UNDP/Georgia project Promoting Dialogue and Capacity for Effective National Electoral Processes, with the financial support of European Union, aims at building the capacity of the Election Administration of Georgia. Following the several workshops conducted to meet the needs of electoral officials, The Project targeted the Training Unit – the Centre of Election Systems Development, Reforms and Training.
The aim was to introduce the BRIDGE methodology to the new staff, as well as to strengthen the capacity of the Training Centre to independently plan, implement and monitor the future operational trainings. In order to enrich the knowledge sharing, the semi-accredited facilitators who facilitated the BRIDGE workshops for the mid-level administration (DEC) members during August-October 2009, were invited to participate. In total 24 participants attended the workshop.
Therefore 5-days workshop on Electoral Training module was conducted by Lead Facilitator, Natia Kashakashvili and 2 semi-accredited facilitators: Giorgi Sharabidze and Lasha Meladze during December 8-12, 2010 in Batumi Sheraton Hotel, Batumi, Georgia. It’s worth noting that facilitation team members were undergoing the full accreditation process; therefore the responsibility for proper preparation and conduct was even higher.
The Agenda was tailored for 5 days; 2 days’ topics were introductory and the 3 days’ topics solely focused on Electoral Training principles, planning, designing and implementing the training program. Participants’ notes were printed in two separate handbooks, one of which – Training Of Voting Operations Staff ACE – was printed separately and distributed to the participants prior arrival to the workshop.
Participants gained knowledge and practiced the BRIDGE methodology, benefited from sharing the knowledge from the semi-accredited facilitators. So called “experienced” facilitators were not even reminded to let the freshmen experience the BRIDGE themselves; participants were extremely friendly and the Facilitation Team could focus more on introducing the new energizers/ice breakers team-building; the team spirit that existed during the 5 days, gave facilitation team to engage all of them in the activities that sometimes took more time than planned, but participants never minded to finish at late hours. Participants have noted that the workshop exceeded their expectations, especially the “experienced” facilitators did not expect that the curriculum would be completely refreshed. Though it needs to be admitted, that all of them noted that more time (days) would be advisable to be able to absorb information.
Facilitation Team would like to express the special gratitude to the participants as they have contributed to the successful conduct of the 5-days Electoral Training Module; and the special thanks to the “semi-accredited” facilitators whose attitude was “desire to know more” rather than “I already know this”.
Participants gave the facilitation team possibility to improvise and adapt the Agenda while delivering activities, which made the workshop even more tailored to the needs of the Training Centre.
As the Training Centre is the semi-independent entity, the Centre staff noted that they would like to get more training on planning and budgeting. Therefore if the possibility be, they might need to get the training on “strategic and financial planning” module.
The workshop was concluded on 12th of December with the Event:
Act #1. All the participants were invited for the dinner at 9 PM; UNDP Project Manager Tamar Zhvania made a speech and noted the successful conduct of the workshop. Facilitation Team, Natia Kashakashvili, Giorgi Sharabidze and Lasha Meladze made speech, thanked participants for their active participation and granted with the Certificates for Completion the 5-days workshop on Electoral Training Module.
Act #2. As expected, the semi-accredited facilitators, who were co-facilitating the BRIDGE workshops, have performed extremely well, meeting all the requirements to become the workshop facilitators. Therefore, with the special honor, accrediting facilitator has granted Giorgi Sharabidze and Lasha Meladze the Certificates in recognition of becoming the Workshop Facilitators. Giorgi and Lasha have been great help and contributed in several workshops conducted during 2009-2010 years.
Act #3. Special Surprise for special people: Participants got quite surprised to see the presentation equipment at the dinner tables and were quite impatient and tempted to know the reason… The video recording with Shalva Tskhakaya, Georgian BRIDGE Guru, welcoming participants from sunny Africa, congratulating participants with the completion of the workshop and congratulating Giorgi and Lasha on their achievement – becoming the workshop facilitator. And then, Shalva announced the special nomination, that UNDP team has decided to grant as special appreciation to Natia Lipartiani, the energetic, humorous and extremely friendly person; Natia was granted the Certificate of Appreciation, Acknowledgement and Accreditation as the BRIDGE workshop Planner. Participants were shocked with the surprise, though they could not believe another surprise – video message from (so called) BRIDGE father Ross Attrill. Ross Attrill was asked to send across this message as BRIDGE in Georgia is exclusively associated with Ross, as he was the one to give birth to Bridge in Georgia back in 2003; therefore it was the surprise equal to have Ross at the dinner itself. Ross congratulated everyone on completion of the workshop, Giorgi and Lasha on becoming closer to the BRIDGE family and congratulations to Natia “2” for her efforts to make the BRIDGE workshop conduct smooth. (Special thanks to Ross Attrill and Ben Murray to make this surprise come true).
Act #4. Surprise for BRIDGE all over the world sent from Georgia – BRIDGE LOGO/STRIPES decorated CAKE: as the year 2010 ends and as the 2010 is the 10th year of BRIDGE life, with this cake and the candle, we wish BRDGE office in Australia and all the BRIDGE facilitators long life, more modules, expansion and BRIDGEnized participants throughout the world.
UNDP/Georgia was heartedly asked by participants to make efforts to continue building the capacity of the EMB of Georgia using BRIDGE for the 2011.