The Republic of Guinea has recently made great strides on the road toward democracy. With the recent election of the first democratically-elected president in its entire history, Guinea is slowly making progress toward an election management body equipped with tools for sustained capacity building.
The Guinean Electoral Commission (CENI), as well as its Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MATAD), both of which serve as the country’s election management bodies, are currently capitalizing on lessons learned from the 2010–2011 electoral process and slowly preparing for the legislative elections scheduled to take place before the end of 2011.
As part of a broad capacity building strategy for Guinean stakeholders since 2001, IFES, with the generous support of USAID, the UNDP and the European Union, held a BRIDGE Train the Facilitators (TtF) course from February 7 through 18 in Kindia, a city located about 150 km from Conakry, the capital city of Guinea. The training session brought together 22 participants, including members of the Guinean CENI, the MATAD, civil society organizations, and organizations providing technical and financial support to the electoral process, namely IFES and the UNDP.
The Train the Facilitators course was led by four BRIDGE facilitators, including Kamissa CAMARA (Mali – workshop facilitator and IFES-Washington West Africa Program Coordinator); Jacques GBONIMY (Guinea – semi-accredited workshop facilitator and Training Manager of the Guinean CENI); Corneille NANGAA (DR Congo – accrediting facilitator and Country Director for IFES in Niger); and Ibrahima Amadou NIANG (Senegal – accrediting facilitator and Electoral Processes and Governance Expert at the Gorée Institute in Senegal).
The training session went incredibly well and saw very positive feedback from participants. Training participants were deeply engaged and determined to get the most out of the first BRIDGE training held in Guinea. A constant exchange of experiences and relevant interactions made the training a lifetime experience for most participants. Alongside the training session, the facilitation team hosted a storytelling night around a campfire, during which participants shared African tales. The storytelling night was one of the highest points of the time spent together and contributed to a friendly environment among participants while honoring the cultural values of the African continent.
At the end of the training, all 22 participants obtained a semi-accreditation as BRIDGE workshop facilitators. They all strongly committed themselves to using BRIDGE resources in the training programs of their respective organizations.
After co-facilitating this workshop, Mr. Jacques Gbonimy became the first Guinean to obtain a full accreditation as a BRIDGE workshop facilitator.