The pilot module of the BRIDGE Civic Education Development Project (CEDP) travelled to a very different part of the world after the first-ever trial in Vanuatu in May 2009. The cool mountain air of landlocked Bhutan proved a contrast to the tropical heat of the islands of Vanuatu, however the enthusiasm and commitment of participants and facilitators remained as strong as ever.
Introduction The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in cooperation with the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) hosted the "Sub-Regional Building Resources in Democracy, Governance & Elections (BRIDGE) Gender and Elections Module Workshop" for Countries in Northern Micronesia - 13 to 23 July, 2009 (Pohnpei, FSM).
Pakistan has held sporadic provincial and general elections since 1947 and 1970, respectively. Nine general elections have been held, but electoral cycles have often been truncated by periods of military rule. The Electoral Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is the independent electoral management body (EMB) responsible for both national and local elections. The most recent elections were held on February 18, 2008.
Just about 6 months after a first TtF was conducted there in December 2008, BRIDGE in Colombia has taken new momentum with the holding of the first Module workshop on "Polling, Counting & Results", in Bogota, from 3 - 6 August. This workshop was held with the technical support of International IDEA and funding from the Registraduria Nacional de Estado Civil (Colombian EMB) and the AECID (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development).
The Communication and Information Strategy Branch of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) recently held the first two-day BRIDGE workshop for its national office staff. The fact that many of its staff have not been through a full election cycle provided a strong motivation for putting aside the daily tasks to stand back and consider the bigger election picture.
Electoral system choice is a hot topic in Nepal as the Constituent Assembly is soon to decide upon a new electoral system and constitution. To assist with the debate three BRIDGE workshops were run on the topic of electoral systems in July. They were organized by International IDEA in collaboration with UNDP, IFES and the Nepal Electoral Commission.
The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) in pursuit of good electoral administration has always given high priority for capacity development of the election officials. Beside on the job training, the officers were sent to learn from the already established Electoral management Bodies around the globe to gain knowledge and expertise. For this reason, the ECB was interested to learn more about BRIDGE.
UNDP/Georgia with the financial support of EU, implements the project "Developing Capacities for Democratic Institutions for Fair Electoral Processes and Active Civil Participation" and has been widely supporting the EA training programs since 2003. The conduct of the TtF was planned through the BRIDGE Needs Assessment mission in Georgia that was conducted in March 2009 by the BRIDGE expert facilitator Ross Attrill. The aim of the the TtF was to accredit the facilitators who in their turn shall conduct the BRIDGE workshops to strengthen the capacities of the District and Central Election Commission of Georgia. TtF was held through July 6 - 17, 2009 in GPH Hotel, Kobuleti, Georgia.
Brian Latham (Lead and Accrediting Facilitator) and Gordon Marshall arrived in Timor Leste with short prior notice to deliver three workshops consecutively over an eight working day period. We arrived early on a Friday morning and spent a very busy Friday and weekend with Augusto Pereira and Pedro da Silva (translator) preparing for the first two workshops which were scheduled from Monday to Friday that following week.
Introduction and Background The last fifteen years witnessed an increase number of election all over the world. Many electoral assistance providers, therefore, have gradually begun to recognize that building in-country electoral capacity is much more important than providing ad hoc electoral assistance from outside. The aim of electoral assistance should, therefore, be to achieve sustainable electoral development by helping emerging democracy building local capacity and share comparative experience in the field of election management.
The first TtF workshop within the African Union (AU) and International IDEA's joint project "Capacity-Building Training of Election Administrators in Africa" was held in Accra – Ghana in English from Monday June 8 to Friday June 19, 2009. This workshop is the first of 3 TtF workshop to be held for selected members of English and French speaking African EMB trainers in 2009 with funding from the Australian Government.
The much anticipated world-first trial of the BRIDGE Civic Education Development Project's (CEDP*) module workshop titled 'Democracy in Our Place' was held at Le Lagon Hotel in Port Vila, Vanuatu from the 25th to 29th May, 2009. The workshop was a huge success - due to the combined efforts of a lot of people - most of whom worked full-time for many weeks and months behind the scenes ensuring that all aspects of the workshop addressed so that we would maximise the learning opportunities for all the participants and the CEDP team alike.
BRIDGE, the world’s foremost elections curriculum, has undergone some changes. For one, it is no more known as BRIDGE Project, but simply as BRIDGE. Other changes are more fundamental than this. At the last meeting of the BRIDGE Partners (UNEAD, IDEA, IFES, UNDP and AEC) in November 2008 in Sydney, it was decided to streamline the facilitator categories. No longer is there a reference to Level 1 to 5 for facilitators, but the names are more reflective of the reality on the ground. One major change is that the person who accredits a facilitator is called an Accrediting Facilitator. This person is no longer the highest rank of facilitator that you can find. Clearer guidelines on the facilitator structure has emerged. The picture above spells it out more clearly. Distribute it to fellow BRIDGE Facilitators. Spread the word. More details on the changes will be in the next Network Newsletter. […]
As part of its ongoing BRIDGE programme in Africa and funded through a grant from the Australian Government through AusAID International IDEA has developed a first draft of a French BRIDGE translation Glossary. A meeting of French-speaking BRIDGE facilitators took place on 16 and 17 April at IDEA Accra office. A follow-up session took place between two of the facilitators on 25 April (after the 5-day French professional Development BRIDGE workshop organised by IDEA on the 20-24 April in Accra). The objective of the meeting was to develop a unified French Translation glossary for BRIDGE and electoral terms that will be used for all future French translation exercises of BRIDGE resources. The glossary team used existing IDEA, BRIDGE & ACE resources to build the glossary, and consulted as well databases from specialized French and Canadian linguistic institutions. All in all, a total of 130 BRIDGE terms and 350 electoral terms have been included in the Glossary. This is fairly exhaustive and will certainly greatly help future translation efforts. In several cases, more than one translation in French was presented as translations often vary with the context and also the geographical region (even between Francophone African countries, different terms are often used for the same activity / concept). The purpose of the glossary is to become a resource to be used by translators to provide guidance in language use and to ensure a consistency of terminology in future translations. A similar glossary in Arabic has already been produced in 2008. The Glossary will soon be available on the BRIDGE Website.  Alexandra Hovelacque, Dieudonné Tshiyoyo, Nicolas Garrigue and Ibrahima […]
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the African Union, with funding from AusAid, conducted a BRIDGE Professional Enhancement Workshop for 18 participants from 10 Francophone African countries in Accra from 20 to 24 April 2009. Participants were from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comores, DR Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Togo.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the African Union, with funding from AusAid, conducted a BRIDGE Professional Enhancement Workshop for 23 participants from 10 African countries in Accra from 9 to 13th March 2009. Participants attending came from Liberia, The Gambia,Sierra Leone, Zanzibar, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Bénin, and Senegal. The facilitation team was composed of Theophilus Dowetin, Head of IDEA Accra Office, Nicolas Garrigue Consultant and Philomena Edusei, Deputy District Director for the Elections Commission of Ghana.
In Pretoria, South Africa, from 2 - 6 February 2009, 22 senior election administrators from 9 Election Management Bodies in East and Southern Africa; Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are taking part in a 5-day BRIDGE professional development training workshop covering technical issues of election administration such as strategic planning, leadership, stakeholder relations, electoral dispute resolution and the electoral cycle. The technical training workshop is designed to enhance skills and knowledge in these areas and is intended as professional development training for participating election administrators.
Introduction and Background The last fifteen years witnessed an increase number of election all over the world. Many electoral assistance providers, therefore, have gradually begun to recognise that building in-country electoral capacity is much more important than providing ad hoc electoral assistance from outside. The aim of electoral assistance should, therefore, be to achieve sustainable electoral development by helping emerging democracy building local capacity and share comparative experience in the field of election management.
CNE Angola and IFES hold BRIDGE training on Logistics. Chiefs of Logistics departments from each of Angola's 18 provinces, joined headquarters staff and commissioners in the scenic town of Sumbe, in West-Central Angola to take part in a three-day BRIDGE seminar. The National Election Commission, known by its Portuguese acronym CNE, hosted the seminar in cooperation with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems(IFES).
Number one! We humans love to be first to do things. Bhutan is a unique country, which already has achieved its fair share of 'firsts', especially when it comes to its recent transition to become a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy.
Introduction and Background In July 2007, Gorée Institute became the ACE project's Regional Electoral Resource Centre for West Africa. Its main duty was to promote the ACE Knowledge Network within the region and seek for opportunities to build the capacities of election's stakeholders. As the ACE project was being implemented in the region and the collaboration between International IDEA and Gorée Institute was strengthened, the necessity to link up BRIDGE and ACE appeared to be paramount.
Jakarta in Indonesia was the location for a recently held BRIDGE course on Electoral Dispute Resolution. Upcoming elections in Indonesia, scheduled for 9 April, meant that election fever across the country was heating up during the course preparations. Amidst daily newspaper headlines on the elections and campaign posters starting to decorate the capital, course preparations was in full swing by the time we arrived on the ground.
From March 11 to 21, 2009 a BRIDGE workshop was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This 10-day training targeted the political parties of Burkina Faso in addition to EMBs from Guinea-Bissau and Benin. The CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission) of Burkina Faso organized this BRIDGE with the support of UNDP. Mr. Moussa Michel Tapsoba, the President of the CENI headed both the opening and closing sessions of the workshop.
During the weekend of 14-15 February 2009, seventeen members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) participated in a BRIDGE Project showcase event organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The event was organized to introduce the BRIDGE Project to senior decision makers and management of the ECP and aimed at equipping participants with enough background to make an informed decision about whether this curriculum would be an appropriate professional development tool to be used by the ECP.
My fellow participant Coralie-Ann Bishoff Towgood and I from the Cook Islands attended BRIDGE “Train the Facilitator” (TTF) workshop which was co-sponsored by UNIFEM’s “Gender Equality to Political Governance in the Pacific: Stronger Women Citizens and Leaders” project. .
A Media and Elections Module - BRIDGE regional workshop was identified by the USP Democracy and Electoral Studies Project to enhance capacity toward Working with Electoral Stakeholders. This regional workshop was attended by 22 participants from Kiribati, Vanuatu,Solomon Islands, Fiji and UNDP. Majority of the participants were from Vanuatu. The workshop proper was held from Monday to Friday (midday), with a cultural tour conducted on Wednesday whereby participants had to identify cross cutting themes and report back the next day.
Final Report on the BRIDGE Training Workshop (28 February - 4 March 2009), Cairo, Egypt Introduction and Background The last fifteen years witnessed an increase number of elections all over the world. Many electoral assistance providers, therefore, have gradually begun to recognise that building in-country electoral capacity is much more important than providing ad hoc electoral assistance from outside. As a result, the aim of electoral assistance should be to achieve sustainable electoral development by helping emerging democracy building local capacity and sharing comparative experience in the field of election management.
From 25 January to 5 February 2009 in Amman, Jordan, IFES conducted a BRIDGE Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop for 21 participants, of which 12 were from the Jordanian Ministry of Interior (MoI), 3 from the Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD), 1 from the Jordanian Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MoMA), 2 from the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Palestine, and 3 from IFES staff.
The Democracy in Our Place foundation module within the CEDP has taken shape in the last couple of months. We now have a detailed module structure and several sample lessons already being edited. This follows an intense and productive writers meeting held in Melbourne in January 2009. There are now eight writers - in various parts of the globe - writing a series of activities to complete the module. If the first drafts are anything to go by, this module is going to be full of creative activities that will serve as inspiration for all BRIDGE facilitators, whatever modules they are delivering! The project team can also confirm the location for the first trial workshop – Vanuatu. We have received some interest from local organisations in collaborating on the pilot, and will be consulting further with stakeholders in-country.
In 2005, a group of donors formed a basket fund project with the objective of supporting a free, open and accountable political system of governance and the consolidation of democracy in Ethiopia through the organization of the national and local elections, in accordance with The Constitution. The project assisted the Government and the NEBE with the conduct and overall management of the electoral process in 2005 and 2008 in cooperation with a wide range of national stakeholders including CSOs, political parties and media.
For the first time in Egypt, BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) Train the Facilitator's Workshop was held in Ain Sokhna, from November 23 - December 02, 2008. This workshop is considered as an important milestone in the "Support for BRIDGE training for electoral process stakeholders" project signed on April 02, 2008 between UNDP Egypt, the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and IFES as technical implementer of the project. The project aims to Deliver BRIDGE trainings to major elections stakeholders in Egypt as well as to Strengthen election monitoring unit at the NCHR. To achieve the project objectives, there was a need to have a pool of Egyptian BRIDGE facilitators from the NCHR and other organizations. This "Train the Facilitators" (TtF) workshop is the first of two workshop to be held in Egypt as part of the above-mentioned project with the aim of establishing a pool of Egyptian BRIDGE facilitators
Introduction and Background With the aim of contributing to the electoral reform process in Egypt, IFES and UNDP-Egypt in cooperation with the NCHR organized BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Election) training in 2007. The workshop brought together selected participants representing various election stakeholders in Egypt to enhance their understanding of the principles that underpin the electoral process and share with them comparative experience from the region and other parts of the world as a framework in which to assess their own local experience and draw on best practices and lessons learned and was delivered by "IFES". IFES is one of the BRIDGE partners along with EAD, UNDP, IDEA and the Australian Election Commission (AEC).
The first BRIDGE TtF ever conducted in Colombia, and only the 3rd to take place in Latin America, took place in Bogota on 1-6 December with the support of International IDEA. The workshop was co-funded by the Registraduria and IDEA (through a regional BRIDGE project supported by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation in Development, AECID).
The fifth of the planned BRIDGE modules with staff of Secretariado Tecnico Administracao Eleitoral (STAE) was to have been conducted in Dili in October as were the previous four BRIDGE Modules delivered in 2008. However, whenever an opportunity presents itself it is certainly part of BRIDGE philosophy to 'seize the day'!
The BRIDGE office has been compiling a list of all programs and workshops that have been conducted since it commenced. This information will be added to an online list event list that can be easily searched. Information of the progress of the development of the website will be advised in future newsletters.
The BRIDGE Partner Meeting was attended by representatives of four of the five partners - IDEA, IFES, UNDP, AEC. UNEAD unfortunately were unable to attend and sent apologies. The attendees at the BRIDGE V2 Implementation Workshop No 3 were attended to attend the morning session of the BRIDGE Partner Meeting.
The AEC International Services Section – Bridge Project Office was delighted to host BRIDGE V2 Implementation Workshop No 3 in Sydney Australia from 10 to 13 November 2008 followed by a BRIDGE Partner Meeting on 14 November.
Over twenty civic education specialists from the Asia Pacific region met at the Rendezvous Hotel Brisbane from 14-16 October 2004 to provide strategic advice to the BRIDGE Civic Education Project (Establishing a Civics and Governance Component within BRIDGE). The meeting was very productive – providing a very broad range of views from different perspectives, including: practitioners from different contexts, academics, non-government organisation representatives, class room teachers, adult trainers and curriculum writers, etc.
In recent years, a number of Arab countries have undertaken significant steps to strengthen their institutional development, which allowed them to reach important structural reforms and procedural improvements in the administration of their electoral processes. Significant indicators of this progress include the rise of autonomous election management commissions, electoral law reforms to improve participation of women, and - in notable cases – the conduct of competitive and credible elections. However, thus far, these reforms have remained purely isolated domestic experiments, with a very limited exposure both within the Arab world itself and at wider international level, which in most cases have taken individual countries as far as their internal capacities, experiences and resources allowed.
The BRIDGE Methodology as it was presented by Ms. Rose Mutayiza, Mr. John Kamea and Mr. Romitesh Kant on Friday 25th July 2008 at the Fiji National Initiative on Civic Education Project site at 2/2 Clerk Street, Suva, will, in my view, greatly assist the NICE Project to achieve the objectives of its core business faster, more efficiently, more professionally, within the project time frame, within the allocated budget and up to the kind of standard that will inevitably leave a lifelong sense of commitment to democracy and the democratic process in the facilitators and participants for the following reasons:
I attended the BRIDGE Civic Education module on Monday 29th - Thursday 2nd October 2008. It was a very useful experience because I learned a lot of new information about the methodologies, knowledge, skills and disposition to be developed or transferred or encouraged in a Civic Education program and a lot of grey areas, like the place of morals and values in a democracy were made clear. There were some strong opinions for and against spiritual development going along with or side by side with social, economic, cultural, technological and political development and it was fascinating to hear the various views and different ideological positions on this topic.
This is an AusAID funded BRIDGE conducted by the Electoral Studies section of the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Democracy and Governance (PIAS-DG) Southern Cross Hotel 29th Sept – 3rd October 2008. There were 33 participants attending from 6 countries across the Pacific including Fiji, Niue, Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The participants were a mixture of experienced election administrators and officials from other organizations and NGOs from the region and Staff from the UNDP Civic Education Project in Fiji
The lowest point on Earth is the Dead Sea. Situated 413 metres below sea level, this salt lake lies between the West Bank and Jordan. With one of the world’s first health resorts, the Dead Sea area has enjoyed important religious significance within Judaism, Islamic and Christianity histories. This unique site was a very appropriate location for a BRIDGE course in strategic planning for Jordanian election managers.
BRIDGE participants in Timor-Leste added electoral training to their list of enhanced skills following the successful completion of the Electoral Training Module in Dili from 15th to 18th September 2008.
The mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho ran its first BRIDGE course in July 2008. With a population of around 2 million, Lesotho was the first country to adopt a mixed member proportional system in Africa. This electoral system and its seat calculation was the source of an extended dispute settled by the courts just before the BRIDGE course began. With the Electoral Commission being central to the disputed results, this was a hot topic during the BRIDGE course that was held in Teyateyaneng’s Blue Mountain Inn, just an hour’s drive outside the capital of Maseru.
I watched my bag being lifted over the edge of the ferry into waiting hands, praying that it would not drop into the harbour waters below. For eight days I was resident on the famous Gorée Island, just 1 km and a 30 minute ferry ride off the Dakar coastline in Senegal. For about seven days the small population of Gorée was boosted by 26 participants from ACE regional centres. The regional centres are located in geographically strategic places around the world, acting as regional hubs collecting and processing election-related information.
Program Context The Civics and Governance Component within the BRIDGE Project (the BRIDGE Civic Education Development Project) is funded by Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and is in line with their organisational goals and objectives under their Building Demand for Better Governance Initiative. The project links in to the broader objectives of the Australian Government’s aid program (including the Anti-Corruption for Development strategy, and advancing gender equality), such as assisting developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia's national interest. Australia's aid program focuses on the Asia Pacific region.
So you want to run a BRIDGE course? BRIDGE has grown into the de facto elections training curriculum around the world today. Short for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections, the course has developed out of initiatives by the Australian Electoral Commission, International IDEA and the UN's Electoral Assistance Division. A testimony to its growth is the addition in recent years of IFES and UNDP as partners in the BRIDGE Project.
This workshop/meeting was the second in a series of three workshops in 2008 related to the updating of the Implementation Manual and general implementation issues relating to V2 (basically to decide what Implementation/Customisation tools are needed and to develop a strategy and timeline for their development.)
In August 2008, the AEC’s BRIDGE Project Office Team will be starting work on the development of a Civic Education component for BRIDGE; initial funding for the activity is being provided by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
Another successful BRIDGE module has been completed in East Timor with the staff from Secretariado Técnico Administração Eleitoral (STAE). The training was conducted in Dili for the 13 STAE district coordinators and 14 STAE Dili staff from Monday 28 July to Thursday 31 July 08. On this occasion there were some new facilitators and speakers who added an invigorating flavour to the sessions.
In July 2008 IFES/Jordan hosted a BRIDGE course in Amman. The event marked the first BRIDGE training in Jordan with delegations from multiple countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
This training is intended to introduce BRIDGE to UN and UNDP staff, provide a taste of its methodology and content, and demonstrate how BRIDGE can be used as a tool of electoral assistance programming at the country level.
An AusAID funded BRIDGE Train the Facilitator Course (TtF) was conducted by the Electoral Studies section of the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Democracy and Governance (PIAS-DG) at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in July 2008.
With the aim of contributing to the electoral reform process in Egypt, IFES and UNDP-Egypt in cooperation with the NCHR organized BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Election) training in 2007. The workshop brought together selected participants representing various election stakeholders in Egypt to enhance their understanding of the principles that underpin the electoral process and share with them comparative experience from the region and other parts of the world as a framework in which to assess their own local experience and draw on best practices and lessons learned and was delivered by "IFES". IFES is one of the BRIDGE partners along with EAD, UNDP, IDEA and the Australian Election Commission (AEC). Based on the success of the 2007 BRIDGE training in Cairo, UNDP Egypt, in cooperation with NCHR, and IFES decided to offer further technical assistance to different electoral stakeholders in Egypt.
Since 2006 IDEA has conducted a series of regional BRIDGE courses for participants from East and Southern Africa. The regional approach hasshown to have a number of additional benefits beyond the impact of the training on improving the participants' skills and knowledge. One of the major benefits of the regional approach has been the comparative experience that participants are able to share from their diverse national backgrounds.
In a move to become more financially independent from the government and to build trust with stakeholders, the National Elections Commission of Liberia and IFES held an Electoral Democracy Training Conference with key stakeholders using the Bridge Curriculum.
From 8 to 12 June 2008 the second BRIDGE course was run in the heat of Aqaba in Jordan. With the blissful setting of the Red Sea in the background the searing temperatures were soon forgotten as 25 participants from the Ministries of Interior and Municipal Affairs got stuck into the Introduction to Election Administration Module.