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:
While BRIDGE can be customised to the specific requirements of a project, it is recommended that the following elements be included:
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 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:
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 needed.