The workshop was inaugurated by Mr Kanwar Mahammad Dilshad, Secretary of the ECP, and Mr Peter Erben, IFES Chief of Party in Pakistan. Mr Dilshad in his concluding remarks thanked IFES, the participnats, and the facilitators for thier contribution that “enhanced our understanding of the electoral environment in the competitive and challenging electoral environment”. Mr Dilshad also stressed the fact that “the full implementation of BRIDGE corriculum comprising 23 distinct modules will go along way in the history of the Election Commission of Pakistan”.
The participants began the two-week workshop with sessions on the background of BRIDGE, the teaching methodology behind it and the Learning Outcomes of the TtF Program. Participants then applied the new materials through variety of activities, such as Role Play, Group Work and Case Study. In between, facilitators used the icebreakers and the energizers to establish rapport among the participants and to rejuvenate the mind and body. Participants quickly responded to BRIDGE teaching methodology by showing utmost participation and enthusiasm. In the first day of the workshop, participants developed their own code of conduct, which is not only an exercise in team building, but also another approach to working with adults and a way of constructing accepted behaviours for the rest of the two weeks.
Participants then were asked to work in pairs to present (facilitate) BRIDGE activities that are assigned to them by the facilitators. Participants were so receptive and they enjoyed acting as a facilitator and they performed their activities perfectly. Pairs were then assigned different topics (media, electoral systems, boundary delimitation, complaints, operations, etc) and were asked to write their own key understandings and learning outcomes and to design activities that reflect the learning outcomes. Participants were required to prepare all the resources they need for the presentation i.e. hand outs, OHP transparencies, PPTs and scenarios for the role-plays. Then they need to swap what they have written with another pair. In this case, they will not only act as presenters/facilitators but they will also learn how to design and write their own training materials. Facilitators were so delighted to see the participants working as a team, discussing their activities and writing great materials. Again the participants performed brilliantly, this time not only as presenters/facilitators but also as writers. They were so creative and they wrote enjoyable role-plays, Informative debates and great group works.
On the last 2 days of the workshop, participants developed implementation frameworks for implementing BRIDGE in their context; they were so enthusiastic, they expressed the need to implement BRIDGE in the near future in order to develop the capacity of the electoral administrators and to build bridges between their institution and stakeholders in the electoral process.
Evaluation forms and the informal feedback we received while engaging participants in conversation in breaks, indicated that they felt that both the content and methodology of the program were appropriate, relevant and engaging. The Train the Facilitator workshop was successful and achieved the set objectives. This is due to many factors covering all stages of preparation, conduct, and on-going evaluation of the workshop. The way in which the participants engaged with the material and the high standard of their discussion and written work indicates that such programs have the potential to impact positively on their work as electoral administrators.