One of the key messages of this manual is to consider, plan and implement BRIDGE programs in a sustainable, meaningful manner. This section will summarise and reiterate the key points that relate to sustainable BRIDGE programming, and will look at the post-election period of the electoral cycle as a particularly important part of the electoral cycle from a sustainability point of view.
For BRIDGE partners or implementing organisations, a process rather than event (workshop/election) driven approach assumes continuing dialogue with the client even as a program comes to a close, for example by working through recommendations of a BRIDGE program evaluation report. Program planners need to ask whether future interventions are desirable, given the priority which BRIDGE places on empowering clients to internalise BRIDGE as a sustainable professional development tool. Instead of further interventions, routine follow up visits could be considered as part of an overall networking approach. These assumptions could be spelled out in maintenance and sustainability plans, for incorporation into the client organisation’s professional development and planning cycle.
When it comes to designing BRIDGE programs post-election environment, experience has shown that immediately after an electoral event there is the likelihood of the withdrawal of both attention and funding whether by government or donor funds. This is often coupled with staff reduction and the loss of internal and external expertise.
This post-election period can be seen as a moment of opportunity to implement a capacity development or sustainability plan however, allowing for a focus on planning and working with core or permanent staff in a way that the operational imperatives of the pre-election period does not permit . A post-election evaluation process can be used as an opportunity to bring together stakeholders and repair differences by looking forward and seeking to improve the electoral process. BRIDGE can be an ideal vehicle for designing workshops to serve both these purposes.
In maintaining and sustaining BRIDGE programs, continuity of staff is desirable and yet the ability of the client organisation to attract and retain capable facilitators may be out of the control of program planners. Nevertheless, the key personnel, even if not permanent, which could drive, own, implement and administer any future program should be identified and included in any maintenance and planning process. The departure of one key BRIDGE-trained person in an organisation may, after all, be the link that breaks the chain of sustainability.
Continuing and increasing the number of networks and partners after a program is complete is a core component of any sustainability plan. Organisations could look to other organisations – national and international – to continue the identified work.
The following table is a summary of the points made in the manual related to good practice in implementing sustainable, high quality and relevant BRIDGE programs :
|Stages||Measures enhancing sustainability|