Managing Electoral Processes in Georgia

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BRIDGE ACCESS TO ELECTORAL PROCESSES
April 19, 2016
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BRIDGE Workshop for EMB’s on Disability Rights and Election
May 5, 2016
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IFES Georgia with the financial support of USAID and Central Election Commission of Georgia (CEC) in cooperation with the Centre for Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Trainings (CEC Training Centre) implemented Professional Development Program for all permanent members of the District Electoral Commissions of Georgia. This is the third time (first phase in 2009 and second phase in 2012) that BRIDGE is used as the professional development tool for the mid-level electoral administrators with such a large scale.

Fifteen workshops on Managing Electoral Processes were conducted in Batumi, Georgia during Feb 29 to April 6, 2016. In total 370 participants attended the workshops, amongst them 209 were female and 161 male. Two facilitation teams and six facilitators were intensively involved in workshop preparation and conduct:

  • Natia Kashakashvili (expert facilitator) – conducted 8 workshops
  • Natia Zarnadze-Ioseliani (Workshop facilitator) – conducted 7 workshops
  • Davit Todria (Workshop facilitator) – conducted 8 workshops
  • Zurab Khrikadze (semi-accredited facilitator) – conducted 5 workshops
  • Maia Zaridze (Workshop facilitator) – conducted 2 workshops
  • Maia Gudadze (Workshop facilitator) – conducted 3 workshops

The curriculum of Managing Electoral Processes workshop was based on the three BRIDGE modules: Electoral Dispute Resolution, Strategic and Financial Planning and Pre-election Activities. The topics formed the following focuses: 1. Electoral Integrity (International obligations of Elections, Principles of Electoral Integrity, Dispute Resolution, Conflict Management and Principles of Voting Operations); 2. Planning for the Electoral Event (Importance of planning, Operational Planning, Logistics Planning, Warehouse operations) and 3. Skills to implement the operational plans (Time management, Team management and leadership, Recruiting skillful staff, managing communication chain).

The workshop achieved one of its aims: strengthened District Electoral Commissions as a team. The team-building was especially effective for the newly elected members; some of them after the first and second day of the workshop could engage with more courageousness in group activities. Therefore, the new DEC members have more confidence and they have been assimilated within the DEC team. The chairs of the DEC has mentioned that the workshop also gave them opportunity to assess the performance of each other (especially the newly appointed members) and to see where they need to support each other. Below are some of the evaluation remarks expressed by the participants:

  • “The workshop gave the opportunity to the Electoral District representatives to be formed as one team and acceptance of the new members of the DECs went very smoothly”.
  • “It was very much needed to get to know to each other and to relate with the colleagues outside of the regular workplace”.
  • “Activities during the workshops has clearly shown the importance of Team building and decision making process as a team”.

As the result of the workshop conduct, the Professional Development Program achieved another aim: District Electoral Commissioners (DECs) increased capacities of Managing Electoral Processes using several planning tools. It is obvious observation that DECs were triggered to draft operational plans for their respective electoral districts; therefore engaging the temporary DEC members and the temporary DEC staff will be much more effective. DEC permanent members realized the responsibility of making maximum use of the team members’ capabilities and delegating when necessary.

It’s worth to mention increased professionalism of the Central Election Commission and the Training Centre BRIDGE facilitators. During the conduct of the workshops, IFES expert level facilitator has mentored semi-accredited facilitator – Zurab Khrikadze and by the end of the conduct of the fifth workshop, the facilitator was granted accreditation as the workshop level facilitator. The facilitators performed with full confidence of content knowledge and excellent level of facilitation. Below are some of the evaluation remarks expressed by the participants about the facilitators:

  • “It’s worth to mention the outstanding professionalism of the facilitators, who at one side are also good phycologists the way they worked with the group and each individual”.
  • “The credit goes to the trainers that we, the participants could absorb such a vast volume of information”.
  • “Effectiveness of the workshop was as a result of trainers’ positive attitude”.
  • “The workshop facilitators are amazing with their simplicity and caring attitude towards each participant”.
  • “ I am very satisfied and impressed by your (facilitators’) professionalism, creative approach of delivering the message (information and topics) and team spirit”.

According to the verbal and written evaluations, pparticipants have praised the organizational conduct of the workshop as well as the Facilitation team’s efforts. Below is the summary of the evaluations expressed by the participants:

  • “Despite that BRIDGE itself is very refined project, we can see permanent progress of the BRIDGE workshops and each time the workshops are more effective and fruitful. Every time there are new discoveries”.

  • “The workshop was diverse, informative, productive and effective, interesting and joyful. It was enriched with very well selected methodologies of group works. It has offered easy and speedy processing and analyzing of the information”.
  • “I have learnt ways how to deal with the big tasks in a short time period”.
  • “The workshop was very effective and intensive; it offered many novelties. This type of workshop gives us such an information and skills that is necessary for our duties and responsibilities”.
  • “The workshop has offered the topics that is very close to DEC work activities and the agenda and content was very structural”.
  • “The workshop has offered very good combination of theory and practice, where the theory gave the groups opportunity to “prepare” for the upcoming group activity”.
  • “The workshop content wise was very good; the atmosphere very joyful that made the workshop very fruitful. The following topics were of utmost importance – time management, avoiding stressful situations and above all – team building activities”.
  • “I have been charged with the positive emotions that will be very useful for the upcoming electoral work. For myself – one of the new skills was to work with the people I have never worked before”.
  • “The workshop improves the level of knowledge and practical activities (group works) gives us new skills, such as communication skills, time management skills, etc.”
  • “The workshop gave us skills that will be used not only at workplace but in the real life situations; I have discovered several new information about myself and my personality”.

The workshops achieved its main goals. District Election Commission members are step ahead for the preparations for the upcoming Parliamentary Elections. Central Election Commission of Georgia plans to continue conducting further professional development workshops for the members of the District Election Commissions.

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