The Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan conducted the BRIDGE V2 Civic Education module on the 19-23 February 2011. Financial support was provided by Aus AID through TAF (The Asia Foundation). In total 28 participants attended.
The IEC realised that the BRIDGE curriculum implemented in Afghanistan backin 2006 was very useful for capacity building of staff in different electoral aspects. After conducting the Presidential Election in 2009 and Parliamentary Election in 2010 the IEC has planned to continue implementing various BRIDGE V2 modules based on IEC staff requirements.
The Civic Education module was the first module of BRIDGE V2 which was implemented in Afghanistan. The participants were mostly involved in public outreach activities during the election operation. Most of them were newly recruited during this process and were have not attended in any BRIDGE programs in past .
The participants were from various organisations including: IEC field staff (13, Provincial Public Outreach Officers); IEC-HQ staff (10, Public outreach department, Gender unit, training department and executive unite); FEFA (2); AAEO (2 Afghanistan Association of Electoral Officials) and TAF (1). 4 IFES staff who work with the IEC could not attend the last three days of the program.
The workshop was conducted in both mixed local languages which are Pashto and Dari. There were four Afghan BRIDGE facilitators including Shahla Haque (Accrediting Facilitator), Mr.Awalul Rahman Roodwal (Workshop Facilitator), Bakht Mohammad Bakhtyar (Workshop Facilitators) and Mr.Rasol Haba (Semi-accredited Facilitator).
Over all the sessions went well. Participants were mostly familiar with voter information and voter education activities. Participants understood the importance of civic education especially in our country. All the topics were interesting for the participants especially the definition of civic education , developing the program , designing the program , school based program , gender issues in civic education programs , implementing the program , monitoring and case studies.
The participants during the activities were able to provide a long list of civic education programs that are required in our country (the important points were: anti corruption, anti narcotic drugs, preventing compulsory wedding of women, decreasing the wedding parties costs, women rights, preventing too much child delivery, illiteracy, the impertinence of children education , preventing nationality conflicts)
Mainstreaming Democracy in Our Institutions topic was interesting but participants didn’t want to share their views openly in this regard. Some participants suggested to not have this topic anymore because if the participants are from different organisations they will not share the negative points of their organisations with others. In addition, if the participants are from same organisation they also will not share the negative points for job securing.
Participants actively participated in all discussions and working group activities. They were surprised with BRIDGE methodology that were used during the program. They found the methodology as the best practice for better understanding and more importantly the participants from other organisations shared their experiences happily and more examples were giving from our own country.
The participants were satisfied with all training course management and performance. They were interesting to attend in other BRIDGE programs and suggested to conduct other BRIDGE modules. At the end of this session the participants expressed their appreciation from the Afghan BRIDGE Facilitator team along with the Australian BRIDGE team together with all other respectful partners, TAF and AusAID .
– Participant from IEC: I never participated in BRIDGE training in past. I was only familiar with listening the lecture but I understood the importance of participants involvement in learning. This is the best methodology that I have seen in my life.
– Participant from FEFA: I studied 4 years university but I realized this 5 days training on civic education summarised the 4 years studying for me . All the topics in this module covered all the issues those I required to know. He suggested to invite him in other BRIDGE training program.
– Participant from IEC: I participated in other training programs too but this program environment was totally different for me. We are surprise with patient and friendly behaviors of all facilitators.