We love BRIDGE for the magic environment it can create during those special courses where everyone leaves feeling like family. Last week’s Election Observation module in Pristina, Kosovo was one of those special courses. 21 participants from two Kosovar national observation CSOs spent the week sipping macchiato and getting fired up about domestic electoral observation. The course was part of a series of related activities organized by the OSCE. Implemented by ECES, the five-day program provided an in-depth study of most of the major areas of electoral observation, providing participants with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enhance and professionalize their activities. Participants had the opportunity to apply their skills by designing deployment plans; engaging in comparative analysis of manuals, forms and reports; learning to prepare a preliminary statement and translating international principles into real-life actions within a polling station, just to name a few of the exciting and original activities introduced during the course. New materials on gender-specific electoral observation were introduced during a dedicated session.
This BRIDGE workshop on election observation is the fourth in a row of training sessions that OSCE has funded during the fall for mainly two local umbrella organisations, namely Democracy in Action (DiA) and Democracy for Development (D4D). From 29 to 30 September, the first workshop was delivered on international standards and commitments pertaining to elections; principles and good practices for EMBs accountability and methods of assessing EMBs performance, anchored in the context of Kosovo. The second workshop held between 27 to 28 October dealt with electoral justice covering both theoretical issues (general principles of legal system, international standards on electoral justice, different models worldwide) and practical ones (key points of Kosovo electoral legislation, legal practice of EMBs. Participants became familiar with practice of the EMBs as well as challenges that they face when implement and interpret relevant laws. From 10 to 11 November, the topics were Municipal Election Commissions (MECs), Political Entities (PEs) and electoral finance, and public procurement in Kosovo. The workshop provided and opportunity for the participants to become familiar with MEC appointment, duties and responsibilities, PEs registration and certification process and legal obligations with regard to electoral finances, and procurement procedures and legislation.
Thus this training was the first that was delivered using BRIDGE methodology and content and participants noted that it stood out as particularly enriching. The course content was contextualized and driven by a uniquely specialized team of facilitators, who collectively brought experience from almost 100 international and domestic observation missions worldwide. The course was facilitated by Gabrielle Bardall (USA, Expert-level facilitator), Victoria Florinder (Sweden, Workshop facilitator) and supported by Franck Balme (France, semi-accredited) and Leandro Nagore (Spain, expert resource person). Franck Balme received his full accreditation during the course.