As Uganda prepares for forth-coming 2011 General Elections: Presidential, Parliamentary, District Chairpersons and Local Councils elections, there is dire need to improve ability of field officers of the Electoral Commission of Uganda to conduct training in districts across the country. The BRIDGE curriculum has been identified by the Electoral Commission as the only fully developed curriculum to date in equipping members of staff whose primary duty is to train. A 10day BRIDGE Train the Facilitator (TtF) Workshop was conducted from March 22nd to 31st, 2010 for a total of twenty-nine (29) officers at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, Entebbe. The facilitation team consisted of Theophilus Dowetin of International IDEA with Peninnah Sekabembe and Molly Nawe Kamukama, both of the Electoral Commission of Uganda. The training was also in reaction to court petitions, which have time and again pointed out poor level of training among staff who conduct elections.
In their remarks about the benefits of the BRIDGE TtF Workshop to the Electoral Commission of Uganda, participants said the application of the methodology of BRIDGE has enhanced their skills and therefore will yield good results in every exercise that involves training; and fostering knowledge and experience sharing within the Commission. The immediate assignment of participants after the BRIDGE training will be to train officials for a voter registration exercise i.e. to properly capture data of the registrants for Registration of voters, display exercise, nomination exercise and polling day forms. Participants feel privileged to be part of the BRIDGE network and said ultimately, the electorate will gain confidence in the Electoral Commission’s work, which will encourage them to participate actively in all elections.
Mr. Tom. Buruku, a Commissioner at the Electoral Commission who represented the Chairman of the Electoral Commission- Uganda at the closing ceremony, emphasized the Commission of Uganda’s commitment to gradually develop a resource of professionals in training in the districts, and promised to continue the support to more BRIDGE programmes in the future.
Article by Molly N. Kamukama & Theo. Dowetin