Breaking Ground Zambia BRIDGE “TRAIN THE FACILITATOR” WORKSHOP

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In continued support of the regional electoral network, Southern African Development Community – Election Support Network (SADC-ESN) the ‘Preventing Electoral Violence in the SADC region’, PEV-SADC (www.pev-sadc.eu ) project delivered a BRIDGE Training the Facilitators session in Zambia from 11 to 22 November 2013. The PEV-SADC project beneficiaries are 14 countries of the Southern African Development Community

The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the European Centre for Electoral Support ECES, (www.eces.eu), the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA (www.eisa.co.za ), and the SADC-ESN (www.sadc-esn.org ).

The Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) Project was such a wonderful opportunity for Civil society representatives and key stakeholders in Zambia to be engaged in and be trained. The BRIDGE Training and Facilitating workshop was quite edifying and the skills and certificates so obtained would be a very useful tool in our day to day livelihood.

The 10 days Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop held between 11th and 22nd November, 2013 at Cresta Golf View Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, was not only a mind unlocking experience and a self-awareness arrangement but also knowledge and capacity building for individuals and stakeholders in the electoral process, governance, democracy and matters incidental thereto. There are numerous matters pertaining to the electoral process that most stakeholders, including us as participants, take for granted in the electoral cycle that were brought to the fore during the training.

The introductory and official opening of the workshop was enriching. The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Elfridah Kansembe’s official opening speech was spot on with regards to the violence that has of late rocked our electoral process in Zambia and the coming at the right time of the Train the Facilitator workshop for the stakeholders in Zambia.

The design of the workshop and training including the packaging of issues, modules and topics is comprehensive while the delivery was intensive and participatory making the whole project inspiring and challenging. The manner in which the learning styles were couched and the way they were brought out helped us to be aware of the learning style that is prime in each of us. This further opened our minds to always be aware and alert of the fact that individuals learn differently thereby the need to employ a variety of learning styles, methodologies and aids so as to cater for all participants. The capacity received though the training by participants drawn from the Civil Society Organisations, the media etc. would be used to develop materials for respective stakeholders especially around issues of civic and voter information and education.

The significance of the constructive feedback in Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop was extremely helpful and will go a long way in building us.

Our facilitation skills have been enhanced. We now know when and how to engage the participants in the proceedings of our facilitation in future after the BRIDGE training taking into account the adult learning aspect. We further can brag of having a wealth of ice breakers/energizers.

The fact that the training contained both theoretical and practical components with the latter part taking the larger portion was a very significant way of acquiring skills. This did not only go in tandem with the notion that practice makes perfect but also that when one puts to practice what they learnt it was embedded in their mind and not easily forgotten.

Our knowledge and awareness on cross-cutting issues/themes which include access, gender, technology, integrity, sustainability, conflict management and environment and their consideration at all times of our facilitation cannot be over-emphasized after undergoing the bridge-train the facilitator workshop. The project management and planning skills gained cannot be underrated.

The highly unmatched team of facilitators composed of Rindai Chipfunde Vava (Zimbabwe), Zage Filipovski (Macedonia) and Jocelyn Mubita (Zambia) did not only cultivate our facilitation skills and knowledge in the democracy, governance and elections but also challenged and inspired all of us (participants) to put in our best and look forward to be accredited as BRIDGE Facilitators. This team was highly qualified and their charisma and vast knowledge of BRIDGE facilitation skills made it easier for us to understand what was involved.

The closing ceremony equally touched the core of the heart and was energising. In her closing remarks, the Inspector General of Police, Madam Stella Libongani, through the speech read for her by the Acting Lusaka Province Commissioner, Mr. Nelson Phiri noted that it was sad and unfortunate that women and youth continue to be used by politicians and political parties as tools of violence and perpetrators of electoral violence in Zambia, a phenomenon that she assured should be stopped through the employment of all strategies and that the TtF came in handy on the matter. Both Chairpersons of FODEP and ZNWL (Mr. Shepard Chilombe and Ms. Beauty Katebe) challenged the police to be proactive in the maintenance of law and order if the peace and tranquillity Zambia has enjoyed for many years is to be sustained and if women and youth are to effectively participate in the electoral process without hindrance and intimidation. The SADC-ESN Board member, Mr. Macdonald Chipenzi challenged the trained and those to be semi-accredited facilitators to go flat out and use the gained skills and avoid to be relegated to the inactive portfolio after three years of being dormant. Mr. Guess Nyirenda delivered a vote of thanks ,assured the stakeholders to the training on behalf of the beneficiaries that the trained facilitators would not sit idle and watch violence and electoral violence eat the fibre of peace (especially that it was the youth and women –their peers that were being used as tools and perpetrators)dismantled and distorted after acquiring the necessary tools apart from giving the accolades of such a mind unlocking and skills enhancing training and experience.

We would be failing in our duties if we did not extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Bridge office, funding partners, and organisers of the project. Further, our skills and knowledge acquisition as participants would be in vain if we do not endeavour to impart this knowledge on others.
By: Guess Nyirenda- Email: guessnyirenda@yahoo.com or oyvleader2000@yahoo.com
Executive Director- Operation Young Vote (OYV)- +260 955 769 688/ +260 977 769 688

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