a very worthwhile but also potentially time-consuming process. Minimum conditions: Rules, policies and procedures have been established for conducting BRIDGE.   Refer to 1.3 Focus On: Rules of BRIDGE earlier in the manual for more information. Clear statement of purpose (clear objectives and outcomes): What will the success indicators be and how will the project be evaluated? The outcomes should be clearly spelt out, including a realistic assessment of which of the stated or desired outcomes can be accomplished through training; which outcomes cannot be accomplished through training; which outcomes are not realistic in light of the implementing organisation’s institutional skills and resources. This would clarify right from the start the expectations of the outcomes of any program. Facilitators: The presence of appropriately skilled facilitators is so fundamental to the success of BRIDGE that the scoping process needs to include a quite detailed assessment of whether they are likely to be available.  A range of issues arise in relation to their choice and deployment. These include such things as: Availability: This includes time for preparation as well as the dates of the workshops. If the right facilitators are not available, it is probably best to postpone until they are. The makeup of the team: Is there gender balance? Do they have the right sorts of technical expertise? Do they have the required language skills? Is there a suitably qualified facilitator available to coordinate and accredit any facilitators who are to be accredited? Participants: Who will they be?  It should be kept in mind that the intention of the program is to enhance professional skills, rather than create those skills.  For participants to get the most benefit from the program they should: be motivated individuals, committed to the democratic process; be willing to share information, and to assist in the setting up of national training programs; and be willing to participate in the evaluation and further design of the program. It is here too, that it should be made clear that for BRIDGE to be most useful, numbers of participants should be kept to 25 or below. The following specific questions could be asked of the client organisation: What plan does the organisation have for providing training and/or professional development opportunities? What past training needs analysis or training courses have been done? How many people does this involve? What proportion are women? What are the resources (e.g. facilities) available to support the training program throughout the country? Are the rules and regulations for conducting an election in the country ready and available? How adequate are the knowledge and skills in the country to allow the running of an election that meets basic standards, such as transparency, reliability or cost effectiveness? How satisfied are the stakeholders for each of the electoral stages conducted in the country? Training needs analysis: If the client organisation has not completed a training needs analysis, the project team may have to conduct one as part of their scoping mission, so as to determine to what extent BRIDGE is adequate for covering such needs.  This may also require an auditing of the educational policies (staff development practices) of the organisation.  A comprehensive training needs analysis may need to be undertaken before or in conjunction with a BRIDGE program (if this is the imperative of the country). Recognition and acknowledgement: Due recognition is vitally important for building support for and ownership of BRIDGE. It should be borne in mind from the outset that a successful BRIDGE program is likely to be the work of many hands. Materials developed locally should clearly acknowledge, both on the cover and within, the BRIDGE Partner Organisations, the sources of the materials, the funding agency or agencies, the implementing agency or agencies, and other contributions (including of individuals) to the materials and to the project itself. Details of how this can best be done are set out in the ‘Copyright and acknowlgements’ section of 6.1 Preparing for a BRIDGE Module Workshop. The trip   When setting up a mission to visit a foreign country, a number of cultural and administrative protocols and other pre-departure matters (such as visas, cultural briefings, and interpreters) need to be taken into consideration. Typically, a mission will be conducted in response to a request by an interested organisation and will follow the initial analysis phase. A mutually convenient time will need to be agreed upon between the mission members and the interested organisation. Meetings should be pre-arranged in order to ensure best use of time during the scoping mission and to avoid operation events (such as voter registration periods or Elections) or cultural events and public holidays (e.g. Ramadan) For an on-site needs assessment mission to be thorough and meaningful, at least one trip should be arranged, for a minimum of one working week. The agenda for such a one-week mission could be as follows: Day 1 – Meet with the client organisation’s top officials (allow several hours for initial meeting and follow-up meetings, if necessary). Days 2 to 5 – Meet with local NGOs, other stakeholders, and electoral assistance or aid agencies  (for example IDEA, IFES, NDI, or UNDP), It is only through these types of face-to-face meetings that clear, informed recommendations can be made as to what sort of BRIDGE program (if any) will be of most use to the client organisation. […]
August 17, 2009

BRIDGE in Electoral Assistance and Capacity Building Programs

(see also 1.3 BRIDGE as a Professional Development Tool) As a component of electoral assistance programming, BRIDGE should not be seen as a ‘sand-alone’ feature but as a cross cutting capacity development tool with the ability to value-add in each assistance area. BRIDGE workshops integrate well with technical assistance programs in the earlier design and consultation phases of an electoral assistance program, and then periodically as a tool for reflection and analysis. BRIDGE workshops can serve as an effective launch activity for corresponding thematic sub-components of a broader technical assistance program. For instance, a voter registration technical assistance phase could be initiated by a customised implementation of the Voter Registration module with a registration specialist serving as an expert for the training alongside BRIDGE facilitators. As participants, the EMB staff and relevant stakeholders build confidence and knowledge about the upcoming voter registration process, the specialist gains an understanding of the local situation, and the relationships fostered between both parties could help to ensure that the success of subsequent technical assistance. Much as it does with other stakeholders, the BRIDGE workshop can be used as a dialogue tool to build mutual understanding and trust between the technical assistance program and client. Broad substantive relationships between the staff of both institutions, and deeper understanding of the real problems faced by both institutions, can lead to greater trust between the technical assistance program and the EMB, more effective program design, and eventually more successful implementation. The periodic implementation of BRIDGE modules throughout a technical assistance program can provide unique avenues for reflection and assessment away from the normal relationships and operational priorities. This integrated, consultative, reflective approach is in line with the recommendations on electoral assistance outlined by the European Commission and UNDP.2 Specific examples of electoral assistance and capacity development programs in which BRIDGE can be used an integrated or complementary tool are: technical, operational and management training programs public administration assistance institutional exchanges where members and staff visit other institutions international cooperation between EMBs and stakeholders from different countries international election observation by EMB staff and electoral stakeholders election practitioners networks whether global or regional degree programs in fields related to public administration and electoral processes mentoring programs whether within EMB staff or where international experts mentor national staff as part of technical assistance programs BRIDGE programs are ideally developed following the 10 principles established by UNDP Policy Group on Capacity Development: UNDP’s 10 Default Principles for Capacity Development Don’t rush.  Capacity development is a long-term process.  It eludes delivery pressures, quick fixes and the search for short-term results. Respect the value systems and foster self-esteem.  The imposition of alien values can undermine confidence. Capacity development builds upon respect and self-esteem. Scan locally and globally; reinvent locally. There are no blueprints. Capacity development draws upon voluntary learning, with genuine commitment and interest.  Knowledge cannot be transferred; it needs to be acquired. Challenge mindsets and power differentials. Capacity development is not power neutral, and challenging mindsets and vested interests is difficult. Frank dialogue and a collective culture of transparency are essential steps. Think and act in terms of sustainable capacity outcomes. Capacity is at the core of development; any course of action needs to promote this end. Responsible leaders will inspire their institutions and societies to work accordingly. Establish positive incentives. Motives and incentives need to be aligned with the objective of capacity development, including through governance systems that respect fundamental rights.  Public sector employment is one particular area where distortions throw up major obstacles. Integrate external inputs into national priorities, processes and systems. External inputs need to correspond to real demand and be flexible enough to respond to national needs and agendas. Where national systems are not strong enough, they should be reformed and strengthened, not bypassed. Build on existing capacities rather than creating new ones. This implies the use of national expertise, resuscitation and strengthening of national institutions, as well as protection of social and cultural capital. Stay engaged under difficult circumstances. The weaker the capacity the greater the need. Low capacities are not an argument for withdrawal or for driving external agendas. People should not be held hostage to irresponsible governance. Remain accountable to ultimate beneficiaries. Any responsible government is answerable to its people, and should foster transparency as the foremost instrument of public accountability.  Where governance is unsatisfactory it is even more important to anchor development firmly in stakeholder participation and to maintain pressure points for an inclusive accountability system. Source: UNDP, Ownership, Leadership and Transformation, NY (2003), p. 13. Sustainability & Capacity Development The BRIDGE activity-based methodology uses an approach that maximizes retention of knowledge and skills learned in the workshop. On the individual level, the impact of a BRIDGE program lasts well beyond the program in terms of confidence, sense of professional identity, skills and knowledge directly applicable to work, ethics, and access to networks. The BRIDGE philosophy is that through professional development, individual participants are in turn empowered to affect organizational and systemic reform. Evidence of success of a BRIDGE program in terms of sustainability, that is, if one was to visit an institution where a comprehensive BRIDGE program had been run 5 or 10 years earlier could be: Professional development is a higher corporate priority inside the institution reflected in human resource practices. A BRIDGE-like active learning approach is incorporated into a training regime making use of fully customized resources informed by the original BRIDGE materials. The morale of staff, institutional pride, and commitment to the values of democratic electoral processes is thriving. The performance of the institution in delivering certain elections-related functions that were the focus of the BRIDGE workshops has improved because of increased skills and processes inspired and informed by the BRIDGE experience and resources. There is increased understanding of broader issues of sustainability within the institution, for example as regards the introduction of IT solutions, procurement decisions etc. The improved state of relations between stakeholders brought together in BRIDGE workshops serves as an enabling factor for credible electoral processes. An improved policy framework is in place in specific areas corresponding to the focus of the BRIDGE program. Obviously, the level of expectation would have to be commensurate with the scale and quality of the original intervention. Factors that will affect the impact of a BRIDGE program are the extent of national ownership; the responsiveness and relevance of the programs; and the appropriate fit with a wider electoral assistance […]
August 17, 2009

Needs Assessment

Consideration of the use of BRIDGE may be prompted in a number of ways. A general request, not making specific mention of BRIDGE, may be received for assistance with electoral administration, electoral training or staff capacity development. In some cases a donor or BRIDGE partner conducts a broad country-based assessment on electoral assistance and may consider the option of using BRIDGE as part of an assistance package. Over a series of exploratory discussions, a consensus may develop between several bodies that the use of BRIDGE would be worth exploring, without there necessarily being a formal request. Another scenario is a specific request received directly from an organisation such as an electoral management body (EMB) or from the government of a country that would like to use BRIDGE as a short-term project. The first set of questions to assess whether BRIDGE would be relevant or feasible are: Where a request is submitted by an organisation, is it duly authorised to do so? (This is particularly important where an organisation is seeking assistance from a foreign source, in which case diplomatic and foreign policy issues are likely to arise). Is there a baseline commitment to democratic values in the interested organisation or country?  Is the use of BRIDGE being sought in order to legitimise processes or organisations that are obviously flawed? Has the interested organisation (for example an EMB) already been identified? Does it even exist? If not, is BRIDGE to be used for institution building? Is the interested organisation committed to staff development? Is there currently a critical mass of support for undertaking capacity development (not necessarily using BRIDGE)? How broad is that support among the interested organisation’s management and staff, partner organisations, implementing agencies and donors? Within these bodies, is support generalised or is it concentrated in certain individuals? Is there a formalised, institutional commitment or only a personal one? Is the use of BRIDGE being sought in order to generate change within an organisation? If support is not currently manifest, is this a permanent and unchangeable constraint or does it appear possible to build support at a later stage? Is there a long-standing personal or institutional relationship with the interested organisation? Will work be conducted through other organisations or individuals who have such a relationship? Is the use of BRIDGE expected to contribute to building such a relationship? On the basis of what can be discerned even before detailed examination, is there a reasonable prospect that resources will be able to be mobilised for the use of BRIDGE? What resources (in particular: funding for initial study and for later development and implementation; translated, customised and appropriately adapted materials, evaluation, time; accredited facilitators; and experienced project managers) might be available, both within and from outside the country? Are the interested organisation’s priorities likely to be dominated by short-term, often election-related, tasks? Are there aspects of the environment in a country – for example, the security situation – that would essentially rule out the conduct of BRIDGE workshops, at least in the short run, or significantly constrain the way in which BRIDGE might be used? Is there agreement on the expenditure of funds and resources? With widely differing needs competing for limited funds, and with many options available to satisfy those needs, reaching agreement on what should actually be done may be difficult. It is crucial that the project advocate recognise this. If the answers to these questions suggest that the use of BRIDGE is not likely to be a feasible option, other forms of support and capacity development – which are beyond the scope of this manual – might nevertheless be considered. It should also be understood that the answers, should they be insufficient to guide a decision on whether or not to use BRIDGE, may nevertheless serve to identify factors to be taken into account in determining the best approach to needs assessment, design and implementation of an electoral assistance program. Should BRIDGE be a relevant part of an envisioned package, a needs assessment will inform all the relevant stakeholders of the consultative process followed, key areas to be addressed, potential strategy to implement the project and ensure the evaluation of the impact of the project. This needs assessment process should involve at least one accredited, experienced BRIDGE facilitator. This will help to anticipate any problems (logistical, technical, or financial) that might be encountered during implementation, as well as build a relationship with the main stakeholders. When an assessment is undertaken, one of the first steps should involve communication with other BRIDGE partners working in the area, allowing for streamlining and integration of BRIDGE activities to maximise impact. Typical outputs of a needs assessment process would be: An assessment of the existing conditions that enable the conduct of capacity development, such as past learning experiences, institutional and operational contexts and stakeholder concerns. An assessment of the factors that inhibit the conduct of capacity development. The development of criteria that allow for the measurement of the impact of the capacity development project. The development of recommendations for practical and cost effective means of capacity development. Assessment considerations summary The conduct of the needs assessment to take into account some of the following considerations: Appropriateness of BRIDGE BRIDGE may not be the most appropriate tool to be used in a particular context. There are instances where institutional, operational or human resource issues may result in other solutions being more appropriate. The context may require more direct electoral assistance rather than the use of BRIDGE or even individualised processes such as coaching, which may make BRIDGE inappropriate as the required tool.   Capacity development vs. operational training It is likely that many clients will consider that, rather than a BRIDGE-style workshop, what they need is operational training directly related to their work.   Target groups Ideally, participants should represent a cross-section of the organisation’s personnel, for example, senior managers, middle managers field staff only. Increasingly, BRIDGE workshops have been used effectively to sensitise, inform and engage other stakeholders in the electoral process such as political party members, community leaders and journalists. Centralised vs. decentralised training The client may have preferences concerning the number and location of workshops. This will determine the type, composition and length of the BRIDGE program, as well as the funding required.   Time frame for training The electoral cycle is a useful tool for a dialogue on effective sequencing and timing, recognising  that realistically the best laid plans may change dramatically due to circumstances such as changes in the legal or political arena   Compatibility with other capacity development initiatives It is important for BRIDGE planning to be aware of other capacity development initiatives that are happening that at the time/place, and ensure appropriate coordination and compatibility between programs.   Risk assessment Planning for any project requires undertaking an assessment of the risks involved. Such an assessment should be outlined in a risk assessment plan that would cover the following aspects: risks, in other words, possible events which could compromise the success of the project likelihood of occurrence likely impact measures considered to minimise and manage identified […]
July 20, 2009

AEC staff deliver BRIDGE sessions in Timor Leste

Brian Latham (Lead and Accrediting Facilitator) and Gordon Marshall arrived in Timor Leste with short prior notice to deliver three workshops consecutively over an eight working day period. We arrived early on a Friday morning and spent a very busy Friday and weekend with Augusto Pereira and Pedro da Silva (translator) preparing for the first two workshops which were scheduled from Monday to Friday that following week.
March 11, 2009

BRIDGE Training Workshop in Cairo

Final Report on the BRIDGE Training Workshop (28 February - 4 March 2009), Cairo, Egypt Introduction and Background The last fifteen years witnessed an increase number of elections all over the world. Many electoral assistance providers, therefore, have gradually begun to recognise that building in-country electoral capacity is much more important than providing ad hoc electoral assistance from outside. As a result, the aim of electoral assistance should be to achieve sustainable electoral development by helping emerging democracy building local capacity and sharing comparative experience in the field of election management.
December 1, 2008


The BRIDGE office has been compiling a list of all programs and workshops that have been conducted since it commenced. This information will be added to an online list event list that can be easily searched. Information of the progress of the development of the website will be advised in future newsletters.


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