From September 16 through 20, with USAID support, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) brought together 22 participants from the Malian Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the Direction Générale des Elections (DGE), the Ministry of Territorial Administration (MATD) – the three EMBs – and staff from the local IFES office.
For over 20 years, Mali was considered one of the most stable democracies in West Africa. The March 2012 military coup put a halt to its democratic development and was an unfortunate setback that shattered the country on the security, political and humanitarian levels. However, the August 2013 presidential elections which peacefully brought Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to the presidency were applauded by Malians and the international community. Mali has indeed come a long way since the coup and the ensuing war waged to regain its northern territories.
In an exceptionally convivial and friendly atmosphere, participants were introduced to the BRIDGE methodology and to key modules such as Introduction to Electoral Administration, Electoral Operations, Electoral Systems and Electoral Dispute Resolution.
This first BRIDGE workshop was much awaited by Malian EMBs. It took place a few weeks after historical presidential elections and provided a venue for productive and constructive discussions on lessons-learned and way forward.
Some selected quotes from participants:
“This training could not have come at a better time. We are delighted by this great initiative and encourage you to hold more. Mali needs more of these.” Mr. Issaga Kampo, CENI Vice-President
“How could you hide this beautiful methodology from us for so long?” – Andry Ranohavimboahangy, IFES Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
“We are delighted to have had facilitators who understand our troubles and come from us. Please do this again.” – Mme Bagayogo Aminata Traore, former CENI President
The training was facilitated by Kamissa Camara (Expert BRIDGE trainer) and Sidi Diawara (IFES Country Director in Mali) who received his full accreditation for a job well done. Congratulations Sidi!
By Kamissa Camara