August 17, 2009

Implementing BRIDGE Programs – A Quick Look

A BRIDGE program should always be seen as a long-term capacity development effort, not a short-term quick-fix.  It should involve: identification of needs and broad objectives and careful consideration of whether BRIDGE is an appropriate tool for addressing these formulating and adopting a grass-roots strategy and plan for training, in consultation with the key stakeholders ensuring that the plan is driven by a local agenda, with stakeholders defining their own needs identification of program objectives through consultation and contextualisation thoughtful and appropriate program design consideration of an evaluation framework comprehensive logistic planning well-organised execution of the program well-planned and useful evaluation clear reporting and documentation strategies for sustaining the program and its impacts, such as the creation of an internalised professional development strategy so local trainers can sustain BRIDGE and passing ownership to the client organisation at the completion of the program. This manual explains each of these steps in detail. Sample timeline A timeline of events in the implementation process might look like this: Year 1 January – Needs assessment done by client organisation, broad needs identified relating to better electoral administration.  Broad objectives to address these needs identified.  Evaluation framework structured to measure the impact of the objectives. March – BRIDGE identified as possible tool in wider program to address client organisation needs. April – Scoping mission conducted by BRIDGE expert to evaluate appropriateness of BRIDGE. Showcase conducted. BRIDGE is deemed appropriate. June – Introduction to Electoral Administration module workshop run for key stakeholders and decision-makers in client organisation to familiarise them with BRIDGE. August – Program team in place and beginning to design program, identify objectives and audiences.  Customisation process begins. October – Introduction to Electoral Administration and Strategic and Financial Planning module workshops (or other relevant to program objectives) run for a wider audience within the client organisation, including potential local facilitators. December – Potential local facilitators identified and partially accredited at a Train the Facilitator workshop. Implementation Workshop held. Year 2 January – March – First set of customised module workshops addressing program objectives rolled out to client organisation staff and selected external stakeholders, facilitated by an Accrediting Facilitator and local facilitators who have just completed the TtF. April – May – Evaluation and reporting of module workshops just completed.  Adjustments made to program design if necessary. June-August – Second set of customised module workshops rolled out with as much or as little support from external, more experienced BRIDGE facilitators as needed.  Local facilitators may feel ready to run these modules independently by this stage, or may ask for minimal assistance from an external, more experienced BRIDGE facilitator. September – Further evaluation and reporting, including another stage of evaluation of the first set of workshops. October onwards – Local facilitators and program team develop their professional development plan. Example of East Timor In East Timor a year-long electoral capacity building program was developed in collaboration with the EMB, other key actors in the broader electoral field including UNDP; the Australian donor organisation – AusAID – and the delivery organisation – the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The program was devised to take into account the electoral cycle; the needs of the staff of the East Timorese EMB; the timing and effect of other electoral programs; the availability of staff; and the legislative and political climate in a post-conflict country. Several BRIDGE workshops were delivered to the same group of staff – a mixture of operational and head office staff – over the course of a year. A work placement program had also been planned for two members of the East Timor EMB staff to visit the Northern Territory in Australia on three occasions over a period of several months to shadow preparations and delivery of a local government election. Dates, legislative change, availability of staff, etc in both countries and an offer of shared funding from UNDP led to a reworking of the program over the period of a couple of weeks to take up the obvious benefits to all being offered by the previously unforseen opportunity. East Timor was planning municipal elections for the first time and the Northern Territory was about to hold municipal and shire elections, also for the first time. The obvious parallels of experience highlighted multiple opportunities too good to miss. Funds previously identified for a further BRIDGE workshop and the work placement program previously described, were joined with travel funding provided by UNDP. The subsequent hastily reworked program resulted in sixteen East Timorese EMB staff visiting Darwin for a couple of weeks. Two EMB representatives were also able to accompany an AEC mobile polling team to remote communities and islands to conduct early voting. Many similar challenges were being faced by the two EMBs. The program incorporated a week of election operational training and observation followed by a four day Voter Information BRIDGE workshop. The flexibility on all parts and commitment to meet changing needs rather than continue with an existing program, resulted in an extremely valuable experience and development opportunity for a much larger group of East Timorese EMB staff and a further relationship building opportunity, with implications for further opportunities in the future, with an EMB in another country facing some of the same […]
August 17, 2009

BRIDGE as a Professional Development Tool

An election is the largest and most complex logistical operation that a country ever undertakes in peacetime. This is often not well understood, and indeed, the better an election is run, the simpler it looks. Committed, ethical, professional and confident people are the key to increasing the prospects of running a good election, in both emerging and more established democracies. Electoral assistance providers recognise that the building of a strong and stable electoral culture in-country is more important than providing ad hoc electoral assistance from outside. Two of the largest, UNDP and European Commission, have specifically recommended incorporating an electoral cycle approach and focussing on capacity development in their electoral assistance programming (see Electoral Assistance Manuals from the respective organisations). UNDP defines capacity development as the process through which individuals, organisations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time. Ideally, BRIDGE should be one component of an integrated package of broader electoral assistance or of a wider and longer-term capacity development strategy that incorporates other interventions such as technical assistance, operational training, and mentoring. BRIDGE is not a ‘fix-all’, a ‘stop gap’, and a ‘stand-alone’ product that can meet all needs. BRIDGE can neither deliver a total electoral assistance package nor take complete responsibility for capacity development. Designing and implementing BRIDGE programs as multi-partner initiatives goes a long way to maximising BRIDGE’s institutional development potential. BRIDGE partner organisations are well placed for such cooperation. BRIDGE as a professional development tool primarily affects participants at the individual level. The BRIDGE activity based workshops use an activity based approach that maximises retention of knowledge and skills learned in a workshop. In addition, the workshops are designed to promote or reinforce professional confidence, ethics, understanding of principles of best electoral practice, and access to networks of peers. BRIDGE has the potential to trigger change on the organisational level: broader understanding of the organisation, morale, and cohesion within the organisation. Workshops encourage participants to reflect on their organisation, providing comparative examples and alternative approaches, generating blueprints or support for organisational reform. BRIDGE has the potential to impact change also on the environmental level. As a dialogue tool, the content, methodology, and non-threatening environment can contribute to a shared understanding of the challenges ahead and improved relationships between disparate stakeholders. By practicing skills such as analysis of alternative approaches, advocacy, and legislation drafting participants are well placed to affect change on a broader level. BRIDGE programs have resulted in networks of professionals within institutions, regionally and internationally that have provided peer support and served as triggers for reform long after the end of the formal […]
August 17, 2009

Focus On: Rules of BRIDGE

BRIDGE is a Partnership. This Partnership gives strength to BRIDGE, but at the same time it brings with it some obligations for the implementers and facilitators of BRIDGE. The rules and guidelines of BRIDGE are designed to ensure its integrity as well as continuing to maintain the synergy between the BRIDGE Partners and other BRIDGE implementers. All BRIDGE activities must be approved by the BRIDGE Partners. Approval is obtained through the BRIDGE Office. Therefore BRIDGE implementers must advise the BRIDGE Office as soon as they can legitimately do so, of forthcoming BRIDGE activities. BRIDGE workshops must be conducted by accredited facilitators. The BRIDGE facilitation process has been designed to ensure that facilitators have an adequate understanding of the BRIDGE content and methodologies. This is to ensure quality of outcomes and consistency of approach in the delivery of BRIDGE training. BRIDGE must acknowledge the BRIDGE Partners. Part of the strength and credibility of BRIDGE comes from the Partnership, therefore it is important to give due recognition. Copyright of the BRIDGE materials must be respected. In this context, it must be emphasised that the translation of materials does not change the underlying intellectual property. Any translations of BRIDGE materials must be approved by the BRIDGE Office. Approval is obtained through the BRIDGE Office. Therefore BRIDGE translators must advise the BRIDGE Office before commencing translation work. BRIDGE facilitators and implementers must provide additional activities and resources, translations, evaluations and program reports to the BRIDGE website, via the BRIDGE Office. This ensures that lessons are learnt, and that the curriculum is improved on an ongoing basis. Please note that workshops, programs and translations which are funded or implemented by a BRIDGE Partner or EMB are automatically approved. Implementers and translators from the BRIDGE Partners or EMBs must still inform the BRIDGE Office, but approval will be assumed in these cases. When is it BRIDGE? A training workshop is BRIDGE when all of the following apply: Workshops have the knowledge and approval of the BRIDGE Partners Workshops are conducted by accredited BRIDGE facilitators BRIDGE methodology and activities (including its focus on a capacity-development approach) are used The integrity of the curriculum methodology is maintained including Key Understandings and Learning Outcomes of modules/activities are addressed and met, and the adult learning methodology is applied Programs are conducted in compliance with the rules above When is it not BRIDGE? If the rules of BRIDGE are not followed If the BRIDGE curriculum is used by non-accredited facilitators. It may be used by non-accredited facilitators, but they cannot call it BRIDGE If the integrity of the curriculum methodology is not […]
August 17, 2009

The BRIDGE Partnership and Structure

The BRIDGE partners are all committed to the following values: The spirit of collaboration and cooperation, and establishing a true partnership. Regular and honest communication between all Partners, and between the BRIDGE Office and all Partners. Maintaining a strong relationship between Partners, including teamwork and collaborative communication in the field. A commitment to supporting BRIDGE in a way that is most appropriate to each Partner, which may include staff time, financial resources or providing expertise. Sharing of resources, expertise, staff, information. Modelling of good BRIDGE implementation practices where Partners are implementing BRIDGE themselves Mainstreaming of BRIDGE workshops and methodology within Partner organisations Governance of BRIDGE As outlined in the previous section, BRIDGE is administered from the BRIDGE Office, which is based in AEC National Office, Australia and funded and hosted by the AEC. BRIDGE Communication and Decision Making The BRIDGE Office is the designated hub for information from Partners, and undertakes to keep Partners fully informed of BRIDGE activities at all levels. Communication takes the form of regular Partner newsletters, the BRIDGE website and regular email correspondence between the BRIDGE Office and the designated focal points at each Partner organisation. A Partner Committee Meeting, which brings together the BRIDGE Office and the focal points of each Partner organisation, takes place annually. This meeting provides an opportunity for Partners to discuss the challenges, directions and strategies of BRIDGE. It is also used as a forum to make high-level decisions that cannot be made at the BRIDGE Office level alone. Where possible, the Partner Committee Meeting also invites key BRIDGE practitioners to attend, and can be used as an opportunity for practitioners to network and provide feedback to the […]


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