BRIDGE for the Anambra State IEC

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UNDP/DGD  Funded Bridge Training on Introduction to Election Administration for Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission,  Held at  NIKE Lake Hotel, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria 12th- 16th August 2013.

They say that, there is  “always light at the end of the tunnel” is the situation Anambra people in South Eastern Nigeria are in, at this point in time. Having spent fifteen years of no elections at local government, the Governor recently surprised them with announcement and all is geared towards 5th October 2013, when they will conduct their  Local Government elections.

After receiving a  go ahead, the Chairman of the Commission , Hon. Sylvester Odebe  Okonkwo requested the UNDP/ DGD Programme to equip them with the necessary skills to deliver this long waited Local Government Elections in a free and fair manner. He went ahead and specified areas, the Commission required interventions. Most the areas fell within the introduction to election management module.  

Having received  this urgent request and in line with the objectives of the programme, Democratic Governance for Development, a project under UNDP funded the introduction to election administration module for Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission. The DGD project is funded with contributions from European Commission (EU), UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

The training was held at NIKE Lake Hotel in Enugu State. It was attended by thirty one (31) participants, thirteen female and eighteen male. The Chairman of Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission and his entire Commission  also attended. The  course covered, Principles and standards, the concept of free and fair elections, BRIDGE as a course,  the electoral cycle, election management bodies, electoral assistance, the legal framework, the electoral code of conduct for Anambra State, electoral systems, boundary delimitation, working with stakeholders, strategic and financial planning, civic education, voter education, voter registration, polling counting and results, polling environment and materials, electoral dispute, sustainability concepts, code of conduct, electoral integrity and one extra thing charactor.

The five day intensive course was an eye opener to the State Commission and staff. Most members had never attended any election training or even ever known the existence of BRIDGE as a course.  The excitement and enthusiasm during training was one of its kind.  The trainees were grateful to UNDP for the rear opportunity accorded. They pledge to adhere to the training objectives while conducting the local government council elections. BRIDGE trainings have made tremendous impact around the world and this one did not disappoint either. This was exhibited in their comments at the end of the training like:
” Before this training, I did not know that election work relied more on personal integrity. I will try to uphold my integrity as it is the only asset, I have in life”
“I am confident now that, I know how to deal with stakeholders, I have always been worried of them.”
” I wish such training could be extended to all our staff, work would be more enjoyable”
“This is a life changing training”
“I will begin by drawing my plan, then my section plan”
“From the electoral cycle, I learnt that post elections period is the most useful time for election managers as it helps them plan”
“I am grateful to UNDP/DGD for the training, I have never handled elections, but now I am confident that, I will handle the upcoming elections.  I am not wondering anymore.”

The BRIDGE training is expected to prepare officials of ANSIEC for the local council election scheduled for October 5th, 2013. The training was to build capacity, skills and knowledge  for participants to be able to plan, administer and execute the election using international best practices and  restore some level of credibility to the conduct of elections at the grassroots in Nigeria.

It was Facilitated by Nawe Molly Kamukama,  Accrediting Facilitator  and Agoha Ifeanyi-Chukwu, Chuta Chijindu both workshop facilitators.

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