IFES organized and implemented its third one-day BRIDGE orientation training for 16 new employees in early May, as part of its professional development and orientation for newly and recently-hired employees.
Although IFES new-hires have a variety of experience in the democracy and governance international development field, staff surveys have shown that employees feel they would benefit from focused, practical training on the work that IFES carries out. To address this need, IFES BRIDGE facilitators designed the training to serve as an introduction to the BRIDGE methodology as well as critical topics in electoral administration. The facilitators also incorporate lessons learned from previous new hire trainings to refine the design and introduce new material. In addition to lectures and presentations, interactive group activities provide an opportunity for participants to learn from one another through leveraging individuals’ knowledge and experience.
In addition to reviewing introductory topics such as the relationship between conflict and democracy, the meaning of free and fair, and exploring the importance of electoral systems, the workshop also included more practical, hands-on exercises designed to illustrate the impact and importance of IFES’ work. Participants saw and discussed the impact of electoral system design by taking part in simulations of various common electoral systems and then discussing how the design of each affected the outcome.
Additionally, following discussions on election management bodies, electoral process stakeholders, and the electoral cycle, participants took part in two in-depth scenario based activities. In the “
Working with Stakeholders” activity, participants broke up into groups representing different electoral process stakeholders and discussed their concerns vis-à-vis the electoral process in a specific scenario. In the “Brokering Electoral Assistance” activity, participants broke up into groups representing domestic and international stakeholders and tried to negotiate the provision of electoral assistance, including the value and focus of the assistance, as well as how much of a priority electoral assistance was in the face of other development needs. These two activities were intended to allow participants to apply newly-learned knowledge and gain a more practical understanding of the complexities of the work that IFES carries out.
IFES holds the training on a regular basis, to introduce new employees to a greater understanding and awareness of electoral administration and design worldwide, as well as BRIDGE programming that is woven through IFES’ work.
The workshop was facilitated by Ambar Zobairi (USA, workshop facilitator) and Eric Hodachok (USA, workshop facilitator).