With the support of UNDP Liberia basket fund provided by EU, BRIDGE Module 1 was conducted on 20-23 November in Margibi county, Travelers’ In Hotel. Course sessions were conducted by team of facilitators composed of UNDP and NEC representatives. Facilitators selected for facilitation possess BRIDGE Certificates of Full and Partial Accreditations. The following facilitators were chosen for course facilitation, these are:
• James Wallace, NEC Head of training section (Fully accredited);
• Emma Kpene Togba, NEC Trainers (Fully Accredited);
• Daniel Gegbeson, NEC Regional Coordinator (Semi Accredited);
• George Baratashvili, UNDP Training (Fully Accredited).
Unlike of lecturing style, course used traditional BRIDGE methodology based on adult learning, teamwork and practical learning principles, which comprised participants’ presentations and group work.
Module 1 training course participated NEC HQ newly appointed permanent staff members. Two seats were granted to Inter Party Consultation Committee (IPCC) members. As a result, total 26 participants have been trained where 15 were Female and 11 Male participants.
The course was intensively planned and prepared by BRIDGE course facilitators. Facilitators closely followed BRIDGE methodology and its content. The content of the Module 1 was following:
• Why have elections?
• Guiding principles of election management;
• Legal Framework;
• Access to electoral processes;
• Voter information/Civic education principles;
• Introduction to planning;
• Many systems – one process
• Electoral Management Bodies (set up, stakeholders, introduction, design)
For the first day of the training, facilitators explained to participants the aim and methodology of the BRIDGE Program, its importance and content of the Module. The following days presented different role-plays and energizers. From the beginning, participants were given guidelines for comprehensive understanding of course methodology which is different from traditional lecturing style. For the rest of the days, participants worked in groups to prepare activities and presentations. The make up of the teams was changed time to time so that participants had the opportunity to work with different people and share different experiences and knowledge.
Participants were actively involved in course activities. Facilitators at all times used simple language in their explanations and presentations. They used different types of brainstorming, group-working and role-play methodologies. Almost all basic trainers’ skills were used. Facilitators demonstrated their familiarity with the BRIDGE materials and its methodology.
Participants’ evaluations were unanimously positive. Participants made comments on needs for improvements in terms of facilitation and course agenda. However, it was stated that they found the course an extremely useful and enjoyable which established positive and encouraging environment for participation.
Content of the module was interesting to participants. All activities incorporated in the content were clearly understood.. Group of BRIDGE facilitators performed their task with proficiency. Facilitators were very supportive to other course facilitators and encouraging to participants. They showed the example of good facilitation and how positive learning outcome can be achieved based on skilful facilitation.
Present training on Module 1 gave possibility to NEC staff to enlarge their knowledge about elections, establish good networking amongst HQ and IPCC and facilitators. The work that needs to be implemented should not only be this year priority, the curriculum that BRIDGE provides can be used at any time for newly appointed electoral staff training, for developing training programs and training manuals. Therefore, the knowledge participants will receive during the follow up training courses will help them to manage free and fair Elections in Liberia.