Thirty- five members of MINUSTAH’s electoral assistance division spent the week of June 6-10 exploring topics of the BRIDGE introduction module and applying their analysis to a number of practical challenges facing election administration in Haiti. Held in the brand new Welfare Center on the Logbase in Port-au-Prince, the training brought together the MINUSTAH’s electoral team including the regional electoral officers from all regions of the country. The training was organized to coincide with the immediate post-electoral period in Haiti, allowing participants to reflect back on their recent experience in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere and begin to consider the challenges of sustainability and capacity transfer in the post-electoral period.
The 5-day training opened with several activities to re-focus on the “big picture” values, standards and principles of democratic governance and credible electoral assistance. Several guests were invited to participate in the first hours of the training to encourage the group and to learn about the BRIDGE curriculum and methodology, including Pierre-Louis Opont, the General Director of Haiti’s electoral management body, the CEP, and Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General- MINUSTAH , Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
Days two and three jumped deep into the curriculum focusing on legal framework, electoral management bodies and electoral systems. For each topic, activities were developed to apply the lessons learned to Haiti’s post-electoral context, notably including an in-depth analysis of Haiti’s electoral code. The participants also discussed access and gender in elections and learned about gender challenges in Haiti through a presentation by invited guest speaker from the Gender Unit- MINUSTAH.
The final two days of the training focused on MINUSTAH’s role in the post electoral period. Participants engaged in activities on sustainability and electoral assistance through the electoral cycle before turning the major theme of thee two days: capacity transfer. The group analyzed approaches and best practices, but also took an honest look at the shortfalls and failures of electoral assistance in this area. The group broke off into four working groups to develop strategic plans for capacity transfer in four areas of MINUSTAH’s mandate: Security, Logistics, Communications and Institutional Memory. The subjects were identified through a survey on the first day of the training as priority areas for capacity transfer. After sharing their plans and receiving feedback, the group reflected on the importance of sharing professional pride, commitment to democractic values and strong personal ethics as an integral part of capacity sharing.
The training was organized by MINUSTAH as an internal capacity development activity for its staff. The event was facilitated by Gabrielle Bardall (expert facilitator) and semi-accredited facilitators Alessandra Rossi (MINUSTAH) and Carmina Sanchis-Ruescas (UNDP). Both Carmina and Alessandra completed their full accreditations through this workshop and are now Workshop Faciliators with BRIDGE. Congratulations! During the training we remembered French-Haitian BRIDGE facilitator, Emmanuel Rejouis, who lost his life in the Januay 12, 2010 earthquake.