Designing and Customising BRIDGE Workshops

August 18, 2009

Focus On: Translation

In many cases, the customisation process not only involves adapting the original materials to the program’s objectives but also translating them into a local language. In doing so, a crucial decision must be taken as to whether the materials are translated before or after customisation. Customisation first OR translation first: Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, the decision will derive from the constraints of a particular context. In turn the decision for one or the other of these approaches will have implications for a number of key elements. It may also be important to differentiate between large linguistic groups that cover different countries and could be integrated through a regional approach and smaller linguistic groups/ languages that are limited to one country (or even a regional language within a country). Key elements to consider: Limited project vs. long term program – time and cost constraints/implications: Whether the translation is envisaged within a limited project or workshop or within a long term program will have a major impact on the decision to be made. Translating the whole of BRIDGE is a lengthy and costly endeavour. Obviously, it would not make sense to undertake such a huge task or even integrally translate a whole module for a ‘stand alone’ workshop. However, in the perspective of long term program targeting various audiences who share a same language, it can be more efficient and, in the long run, less expensive to translate the main resources of BRIDGE prior to doing the customisation. As much time and funds as it takes at the start, would be saved at the following stages of the program. Then this would most likely require an integrated effort from different partners who share common long term objectives. For a smaller project with limited time and budget customisation should definitely occur before translation. Material consistency, quality and relevance: A crucial issue with translation is ensuring consistency, quality and relevance of the material. Critical decisions often have to be taken to accurately translate a number of technical terms in a meaningful and relevant way for the intended audience. These can include ‘inventing’ or ‘creating’ a terminology in languages in which certain concepts are unknown (cf. Tetum/Arabic). In other contexts, there is a need to choose the relevant equivalent terms that most often cannot be done through literal translation. Translated material should always be thoroughly reviewed by the facilitation team. Material availability: one of the obstacles to the use of BRIDGE in some non-English speaking countries is linked to the fact that the material is not available in the local language, it limits the access and understanding of local stakeholders and decision-makers to what BRIDGE is and how it can meet their needs. In addition, clients may be reluctant to proceed with BRIDGE if they are required to take the burden of the translation prior to any implementation. Having a minimum of resources readily available in the local language can help remove this obstacle. This minimum can build up through ensuring collection, archiving and access to all translated resources. Ownership and sustainability: having available material already translated in a qualitative way, allows concentration on the customisation process with the direct and full participation of the local partners. It is more inclusive for non-English speakers and helps them gaining ownership of the program and ensures greater sustainability through it. If local partners have bi-lingual skills they should be involved in both the customisation and the translation processes. Whatever approach is chosen, it is crucial to build on any translation effort and avoid duplication through keeping track of the existing/on-going translation efforts (know what is available, ensure access to them); make room for improvement through feedback and update. It is also important to keep in mind the need of customising the translation i.e. adapt the level of language and the terminology to the specific audience (cater for the diversity within a same linguistic group). Tools Coordination Team Depending on the size of the materials to be translated and the number of people – translators, editors, proof readers, and designers – involved in the process, a coordination team led by a coordinator might be crucial to insure the translation process is on track. The role of the coordination team ranges from providing guidelines for the translation process, supervising translation and providing prompt answers to emerging requests during the process. The coordination team should also make sure that translators, editors, proof readers and designers are delivering copy according to an agreed time line. Preferably, an experienced BRIDGE facilitator should be part of the coordination team. This will help give better links with the overall BRIDGE program, as well as provide an insight to issues related to the nature of BRIDGE materials and methodology. Glossary Glossaries are key tools for translation. In addition to providing terminology, they help explain technical terms, making it easier to find equivalent in the target language. Early in the process, implementers should plan for the production of a glossary before any translation takes place. The rationale behind this can be explained by the fact that a good glossary helps achieve the following: Translation consistency: especially if translation involves more than one translator geographically spread over different dialectical areas Better understanding of technical terms in the original language which means better understanding of the subject materials In countries with new or little election practice, glossaries could help promote technical election knowledge as well as experience sharing Equally important is the process adopted to produce the glossary. In order to guarantee a certain level of accuracy, as well as achieving a broad acceptance among various stakeholders, a broad spectrum of people/expertise should be involved in producing the glossary. This should include BRIDGE facilitators, translators, linguists, election and legal experts. This combination of expertise is crucial to build support among different stakeholders who will be part of the BRIDGE program. Finding an equal term for many BRIDGE and electoral terms in some other languages might not be an easy job. Local culture and experience may have a major impact on how terms are translated. The translation should take diversity into account by reflecting the existing local election terminology as used in constitutional and legal texts. Where terms are completely new and not used in the target language, translators should focus on the meaning rather than the literal translation. In addition to a glossary of electoral terms, a BRIDGE terms glossary might be required. The translation of such a glossary should benefit local training glossaries and training manuals. Other key documents 8.9 Annex 9: Key Documents for Translation outlines a recommended translation order for BRIDGE documents, beginning with useful reference documents (outlines, summaries. guidelines) before translation of the curriculum itself. Translation guidelines Check if a previous translation exists! Seek permission for the intended translation. ê See Error! Reference source not found. ??? Use glossaries if existing (develop one if there is none; feeding back different linguistic/ terminology usage into existing glossaries). Use relevant/meaningful terminology (beware of literal translations; absolutely avoid any automated translation!): this requires thorough review by the facilitation team as a minimum; ideally the translation should involve local specialists in the relevant topics covered. As much as possible select translators with appropriate background and experience: these may sometimes be difficult to find, it is important to consider strategies to ensure their availability and to invest in building up their capacities (amongst other things by providing exposure to BRIDGE). At a minimum, the translator(s) should receive a proper briefing on the specificities of their task and what is expected from them as well as some guidance or tools (when available) to help them carry it out. They have to be given appropriate time to carry out their task. Their work should always be reviewed by the facilitation team. If the necessary language skills are not available within the facilitation team per se, it is important to ensure that a quality review takes place by specialists. It is also important that feedback be sought during the workshop from the participants and/or the EMB to adjust and improve the translation along the way. Give feedback on translation issues so consistency and quality can improve; feedback any translated material (possibly with comments) to the BRIDGE Office or coordination team. Budget It is important to achieve a good return for your budget. The translation of material whilst vitally important will increase your overall costs. There are a number of budget items you may need to take into account: translation of documents and resources possible coordination fees formatting and layout editing and proof reading There are a number of ways to calculate payment for translation. These can include: a straight word count, payment per word page count, usually 250 words per page package price, an agreed payment for complete translation job daily rate Keep in mind local rates and international rates may change your costs markedly. Other considerations Always check to make sure that a translated document is not already held by the BRIDGE Office or perhaps locally by a partner organisation or is publicly available elsewhere. Be aware that a number of documents may already be translated and therefore will not have to be translated again. When translations have been completed, please forward a copy to the BRIDGE Office. All translations should include the date they were translated and used. Before translating any documents permission must be sought from the owner(s) and authors of the […]
August 18, 2009

BRIDGE curriculum and module structure

To some extent, there is consistency between all of the modules. Each was built on a common structure, including: Facilitators Notes – the step by step guide to running a module Module Objectives – ‘this module was designed to achieve what purpose?’ Key Understandings (KU) – topic specific statements that reflect the most important things that you want your participants to know before they finish the module Learning Outcomes (LO) – Generic statements of the actions and behaviour participants will demonstrate once the workshop is complete which will often indicate that the Key Understandings are understood Sections – the basic building blocks of the module reflecting the natural classification of the topic, plus introductory and conclusion sections Sub-sections – the sub-topics to be covered in more detail Activities – the specific and step by step instructions for facilitators and participants (role plays, individual work, group work) suggested to achieve particular Learning Outcomes Resources – either external (handbooks, websites, articles, case studies on the subject developed outside the context of BRIDGE) or internal (presentations, handouts, overheads developed by the BRIDGE curriculum designers). While there is commonality, each module is also quite distinctive, depending on the topic at hand, and the thematic group to which it belongs. Each of the modules has been developed by a unique team of curriculum designers (writers/editors), reflecting the expertise, available resources, and current thinking connected with that particular subject. Program and workshop developers will discover that each module has its own style, reflected in the preference for types of activities, emphasis, and tone. There is also a difference in the relative sizes of the modules – ranging from three day to multi-week. Refer to: 8.3 Annex 3: BRIDGE Modules at a Glance The BRIDGE website ( is the principle dissemination tool for the Version 2 curriculum. Details of new modules or materials released after the publication of this manual can be found on the BRIDGE website. Agenda building The shape of the workshop will depend on several factors – the objective(s), the time that can be spared, geographical location of participants, and the budget. You may need to do some hard thinking before finalising the agenda. There are more activities and materials in every module than can be covered in a short workshop. As a facilitator, you should select which modules and activities you will include in your agenda based on the objectives you have defined for the training. The activities are designed to give you as wide a choice as possible. Use those that best meet the needs of your participants, alter them as your participant’s level of interest and experience suggests, and leave the rest. Often you find that there are too many objectives – so you must either design a longer workshop, if that is possible, or cut back on your objectives. For reasons of cost or demands on the time of participants, a workshop may have to be shortened. Many prefer a workshop at the end of the week even if it runs partly into a weekend. A two-day workshop can be spread over three days with many advantages: The first morning is spent in travel Starting with lunch allows for renewal or formation of relationships Latecomers miss lunch but not the workshop! The first post-lunch malaise is dissipated by the excitement of a new situation Two overnight periods become available for homework/preparation The workshop finishes at midday on the third day, and those who must leave early miss dinner and not the final and important workshop session! To aid the customisation team, a set of sample agendas (half day workshop, 1-day workshop, 2-day workshop, etc.), reflecting the deeper understanding that the curriculum designers have of their particular modules. However, these agendas are only meant to be a guide. They will themselves have to be customised Ideally, there is continuity between the program development phase and the facilitation phase – so that the facilitation team is comfortable with the material and activities chosen, as well as the reasoning behind. Development of other resources The types of materials (other than the BRIDGE curriculum resources for the workshops) that might need to be developed, adapted and translated for a BRIDGE program could include the following: Module summaries and Facilitators Notes for all relevant modules This Implementation Manual BRIDGE information and promotional materials, such as brochures, videos Graphical material, such as binder covers, spines, dividers Letterhead and other office administration supplies Letters to client organisations, donors, facilitators and participants Directional signs Promotional banners Name tags Some material that should be sought in advance from the client organisation includes: Legal documents – for example, electoral laws and procedures Electoral planners and information (such as election calendars, and policies) Current and past electoral material (e.g. manuals, information brochures and booklets) Public outreach and promotional materials (e.g. posters, audio-visuals and stickers) Relevant training materials It is important to provide feedback to the BRIDGE Office on any […]
August 18, 2009

Focus On: Regionalisation

Regionalisation in BRIDGE refers to a strategy to promote the use of BRIDGE at the level of a region, including building interest and commitment among regional stakeholders, setting regional objectives and timelines, developing regional human resources, contextualising materials and supporting regional networks and partnerships. In this regard BRIDGE implementers can conduct BRIDGE on a regional basis, that is, the program may be customised to suit and include a number of countries or client organisations within a particular region. For example, implementers may wish to work with regional associations of electoral administrators to conduct BRIDGE workshops at a central location, or take a sub-regional approach by conducting BRIDGE workshops in various locations. This could be particularly useful if the region is widespread, yet is united by cultural or language links. It should be recognised that regionalisation brings with it inherent challenges due to the diversity: culturally, geographically as well as differing challenges and priorities. Regionalisation can be beneficial for a number of reasons: It can be a more effective use of human and financial resources Regional examples and experiences are sometimes more easily shared due to linguistic and cultural ties It creates an environment for sharing comparative experiences from a diversity of contexts thus strengthening the approach used in the BRIDGE curriculum It creates opportunities for the networking of practitioners There are a number of elements that together create a regional strategy including: Developing partnerships Encourages strong BRIDGE partner coordination and joint programming and is key to the success of regionalisation Builds interest and commitment for BRIDGE programs between regional stakeholders Increases advocacy and promotion of BRIDGE through the dissemination of informational materials e.g. brochures, posters, BRIDGE website. Local language information can be particularly useful Uses BRIDGE showcase workshops as a way to create understanding and highlighting the relevance and benefits of BRIDGE and to generate buy-in for regional programmes. Creates synergies and partnerships with regional organisations and associations Participants Participants are drawn from a number of countries in the region. This is beneficial as it creates an environment for sharing comparative experiences from a diversity of contexts Regionalisation of BRIDGE materials Development of regional case studies Customisation Translation Resources in original language identified Adaptation to take account of regional, political and cultural history BRIDGE human resources A regional approach can be used to create a pool of BRIDGE resource persons including facilitators, implementers and translators. Sometimes it can be a more effective economy of scale to have the BRIDGE resource persons spread through regions rather than all concentrated in one country where opportunities to implement BRIDGE activities may be more limited. Regional networks One of the benefits of a regional approach is that it creates opportunities for practitioners to develop networks. Networks can be beneficial for strengthening the notion of professionalism as well as providing access to comparative experience which is made easier by personal connections. Regional networks can be maintained through regional communication strategies for example regional events, newsletters, online forums, […]
August 18, 2009


Customisation is the process of adapting the BRIDGE materials to suit the specific needs and objectives of a project, program or workshop targeting different audiences. Once the type of BRIDGE program most appropriate for a country or situation has been determined, customisation of materials and activities will be required. Wherever possible, this should involve relevant stakeholders (the client organisation, political parties, civil society organisations, NGOs, or regional associations) in order to take advantage of their local knowledge and to ensure local capacity is being developed and in order to create a sense of local ownership. The BRIDGE Facilitators Notes and associated resources provide the basis from which to build a program. Very rarely, however, will they be able to be run exactly as written, as it was impossible for curriculum designers to foresee all the parameters (timing, needs, participants levels, circumstances) under which all programs in all contexts would be implemented. A BRIDGE Program, that is, the running of workshops based on the BRIDGE materials and within the framework set out by the BRIDGE Office, is most effective when it is carefully designed and customised with the clients and hosting organisations needs and requests, timing constraints and venues in mind. A metaphor could be that accessing the BRIDGE V2 curriculum is like shopping at a well-stocked supermarket prior to preparing a special meal. Only the host knows the reason for having the meal, the season for the meal, the dietary requirements of the guests, and the number of guests. All these elements are essential for preparing the menu, and from the menu, the shopping list. Customisation will require numerous elements. These include: Ensuring that the objectives of the BRIDGE program are consistent with the broad capacity development and professional development objectives of the client country. Ensuring that the workshops and program fit the time available. This will require building agendas that meet program objectives while recognising time constraints. There are sample agendas in the Facilitator Resources of all modules; however, even these will need to be customised to ensure relevance to each context. Sample agendas are available in all BRIDGE modules. Ensuring appropriate selection of modules, or sections of modules, based on the program objectives and the results of the training needs assessment. Ensuring the appropriate selection of activities based on the program objectives and the results of the training needs assessment and the audience. Developing new activities based on the context and audience. Adding materials relevant to the context and audience. Translating materials where appropriate. While BRIDGE can be customised to the specific requirements of a project, it is recommended that the following elements be included: Accreditation of BRIDGE facilitators, using the TtF workshop: In setting up BRIDGE programs, project partners should assess the appropriateness of conducting this workshop. The accreditation of local facilitators constitutes an important contribution to capacity building Adherence to the BRIDGE methodology: This is assured by using facilitators who have been accredited by the founding partners The capacity-development approach and BRIDGE methodology must stay intact: Whatever customisation is required, it is essential that the resultant program remain true to the principles of capacity development and that the methodology used be consistent with BRIDGE methodology An experienced BRIDGE facilitator should coordinate the customisation process Principles of customisation BRIDGE can be used and adapted to a variety of circumstances and purposes. However, there is a set of principles on customisation which need to be borne in mind. The workshop structure must remain true to the Key Understandings and associated Learning Outcomes, as outlined in the modules. The successful implementation of BRIDGE generally requires a significant sensitivity to, and appreciation of, the context in which it is based. The customisation process needs to be negotiated between the project team and the client. The actual customisation work is however the responsibility of the project team. The actual conduct of the program must be done by accredited BRIDGE facilitators. Ideally, facilitators should be a part of the customisation process. Content should be made relevant to the country, region, culture and organisational context (for example, references to the Constitution, electoral law and electoral system, type of EMB, ballot paper, cultural practices and norms, should be tailored appropriately). Since BRIDGE methodology puts an emphasis on comparative studies, examples from other countries should also be used. Whenever possible, regional examples should be preferred. Whilst not a minimum requirement, it is recommended that one or both of the Foundation Modules should be implemented first. The reasons for this are: to showcase the BRIDGE methodology and content to the client and donors to enable stakeholders to judge whether BRIDGE is suitable in their context (and to show potential facilitators what type of program it is so they can decide whether they would want to become accredited facilitators or participate in a future TtF workshop). to provide a firm foundation for other modules The level of language should be adapted according to the audience’s language level and diversity. The way the Foundation Modules are used (either in their entirety over five days, or shortened according to the time available) will vary, but the aim should be to showcase and provide a contextual basis for further BRIDGE workshops. Customisation for different program types All BRIDGE programs will require a degree of customisation to suit the client. Although customisation work will be minimal, it will be necessary to amend the scheduling, duration and emphasis of activities to adapt them to the client organisation’s needs and context. Depending on the type of program chosen, the following specific points should be taken into consideration: Running BRIDGE as an adapted and customised program The selection of modules will be based on the client’s needs. The team members in charge of customising the materials should have knowledge and experience of the country. The design should take into account the cultural, social, political and legal context. It might be necessary, for example, to avoid activities obviously unsuited to such contexts. Deleting, adding or creating an activity should always be consistent with BRIDGE methodology. For instance, care should be taken not end up with a workshop that relies overly on lecturing methods. One should ensure a coherent and logical flow of activities throughout the modified materials – in particular, a proper mix of still vs. moving activities, small group work vs. general brainstorming, and role-plays vs. case studies. Running BRIDGE in combination with operational or other sorts of training The best way to do this is to introduce each operational topic with one or more BRIDGE activities, or fit the operational topic within a BRIDGE structure. BRIDGE methodology and training techniques are used as often as possible to present operational procedures. A good example is using role – play to study polling procedures, demonstrating all the possible issues that may arise on polling day and how polling officials should deal with them. When designing a combination program, facilitators should keep in mind that there should be at least a minimum percentage of original BRIDGE activities introduced if the BRIDGE tag is going to be claimed for such a program. BRIDGE curriculum and customisation There are several stages involved in making a BRIDGE program a reality. Of direct relevance to the program development and customisation phase is the needs assessment stage, and ideally there would be continuity between the two. This could be achieved by including someone on the needs assessment team who will also be part of the team designing the program and workshops. Let us consider an example where a needs assessment team, based on consultation with a wide array of stakeholders, identifies a problem: certain parties did not accept election results as valid in a previous election, and trust in the electoral process has diminished since then. While a workshop cannot solve deeply entrenched problems, nonetheless the reasoning behind a program design could be as follows: Choose participants from both parties and electoral management bodies and design the program accordingly as a forum for a dialogue Compose a workshop pulling the most appropriate content together, such as: Ethics, Principles, and International Standards from the Introductory Module Introduction to the Electoral Cycle from the Electoral Assistance Module Media Centre and Results activities from the Polling, Counting and Results module Some activities from Technology, Observation and Dispute Resolution Modules (depending on what the contentious issues were in the previous elections) Within the workshop, explore ways of improving mechanisms for communication and transparency, to prevent mistrust and misunderstanding. Encourage and facilitate the development of a list of personal commitments for the participants to follow after the workshop Putting such eclectic content together into a smooth and effective program is the real challenge of customisation – especially if translation and regionalisation (adapting workshop content, resources and case studies to the particular region) are also involved. A program development team would, together with other stakeholders of the program such as the needs assessment team, implementing organisations and project manager, propose a series of program objectives, and gain consensus and agreement on these. Based on these program objectives, the program developers would choose from the 23 modules as appropriate. They would then create a revised set of Key Understandings, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Criteria reflecting the specific activities and resources that have been chosen from the modules and any activities or materials that have been created specifically for the program. The customisation team would then collate in an appropriate way, adding new dimensions, resources, activities, case studies and guest speakers to create a seamless program. Working from original BRIDGE resources Any customisation process will take as a starting point the original BRIDGE resources. Those are the sole property of the BRIDGE partners and are available to facilitators and implementers from the BRIDGE website (hard copies and electronic copies can be ordered from the BRIDGE Office). Almost all BRIDGE documents are available as MS Word files and can be modified to suit, keeping in mind BRIDGE rules and guidelines. After customisation, amended BRIDGE documents should be copied to the BRIDGE Office, or directly uploaded to the BRIDGE website to be archived as reference (refer to 6.2 Focus On: The BRIDGE Website). It is important that statistics, charts and power points are regularly updated. When developing and customising BRIDGE module workshops, facilitators should use the standard BRIDGE Facilitators Notes matrix and list all the supporting materials that would be […]


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