The BRIDGE project in Georgia is implemented by UNDP project Promoting Dialogue and Capacity for Effective National Electoral Processes funded by the European Union. Three major components of the project support are: Facilitation of a Revised Electoral Code, Effective Electoral Administration and Other Stakeholders, Voter Education and Public Awareness.
BRIDGE in Georgia was first introduced in 2003 as HYBRIDGE for the operational training of EMBs; since then BRIDGE methodology has been used for 7 different EMB operational training programs.
Recent capacity building initiatives was launched in March 2009 with the Needs Assessment and implemented through the TtF (July 2009); consequently, mid-level EMBs were targeted and 5-days BRIDGE workshops (in total 20 workshops) were conducted for the members of District Election Commissioners (August-October 2009). Project consultants conducted 5-days Introductory workshop for CEC PR Department (October 2009).
UNDP Elections Project, for 2010, has set forth aim to deliver the BRIDGE workshops for the Central level involving Department of Legal affairs, CEC members and the heads of Secretariat departments. While the need to introduce BRIDGE to the other stakeholders became vital, BRIDGE showcase was designed and delivered to the main Observer organizations’ managerial staff.
Per the recommendations, UNDP Electoral Project has set the aim to deliver the BRIDGE Introduction module to the mixed group of Observers and Election Administration. In total 32 observers of four Observer Organizations (International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Georgian Young Lawyer Association (GYLA), Public Movement Multinational Georgia (PMMG), New Generation New Initiatives (NGNI)) and 19 representatives of Election Administration (heads of CEC Secretariat Units, DEC chairmen, Training Centre staff) participated in the workshops. Three workshops were conducted during 28-31 January, 2-6 February and 9-12 February, 2011 in Sheraton Batumi Hotel, Batumi Georgia. The workshops were facilitated by lead facilitator Natia Kashakashvili, workshop faciltator Giorgi Sharabidze and two semi-accredited facilitators: Tamar Zhvania and Davit Todria.
Along with the capacity building initiative, the aim of the workshop was to facilitate mixture and building good working relationship within the stakeholders.
Agenda for the Intro workshop were compiled of topics: Why have elections, Electoral Cycle, EMB types and case studies, Ethics in Elections and Codes of Conduct, Introduction and principles of Electoral Systems and country profiles, Introduction and principles of Boundary delimitation, Voter registration principles and types of Voter Register, Voter Information principles, steps and design, Planning the electoral event and Dispute Resolution.
BRIDGE methodology, introduced during the 4-days workshop, was the main point for evaluation. Participants were surprised to see the difference between the operational trainings and BRIDGE facilitation; they praised the smooth facilitation by four facilitators (commonly everybody are used to trainings with one trainer). All of them expressed the willingness and need to attend the TtF for the Observers; moreover, they have urged that representatives of the political parties also need to receive the BRIDGE trainings; all the participants noted that they will try to incorporate the BRIDGE methodology in their work. One of the participants, the head of the CEC IT unit, mentioned, that he found himself in the whole process of Elections and that now he can see his specific role much better in this enormous process.
Through the evaluations, facilitators could see the strife of participants to know more on the topics delivered, as well as more time/days for the training.