The training seeks to enhance the election skills of all MEC staff in the area of registration, public outreach and part of Preparation for the Electoral Event module. The course is drawn on a capacity-building curriculum known as â€œthe BRIDGE projectâ€ (www.bridge-project.org), specially designed to improve the skills, knowledge and confidence of election administrators. BRIDGE, which stands for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections, was developed by IDEA, the United Nations and the Australian Electoral Commission in 2001 and is widely recognised as the most comprehensive electoral training curriculum of its kind in the world. Recent partners to the BRIDGE project include UNDP and the International Foundation for Elections Systems (IFES). BRIDGE has been run in more than 23 countries across the globe, including 10 in Africa with more than 2000 participants and covers topics such as electoral systems, boundary delimitation, public outreach, registration of voters, media and elections and electoral security.
The BRIDGE Course aims at ensuring sustainability in professional development training in the field of elections by transferring the necessary training skills to national electoral commissions so that they can utilise BRIDGE for their own national training programmes. The BRIDGE course underway involves staff from various sections and levels at MEC and will go along way towards successful implementation of various activities as MEC prepares for general elections in 2009. This is the second of the four scheduled sessions for all MEC staff.
â€œOur work as electoral commission is to see to it that we create a conducive environment to the sustenance of our young democracy by conducting free, fair and transparent elections. The BRIDGE training curriculum represents a unique opportunity to meet the needs of our country and take the quality of our elections to new levels. This course represents the start of the MECâ€™s investment in its staff to increase our state of readiness for future elections.â€ said Justice Msosa, Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission during the opening of the first training in November last year.
The 5-day course is being funded by donor funds coordinated by UNDP Malawi in a capacity development programme of support for the Malawi Electoral Commission.