On 7th May, 2012, representatives from ten EMBs in Africa gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take part in a BRIDGE Train the Facilitators workshop.
The twenty participants (eight women and ten men) came from The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia and Uganda. The facilitation team was composed of Ibrahima Amadou Niang, Zefanias Matsimbe, Revai Aalbaek and Kelechi Akubueze. The workshop was funded by AusAID.
The workshop introduced the participants to the BRIDGE learning methodology, which has a strong emphasis on adult learning techniques by capitalizing on individual experience, knowledge sharing and peer learning.
The participants who are employed in various positions in their respective EMBs were selected on the basis of their experience and expertise as electoral administrators and as trainers. They could not articulate enough how impressed they were with the uniqueness and flexibility of the BRIDGE curriculum and methodology and how useful it will be in assisting them in conducting future training programmes. The experience, content knowledge, commitment, hard work and enthusiasm demonstrated by all participants throughout the workshop contributed to the achievement of the aims of the training. The mixture of different organisational experiences and diverse cultures also tremendously contributed to the success of the workshop. Participants exchanged information, experiences and practices among themselves and with the facilitators. The positive spirit amongst the team also assisted those with any barriers (language and cultural) and public speaking to overcome their challenges.
Participants clearly appreciated the training, many of them referring to it as “very interactive” and “very enriching”. One participant said “Thank you to IDEA and the partners for making this training a success. The facilitators were excellent in carrying out the training and their attitude towards us the participants was commendable. The training environment was very conducive.”
One aspect that clearly came out was the importance of positive thinking and positive feedback, which helped to boost confidence and improve facilitation skills of the participants. As stated by one participant: “Positive thinking and feedback will go a long way with me as I exercise my duty as a trainer.”