In the framework of its program for building the capacity of electoral stakeholders in Nigeria, and with the financial support of USAID and the cooperation of INEC, IFES Nigeria organized two TtF workshops for INEC State Training Officers. The main objective of the workshops was to strengthen the State Training Officers’ capacity to perform their work in an effective and efficient manner. Therefore, the course focused on equipping trainees with the requisite skills, knowledge, and attitude for conducting operational trainings using BRIDGE methodology in their respective states as well as at lower levels of the cascade training.
In addition to 38 State Training Officers, 5 IFES/Nigeria staff (two of which were international staff), 3 INEC Training Department staff and 1 representative of Sierra-Leone NEC participated in the two workshops. In total, 7 female and 40 male participants were enrolled.
The first workshop was held in the state of Enugu from 19 to 30 November 2012 at Nondon International Hotel, while the second workshop took place in the capital Abuja from 3 to 14 December 2012 at the West Point Hotel.
The workshops were led by the expert level BRIDGE facilitator Natia Kashakashvili from Georgia and workshop level BRIDGE facilitator Marie-Louise Ramy from Lebanon.
After the first two introductory days that shed light on BRIDGE background, curriculum, and methodology, participants were assigned in pairs to prepare and facilitate BRIDGE activities (drawn mainly from the Introduction to Electoral Administration module). Each pair presentation was followed by feedback from peers and recommendations from the two facilitators leading the workshop. On the second week, the participants were introduced to the curriculum writing exercise where they discovered the importance of writing user-friendly and detailed instructions through the analogy of writing the steps for making coffee and tea. Once the participants tried to follow their own developed instructions to make coffee and tea, they were able to spot the flaws and inadequacies in their writing practice. After this eye-opening exercise, participants were assigned in new pairs to design and draft training activities for selected topics (drawn mainly from the Electoral Training module) based on specific key understandings and learning outcomes that the said activities were supposed to achieve.
Throughout the workshop, participants were also guided to discover a myriad of facilitation techniques and methodologies that they have put into practice during their presentation of BRIDGE activities as well as energizers and icebreakers.
Day after day, the participants’ appreciation of the BRIDGE interactive approach was growing and showing through their motivated involvement and interest in the workshop activities.
At the last day of the workshop, participants proudly received the “Semi-Accredited Facilitator” certificates in recognition of the successful completion of the two-week-course. Final feedback from participants was highly positive: they have all expressed their eagerness to harness the acquired skills and knowledge in order to improve their performance as state trainers. A remarkable overall evaluation of the workshop by one of the participants was that the BRIDGE TtF has indeed “bridged” the gap between theory and practice.
Nigeria now boasts a new cohort of 47 semi-accredited facilitators. IFES is keenly looking forward to providing more assistance and achieving further development and capacity building of the electoral administration in Nigeria by implementing BRIDGE modular workshops that respond to the local needs and reinforce free and fair elections in the country.