BRIDGE Scoping Mission for the League of Arab States (LAS)

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Background
The United Nations Development Program’s Regional Center in Cairo (UNDP-RCC) sponsored a BRIDGE Scoping Mission to assess the training needs of the League of Arab States of BRIDGE training. UNDP-RCC assigned two BRIDGE facilitators to carry out this scoping mission and set a long term capacity building plan. This Scoping mission to assess the training needs of BRIDGE for the League of Arab States (LAS), represents a stage of the capacity-building plan for the LAS. The Scoping  mission followed one-day BRIDGE showcase to officials of the LAS that took place on Wednesday 6 November 2013 at the headquarter of LAS in Cairo. The capacity building to the LAS is part of the ongoing long history of cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

In addition to the UN and LAS cooperation on areas like civil society, private sector, development, and humanitarian affairs, UNDP-RCC has been involved with LAS in elections. In 2011 and 2012, UNDP-RCC engaged LAS in three BRIDGE events: regional BRIDGE workshop in Amman in December 2011 and two BRIDGE workshops for LAS officials that took place in LAS headquarter in Cairo in April 2012.

Recently UNDP-RCC and LAS agreed on a concept note for electoral capacity-building support for LAS. Based on this agreed concept note, UNDP-RCC is providing electoral assistance to LAS in four areas: 

  1. Establishing an electoral roster;
  2. Establishing an electoral institutional memory;
  3. Conducing one or two workshop(s) for a selected number of LAS observers/staff on the methodology for conducting needs assessment missions;
  4. Organizing a BRIDGE showcase and training workshop for LAS staff/trainers.

This Scoping  mission for BRIDGE training need assessment together with the BRIDGE showcase come under area four “Organizing a BRIDGE showcase and training workshop for LAS staff/trainers” of the capacity building plan.

Objectives
The objective of this assignment has two folds: The first objective is for the Scoping Mission for the League of Arab States. The second is for a BRIDGE Showcase to serve as an input to the BRIDGE scoping mission.

 The purpose of this scoping assignment was to conduct a scoping mission for the United Nations Development Program: Regional Center in Cairo to determine the training needs of the League of Arab States to support its role in election observation and electoral assistance to its member states and the use of BRIDGE training curriculum for this purpose.

 The purpose of the showcase is to implemented a one-day BRIDGE Showcase workshop that aims at:

1) Provide input to the scoping mission of BRIDGE training to LAS,

2) Explain the history and development of BRIDGE program,

3) To present BRIDGE practical and participatory methodology, and

4) Explore the different modules of BRIDGE through presenting several training sessions from chosen modules.

Facilitation Team for the Scoping Mission

The facilitation team comprised two BRIDGE facilitators who participated in the preparation and carry out this scoping assignment:

  1. Hassan Hussein (BRIDGE accrediting facilitator)
  2. Ossama Kamel (BRIDGE expert facilitator)

Findings and Methodology

Several meetings and interviews were held to assess the BRIDGE training needs of the League with officials and representatives from different departments of LAS.  These assessment meetings were designed in form of semi-structured interview (SSI) and focus group discussion. In addition to the official meetings with the LAS officials as part of this assignment, the evaluation of the Showcase was also taken into consideration where participants were asked on which BRIDGE modules is needed from their point of view.

The meetings were held with a representative group constituted of a number of officials and research staff. Four main criteria were developed and agreed to select participants against: 1) Representation of different departments in LAS, 2) Diversification of nationalities, 3) Experience in election, and 4) Gender.

Participants came from different departments within the League. Participants represented seven different nationalities and all have had previous involvement in election with the League either in BRIDGE training or election observation.

Recommendations

Based on the scoping mission; findings of assessment meetings with officials and employees of the League of Arab States; the showcase provided by UNDP-RCC on 6 November 2013; and the literature and desk research, a full list of recommendations submitted to the UNDP Regional Center in Cairo. The recommendations included provision of series of selected BRIDGE workshops to be provided to the League of Arab States staff from Election Department and from other relevant departments who have direct and indirect involvement in elections with LAS.

The recommended BRIDGE modules classified by the four main areas of BRIDGE:
a. The Foundation Modules:
b. Electoral Architecture:
c. Working with Electoral Stakeholders:
d. Electoral Operations:

In addition, a Train the Facilitators workshop (TtF) is also recommended. This is not only a demand by the participants as well as officials of LAS during all assessment meetings conducted with them but also as a means that will contribute to ensure the sustainability of BRIDGE within the LAS election mandates. Two year capacity building plan has been drawn and submitted to UNDP-RCC in the full scoping mission report.

 

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