In its 10th year, it is wonderful that BRIDGE has now been introduced to the Balkans. As part of its technical assistance strategy partnership with the Kosovo Central Election Commission (CEC) and its Secretariat (CECS), IFES undertook to facilitate two, one-week workshops - one for Commissioners and one for the staff of the Secretariat.
In its 10th year, it is wonderful that BRIDGE has now been introduced to the Balkans. As part of its technical assistance strategy partnership with the Kosovo Central Election Commission (CEC) and its Secretariat (CECS), IFES undertook to facilitate two, one-week workshops – one for Commissioners and one for the staff of the Secretariat. The workshops were facilitated by Ross Attrill from the Australian Electoral Commission and Natia Kashakashvili from Georgia. They were very ably assisted by two Albanian-speaking and two Serbian-speaking translators.
After consulting with both the CEC and the CECS, it was decided that the workshops should be taylored to the needs of each group discreetly and should consist of selected elements from the following modules:
The first of the workshops, for the members of the Commission was conducted at Hotel Solid in Suharekë from 13-17 September. The Commissioners were impressed by both the content and the methodology of the workshop and were very keen to see BRIDGE used by the members of the secretariat. The Commissioners were also very keen to participate in future workshops if they were to be offered. This workshop definitely helped build the political will necessary for BRIDGE to be used more widely in Kosovo.
The second workshop for the CECS staff was conducted at Hotel Sharri in the mountains outside the beautiful city of Prizren from 19-23 September. There were more than 20 participants for across the CECS. Again, all the participants responded well to the content and the methodology and all made the comment that it would be good to have future BRIDGE trainings. It was also a measure of the Commissioners’ commitment to the program that Commissioners Albert Kinolli and Bajram Ljatifi, came to open the second workshop and to promote the importance of the workshop to the Secretariat staff.
These workshops once again proved that BRIDGE methodology seems to work across all cultures and that BRIDGE offers a valuable opportunity for electoral professionals to examine the way they do their work and to look at ways of improving their processes to meet the needs of electoral stakeholders in their context.
Special thanks needs to go to Mary Lou Schramm, Chief of Party for IFES in Kosovo, and to her wonderful staff Megan, Visar and Faruk whose energy and hard work contributed to a constructive and entertaining experience for everyone concerned. Thanks also to Commissioners Ercan Spat and Albert Kinolli for their generosity and hospitality in Prizren.
Ross Attrill, September 2010