Queensland continued its strong support of BRIDGE when the Introduction Module was run in Brisbane from April 4-7. Stuart Fraser was joined by NSW’s Peita Mamo for a great course. The very next week saw BRIDGE in Perth, where Module 5: Voter Registration was run for the first time. Facilitated by locals Ian Stringall and Pat Satie (who had only just returned from facilitating BRIDGE in Papua New Guinea), WA AEO Jennie Gzik was pleased to report that “this is a first for WA to have two local facilitators conduct a module and I am very proud of Ian and Pat’s achievements.”
A new intake of Victorian DROs was welcomed to the AEC with a couple of BRIDGE courses in Melbourne. The Introduction Module took place from April 19-21, facilitated by Ross Attrill, Bill Lang and Bassam Alyaseri. Bill and Bassam were completing their accreditation after completing the first part at the 2005 Train the Facilitator in Melbourne, and did a great job.
Bill returned as a fully-fledged facilitator a few weeks later to facilitate Module 2: Electoral Systems with Yvonne Goudie. Another 2005 TtF alumna, Nahla Abdouka, also co-facilitated to complete her accreditation. Electoral Systems is one of the most challenging BRIDGE modules, so the contributions of two guest speakers were very welcome, with Swinburne University’s Brian Costar discussing electoral systems in Australia, and Victorian Deputy AEO Tim Glanville talking about the system in the Australian Senate.
Two more BRIDGE courses are scheduled for the end of the financial year, with the Introduction Module being run once more in Brisbane, and New South Wales running Module 2: Electoral Systems for the first time in Sydney.
Apart from these great internal courses, the BRIDGE office has been kept busy in other areas. The BRIDGE website was relaunched at the end of April with new design and features, and can be accessed at www.bridge-project.org.
Version 2 of BRIDGE is well underway with writers from around the world contributing material and expertise, and already the new version of module 1 (now called the Introduction Module) has been tested in New Zealand, as well as in Queensland and Victoria.
Interest in BRIDGE is starting to blossom in South Asia, with Ross Attrill conducting scoping missions in Bangladesh and Bhutan in May with a view to designing a full BRIDGE program in both countries. Bhutan will be running its first national elections ever in 2008.
And of course BRIDGE continues to grow in the Pacific, kicking off with a Train the Facilitator in Fiji in July. Africa may also welcome a Train the Facilitator course, with plans for an English-Portuguese TtF in the pipelines for Angola.