Since 2006 IDEA has conducted a series of regional BRIDGE courses for participants from East and Southern Africa. The regional approach hasshown to have a number of additional benefits beyond the impact of the training on improving the participants' skills and knowledge. One of the major benefits of the regional approach has been the comparative experience that participants are able to share from their diverse national backgrounds.
Another is the informal regional peer network that has been established through BRIDGE which is helping to strengthen a broader sense of professionalism as election administrators.
In 2007 IDEA signed an MOU with the African Union Commission covering a variety of thematic areas related to democracy building. The MOU has been transformed into a joint IDEA-AU 5 year action plan which will be implemented from 2008. This programme has a significant BRIDGE component which will adopt a regional approach. It is envisaged that IDEA, in collaboration with the AU, will organise a series of BRIDGE courses in the 4 official languages of the AU (Arabic, English, French and Portuguese)to be held for all the regions of Africa over the coming 5 year.
Participants will be drawn from AU member states’ EMBs. The courses planned are a variety of Train the Facilitator Courses, BRIDGE Modules and Implementation Workshops. Through the TtF and Implementation Workshop components the project will aim to build local capacity to utilise BRIDGE in the national EMBs.
The project will be conducted with donor funding.
IDEA is pleased to announce that the Australian Government through its development organisation AusAID is the first donor to provide funding for the project. AusAID has pledged AUD$ 1,000,000 to the project for the coming 2 years. AusAID has been a strong supporter of BRIDGE especially in Africa.