Focus On: Progression in Facilitator Accreditation and Categories

In the early stages of BRIDGE, and leading up to the launch of Version 2 and the new Implementation Manual, the facilitator accreditation and progression process was necessarily flexible to build up facilitator numbers and consolidate the program. However, BRIDGE is now well-established. Facilitators and potential facilitators need clear guidelines to operate within. 

Facilitator categories

Facilitator categories have been designed to clarify what each facilitator can do, and has experience in doing in the various stages of a BRIDGE program. Each category of accredited facilitator reflects a key skill set, each of which plays a valuable role in any BRIDGE program.

Workshop Facilitators focus on the main element of a BRIDGE program – the module workshops. They possess (or are in the process of developing) strong customisation and facilitation skills.

Accrediting Facilitators are experienced in workshop facilitation, but also have an understanding of how to accredit and mentor less experienced facilitators.  They are essential to capacity development in a BRIDGE program.

Expert Facilitators focus on not only facilitation of the different components of a BRIDGE program, but they are also involved in broader aspects of BRIDGE implementation.

There is a fourth category to cover potential, unaccredited facilitators:

Semi-accredited Facilitators have the basic skills and knowledge to facilitate BRIDGE as learned in the TtF workshop, but do not yet have the experience in the field.

Refer to: 8.7 Annex 7: Summary of Facilitator Categories for a breakdown of each category and their responsibilities and 8.8 Annex 8: Criteria for Progression – Facilitator Categories for the criteria required to be considered in each category.


Facilitator progression

While there is a progression from one category to another, this progression is not necessarily guaranteed, nor needed. Indeed, some facilitators will find their own skills and experience lend themselves to one category more than another. Those with strong customisation and facilitation skills who want to focus on workshop facilitation are best suited to the Workshop Facilitator category. Those with strengths in mentoring and education will be excellent Accreditation Facilitators. Those who wish to become more broadly involved in BRIDGE implementation and have the skills and experience to successfully do this are sought as Expert Facilitators.

All BRIDGE facilitators begin in the Semi-accredited Facilitator category, which is achieved by successfully completing a TtF workshop and attending a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant. Semi-accredited facilitators are not accredited as BRIDGE facilitators, but will have gained from the TtF workshop the basic skills and knowledge to deliver the BRIDGE curriculum using the BRIDGE methodology. What they will lack is BRIDGE experience, and they can gain this by becoming involved in customising, preparing and facilitating BRIDGE module workshops in the field under the supervision of more experienced facilitators. This step is vital to giving potential facilitators a solid foundation in facilitating BRIDGE, and the support they need.

Once a Semi-accredited Facilitator has gained sufficient experience and has achieved the TtF Learning Outcomes to a satisfactory level in the field, they progress to the Workshop Facilitation category, and should they choose to take on other BRIDGE responsibilities, and have the skills to do so, they may want to consider progressing to either Accrediting or Expert Facilitator categories.

Process for accreditation and progression

Refer to: 8.8 Annex 8: Criteria for Progression – Facilitator Categories to see the criteria mentioned for each category


Becoming a Semi-accredited Facilitator

There are two steps to becoming a Semi-accredited Facilitator – attend a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant to experience the BRIDGE methodology and content, and if then interested in becoming a BRIDGE facilitator, attend a TtF workshop.

Participants must attend the entire TtF workshop and participate fully in all activities, including the delivery of two BRIDGE activities themselves, and the customisation/writing of one activity.

At the end of the workshop, the TtF facilitators will assess whether each participant has fulfilled the criteria to be considered Semi-accredited Facilitators, and will offer each participant verbal feedback.

A TtF workshop is always run by a lead Accrediting or Expert Facilitator who is responsible for deciding whether or not each participant qualifies as a Semi-accredited Facilitator, with support from their co-facilitators who may be other Accrediting or Expert Facilitators, or very experienced Workshop Facilitators. The lead facilitator is also responsible for informing the BRIDGE Office who has become a Semi-accredited Facilitator, including an assessment of how ready each participant is to be accredited as a Workshop Facilitator once they have had the opportunity to gain field experience. The BRIDGE Office then updates its databases to reflect the new Semi-accredited Facilitators.

New Semi-accredited Facilitators will receive a certificate at the TtF and should register to the BRIDGE website where they will be given facilitator access to the BRIDGE curriculum, newsletters and discussion forums.

Becoming a Workshop Facilitator

Semi-accredited Facilitators are ready to plan and facilitate modules under the supervision of accredited facilitators. Some facilitators will be advanced enough to be accredited at their first workshop, but others will require several workshops to complete their accreditation.

It is possible for Semi-accredited Facilitators to work with Workshop Facilitators to gain supported experience, but they will need to work with an Accrediting or Expert Facilitator to be formally accredited. Semi-accredited Facilitators are also able to use the BRIDGE curriculum unsupervised, in which case their workshops would not be BRIDGE, however this is not recommended as the support and mentoring that comes from working with a supervising facilitator are important to successful development of facilitation skills and capacity development.

A Semi-accredited Facilitator must be involved in not only the preparation and delivery of a workshop module, but also the customisation process, in order for the accrediting facilitator to be able to assess them against the criteria for accreditation. The minimum number of hours of planning and facilitation to be completed for assessment is 30 hours, which may be achieved in one workshop or over several. A Semi-accredited Facilitator may also feel they need more than 30 hours.

The 30 hour minimum must be of engaged planning and facilitation – for example, if somebody else is running an activity, and a facilitator is sitting in the back of the room and not paying attention, but doing non-relevant work or resting, this would not count as engaged facilitation. However, if they were listening, supporting the person running the activity, helping participants when required etc., then although they themselves are not running the activity, they are still actively facilitating.

If the Semi-accredited Facilitator fulfils the criteria, the Accrediting or Expert Facilitator is responsible for informing the BRIDGE Office that they have progressed to become a Workshop Facilitator.

New Workshop Facilitators are ready to lead BRIDGE module workshops themselves, but it is always recommended that less experienced facilitators work with more experienced facilitators who can mentor and support them. A newly accredited facilitator should get as much experience facilitating module workshops as possible, and should not facilitate other kinds of BRIDGE workshops until their facilitation skills are well established.

A Workshop Facilitator may choose to focus on workshop facilitation only and the most experienced Workshop Facilitators are extremely valuable to any BRIDGE program. Alternatively, a Workshop Facilitator may want to take on broader BRIDGE responsibilities once they have gained sufficient experience in the customisation and facilitation phases, and in this case should consider becoming an Accrediting Facilitator.

Becoming an Accrediting Facilitator

Workshop Facilitators who have made the decision to become Accrediting Facilitators should begin by taking responsibility for mentoring facilitators with less experience, and being mentored themselves in the accreditation process by Accrediting or Expert Facilitators. They should already be doing tasks such as liaising with the BRIDGE Office and submitting reports and data relating to the workshops they facilitate.

In addition to this, they must be experienced, with a minimum of 150 hours engaged customisation, preparation and facilitation of BRIDGE workshops, at least 75% of which are module workshops, required for progression from Workshop Facilitator. However, some facilitators may want to increase their experience as a Workshop Facilitator before they feel ready to progress.

If a facilitator feels they qualify to become an Accrediting Facilitator, they need to submit an application to the BRIDGE Office using the relevant application form, outlining their experience and workshops facilitated. They also require a reference from an Accrediting or Expert Facilitator they have worked with who is able to assess whether or not the facilitator meets the criteria to progress. The BRIDGE Office will verify the information provided and submit the facilitator’s name to the BRIDGE partners for approval, and if successful, they will be updated on the BRIDGE database as Accrediting Facilitators.

An Accrediting Facilitator then focuses on more of a mentoring and accrediting role as well as customisation and facilitation. This category of facilitator is crucial to capacity development within a BRIDGE program. However, if an Accrediting Facilitator wishes to be involved in broader program responsibilities, such as needs assessment and evaluation tasks; they should consider progression to Expert Facilitator.

Becoming an Expert Facilitator

As before, not all facilitators will want to become Expert Facilitators or will have the skills to do so. However, there are some facilitators who build up vast experience in BRIDGE facilitation and become involved in implementing BRIDGE at a much deeper level. Their role is critical to BRIDGE as a whole as well as to individual programs.

To become an Expert Facilitator, an Accrediting Facilitator must be mentored in other implementation tasks such as needs assessments and scoping missions, and looking at a BRIDGE program more holistically than just the workshop components.

In addition to this, they must be experienced, with a minimum of 300 hours engaged customisation, preparation and facilitation of BRIDGE workshops, at least 50% of which are module workshops, required for progression from Workshop Facilitator.  Again, some facilitators may want to increase their experience as an Accrediting Facilitator before they feel ready to progress.

Once they feel they have fulfilled the criteria and are confident that they could operate as an Expert Facilitator, they must submit the relevant application form to the BRIDGE Office, including a full outline of their BRIDGE experience, how they meet each criteria, and provide a reference and recommendation for advancement from an Expert Facilitator. The BRIDGE Office in turn will verify their application and submit their name to the BRIDGE partners for approval to progress. On approval, their records are updated and their name included in the Expert Facilitator pool.  Expert Facilitators are often called on by new BRIDGE programs to accredit and lead.


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