The aim of the training was to accredit a high quality group of facilitators using the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections also known as the BRIDGE methodology.
BRIDGE is an excellent election administration training course using many adult learning techniques.
The course has 23 modules relating to elections grouped under 4 topics, namely being: electoral foundation, working with electoral stakeholders, electoral architecture and electoral operations.
The training was held from the 17th to 28th November, 2008 at the Community Education Training Centre (CETC) situated at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Narere, Fiji. Participants were also hosted and accommodated at the Centre.
The three BRIDGE facilitators for this training program were Mr Michael Clancy from Australia, Ms.Tina Harihiru from Solomon Islands and Ms.Jeannette Bolenga from Vanuatu.
The training was generously sponsored by several partners and these included: United Nations, UNDP, AusAid, UNIFEM, University of the South Pacific (USP), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)
There were 19 female and 1 male participants from 12 pacific countries that attended the training. Participants were from Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Kingdom of Tonga, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Tokelau, Palau and Cook Islands.
All participants that attended this training were successfully awarded a partial accreditation completion certificate Level 4 as a BRIDGE facilitator using the BRIDGE methodology.
There were many great things I have learnt from attending this training, particularly how we can conduct a more effective and efficient training in our country to help empower women in the Cook Islands to become stronger citizens and leaders through participation in leadership roles and decision making bodies of the Cook Islands. Furthermore, I am very honored in meeting and sharing experiences with amazing women and men within our pacific region.
On a personal note, I walked into this course not having the slightest idea of what to expect or how I can adapt myself to such multi-cultural learning environment, but I am privileged to walk away from it with further knowledge and understanding on what gender equality in Political Governance is all about within the Pacific Region with the extensive learning I have achieved from BRIDGE. This has also been a stepping stone for me personally as President of Business and Professional Women’s Association in the Cook Islands to be able to use the BRIDGE methodology to further engage and empower women not only in my non-government organization in the Cook Islands, but to also extend this wonder opportunity to Cook Island women of all professions.
Another success I have encountered during this training is the effective and beneficial use of the BRIDGE methodology as a tool in establishing and assisting Cook Islands Business and Professional Women’s Association in promoting an effective and efficient workshop intended for January 2009 to implement and introduce ‘Women in Governance’ to all women and their respective professions in the Cook Islands.
I take this opportunity to commend our wonderful and enthusiastic facilitators for their great support during the two weeks in ensuring that each participant has accomplished their targeted goals of being accredited facilitators whilst being on ‘Train the Facilitator’ workshop.
To the wonderful participants within the Pacific Region who have attended this two weeks training, I thank you all for the kind heart each one of you has shown my fellow participant and I during the entire two weeks and I wish you all the best in continuing to introduce an effective and efficient BRIDGE methodology program within your respective countries. I wish you all the best for the future.
Last but not least, to all the wonderful vibrant staff of the Community Education Training Centre, I thank you all for your fantastic hospitality, warm and friendly smiles for making our stay a memorable one even though we are miles away from home, you all made us feel at home during the two weeks.
Kia Orana, Meitaki Maata e Kia Manuia.
Business & Professional Women’s Association President