Organised by International IDEA and hosted by the Gorée Institute, the participants attended the second meeting of the ACE Regional Centres came from the eight of the ten participating organisations across the globe:
The meeting served to introduce and consolidate BRIDGE as a tool amongst the regional centres. These centres would in future serve as important implementation points around the globe. Critical to this role would be the full accreditation of several of the participants as BRIDGE facilitators. The Senegal meeting served as an important strategic opportunity to fulfil accreditation for several of the ACE regional centres, as well as showcase some of the BRIDGE materials.
A two-day BRIDGE workshop was planned as part of the Senegal meeting with the following participants earmarked for full accreditation with Rushdi Nackerdien as the lead facilitator:
Accrediting seven people located across the globe in a two-day workshop presented some unique challenges. Firstly, the facilitators were all located across the world in different time-zones. Secondly, the facilitators would have limited contact time on Gorée in preparation for the workshop. The following were important factors that assisted in the process:
With preparatory communications handled via email and Skype in the two weeks running up to the workshop, most of the facilitators had run through the materials with the lead facilitator online before they met on Gorée. All but two of the facilitators were able to arrive ahead of the workshop and could continue their preparations on-site. With everything in place, adaptations were made on the go, with no time to revise or reschedule, as everything had to fit into two days. Despite the tremendous challenges faced in the process, facilitators and participants enjoyed the experience. The following comments were drawn from evaluations about the course:
The two days of BRIDGE were also further enhanced by a session later in the week which dealt with implementing a BRIDGE course. Rushdi Nackerdien and Arpineh Galfayan spoke about the difficulties in running BRIDGE, discussing some of the preparatory components, as well as demonstrating the regional aspects of implementation, using the South Caucasus as a case study. This expanded participants’ understanding of the challenges facing the running of a BRIDGE course, as well as drawing on important best practices that ahs emerged over the years. Participants left Gorée Island enriched, enthused and reminded about the possibilities around BRIDGE and its usefulness around the globe. The joining together of ACE and BRIDGE in this manner represents an important development in the growing maturity of the elections profession. We look forward to seeing how the ACE regional centres use the BRIDGE curriculum in their work, along with the newfound accreditation that many of them now enjoy.