With the aim of contributing to the electoral reform process and debate in Egypt, IFES and the Egyptian Association for Training and Human Rights – EATHR agreed to join effort to organise a series of 5 BRIDGE training workshops for 100 selected participants representing the Media sector in the country. The overall project objective was to enhance participants understanding of the principles that underpin the electoral process, and share with them comparative experiences from the region and other parts of the world to allow them to assess their own local experience and draw best practices and lessons learned.
To achieve this objective, the training courses were designed and the materials were carefully adapted to reflect issues that are central to the democratic reform debate in the country. In particular, the course was designed to cover the topic of Electoral Systems.
The second training workshop took place from January 20 till 22, 2008. It followed an "ABRIDGE" model of 3-day training workshop. The training topics were carefully chosen with special attention to Egypt specific context.
The following table illustrates the workshop framework:
In addition, Mr. Hazem Mounir and Mr. Samir El-Bagoury from EATHR participated in delivering training sessions on the topics of Fair Media Coverage of Elections and Overview of the Electoral System in Egypt respectively. The lectures were followed by comments and discussion on the lectures topics.
The facilitators adapted existing material in Arabic to meet the needs of participants in the field of electoral systems. They also produced new materials for new activities as well as new background materials covering some of the course topics.
The materials in the participants folders were supplemented most effectively with copies of the Electoral Law of Egypt and a study made by International IDEA on democratic development in Egypt.
Other valuable resource and reference made available to the participants was the IDEA handbook on Electoral Systems Design in Arabic.
Fourteen participants representing the Media sector participated in the 3 day training course. The selection of participants was tasked to EATHER that identified journalists specialised in parliamentary and electoral issues. Participants were chosen from governmental, opposition parties and independent papers as well as Egyptian Radio and TV. Five of the fourteen participants were women.
The facilitation teams consisted of:
Daily evaluation sheets were used, as well as a comprehensive evaluation form at the end of the workshop. Most of the participants indicated that they were introduced to the concept of electoral systems in a scientific and professional manner. They also stressed the benefit of exposure to other countries experience in using different electoral systems.