International IDEA has been engaged in building the capacity of African Election Management Body (EMB) personnel with support from AusAID since 2004. From 2008 IDEA’s AusAID funded programme encompassed 35 EMBs from across the African continent.
AusAID through its Africa Governance Fund is providing funds for the continuation of International IDEA projects “BRIDGE Capacity-Building Training for Election Management Bodies in Africa: Support to the IDEA – African Union Joint Activity Plan 2011 – 2013”.
The aim of IDEA’s BRIDGE programme in Africa is to utilise the BRIDGE training curriculum as a means to build the capacity of election administrators from African Election Management Bodies. In addition it aims at building training skills and provide access to BRIDGE materials for electoral trainers through its Train the Facilitator programme. The project is part of an on-going collaboration between International IDEA and the African Union Commission. The partnership is outlined in a “Joint Activity Plan” (JAP) between the two organisations.
BRIDGE is the world’s foremost training curriculum on electoral processes. BRIDGE as a professional development tool designed especially for Election Administrators but can also be used with other stakeholders such as political parties, the media, civil society organisations and legislators.
To achieve the above objectives the project will run a series of BRIDGE election administration training courses designed to build the capacity of participating EMB personnel in two aspects, firstly to enhance their professional development as election administrators and secondly, to transfer skills to be able to facilitate BRIDGE training courses in their home organisations.
The four individuals forming the Bridge facilitating team who prepared and delivered the course were:
The team was balanced by a good combination of institutional, academic and field experiences and had diverse countries’ background, which benefited for a smooth and efficient conduct of the course. The facilitation team provided a positive environment and established very good relationships with the participants. Taken into consideration that all the participants – except one – were EMB members, the fact that one facilitator was a member of an African EMB represented an additional essential factor for a positive delivery of the course.
At the end of the workshop Xavier Noc and Astrid Evrensel both successfully completed their field work component of the accreditation process and were awarded certificates for full Accreditation as BRIDGE facilitators.
Twenty three participants from election management bodies in Southern African countries, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Swaziland, Malawi and the Seychelles as well as a representative from the Africa Union Commission attended the course on voter registration.
Course Agenda and Content –
The Voter Registration course was conducted from Monday 27 June to Friday 1 July 2011.
At the opening ceremony held on Monday 27 June 2011 there were 3 speakers representing the project organisers IDEA and its partner the African Union and AusAID who funded the project.
The speakers were:
The course was the first opportunity to field test the newly updated Voter Registration Module materials that International IDEA has been responsible for updating. The curriculum update was done by Astrid Evrensel – and the newly added materials sought to broaden the scope of the module as well as update the example and increase the case studies. The course piloted alot of the newly written materials and the consensus from both the facilitators and the participants was that the new materials were well written and highly relevant.
The course lasted five days. It covered the following topics:
An additional variation that was introduced at this training was the invitation to a Voter Registration Vendor, Lithotech-Bording, to make a presentation during the training.
Lithotech-Bording was represented by:
The facilitation team agreed that the vendor presentation was a beneficial experience for the participants as it represented not only a unique opportunity for the participant to better understand their role in a voter registration process, but also it offered the floor for discussion beyond, in general, of what are the competences of the facilitators. It is agreed that such mechanism to invite vendors to a BRIDGE course should be organized with specific prerequisite such as: (i) ensure a turnover among the potential vendors, when possible and (ii) ensure that there is not a conflict of interest between the vendors and the organizers (I-IDEA in this particular case, the BRIDGE project) and the BRIDGE facilitator team.
The same 5-day course agenda will be used by IDEA at two upcoming BRIDGE trainings as part of this project, which will, further filed test the new materials.
Course Evaluation –
Two approaches have been used to collect course evaluations from the participants: (i) written evaluation forms at the end of Day 1 and at the end of the course and (ii) verbal review/evaluation at the end of the day or prior to the start of a day.
The latter evaluation revealed the overall satisfaction of the participants both on the BRIDGE methodology of the workshop and the interest and treatment if topics. There was also an unanimous opinion among the participants about the richness in the course discussions and debates brought by the diverse experiences of all the countries represented in the course.