Federal Election Academy, the training arm of the Election Commission of Pakistan, in collaboration with IFES-Pakistan, held a four-day workshop on BRIDGE Module of Boundary Delimitation from 18th to 22nd March, 2017 (Sunday closed). Primarily, the Boundary Delimitation workshop was part of the Five-Week “Electoral Management Course” conducted by the FEA for Regional Election Commissioners/Directors (BS-19 Officers), with two other BRIDGE Modules i.e. Legal Framework and Gender & Elections, focused on the overall capacity building and professional development. For the first time these workshops were delivered under the supervision of BRIDGE Accrediting Facilitators from Election Commission of Pakistan as Lead Facilitators, which is considered a milestone for the EMB, investing enormous time and resources with assistance of partners organizations e.g. UNDP and IFES to build its own pool of highly skilled and professional facilitators.
The aim and objective of the workshop was to further develop the knowledge, skills and capacity of the mid-level management officers of the Election Commission, enabling them to efficiently and effectively perform the task of delimitation of constituencies. Most of the participants had the experience of delimitation either as Delimitation Officers or Delimitation Authorities for the Local Governments Elections-2015 in the country. As such, their experience and practical knowledge was the essence of this workshop. The participants, who likely to be involved in the upcoming delimitation process, were intended to be aware of basic principles underlying a credible and acceptable process of boundary delimitation; to be acquainted with delimitation tasks such as working out quota and allocation of seats, acquiring population data and proper maps of district; and working with administrative units and map reading.
The context in which the workshop held was also key to the objective that the Government has been conducting the population census throughout the country after a period of 19 years and there may be resultant delimitation to adjust the constituencies to changes occurred in the population not only from districts to districts but at large level from rural to urban. Therefore, the Officers who may be assigned the task of delimitation or preparing proposals for delimitation should know the practical application of their skills and learning to make this anticipated assignment a success.
The customized BRIDGE Module mainly covered the areas: A theoretical perspective on introduction to boundary delimitation; key terms and concepts in boundary delimitation; the impact of various principles on boundary delimitation; the principles of good boundary delimitation; the legal framework on boundary delimitation in Pakistan; working out of quota and allocation of seats to administrative districts, drawing boundaries on maps, description and re-description of constituencies, assessment of a good delimitation, redressal of representations made by the stakeholders against delimitation of constituencies. The participants were also provided the opportunity of practical exercise of delimitation by drawing constituencies on the actual maps using population data against variable number of seats assigned to administrative districts. On the demand of the participants, a session was prepared and delivered on the quasi-judicial function of delimitation authorities, which included the process of appeals and writing of judicially appropriate orders/decisions to withstand in the court litigations.
The participants were given pre-training and post-training questionnaire containing 14 questions regarding Boundary Delimitation at the start and then at close to evaluate their knowledge of delimitation and impact of training. In pre-training test the participants achieved 56% score in aggregate. Similarly, at the close of the workshop, the same test was given to them and they achieved 73% score in aggregate, showing 17% over-all improvement and training impact.
Feedback from the participants was very positive and encouraging for the facilitation team. They appreciated the learning and training atmosphere at the workshop and highlighted areas of delimitation process in which they improved or learned new knowledge. From the perspective that the workshop being delivered by the Facilitators from within the EMB, one of the participants remarked as following:
“I am glad that Officers from the ECP can now conduct such like workshops. We are moving in right direction and hope that we will attain high standards in Electoral Administration. Congratulations!”
1). Mr. Aziz Bahadar, ECP, Accrediting Facilitator (Lead Facilitator)
2). Mr. Muhammad Aslam Brohi, IFES, Workshop Facilitator
3). Mr. Naeem Ahmed, ECP, Workshop Facilitator
4). Mr. Muhammad Yousaf, ECP, Workshop Facilitator