A BRIDGE Electoral Observation course was held from 30-31 July, 2012, in Pretoria, South Africa.This project was generously funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit- German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Botswana in a spirit of partnership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Elections Support Network (ESN) and SADC Council of Non-governmental Organisations (CNGO) with a purpose of contributing towards strengthening and promoting peace, security and good governance in the region. This workshop was the first in the series of planned capacity building of NGOs on the electoral cycle.
The project was funded by GIZ – the German Development Cooperation under the theme of electoral support to SADC electoral institutions.The funding support covered accommodation, subsistence and travel for the participants and fees for facilitators.
The BRIDGE Electoral Observation modular course delivered over two days, was adapted to suit the needs of the participants on principles of electoral observation, application of norms, standards, principles and the assessment of observation missions and relationships of obervers with stakeholders focussing on and using SADC region case-studies.
The programme, like all other BRIDGE courses is based on the BRIDGE Election Administrator’s Training Curriculum which is a comprehensive training programme developed by International IDEA together with the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD), the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The peculiarity of BRIDGE in the field of electoral training lies in its comprehensiveness, the hands on nature of its content as well as its novel strategy of deploying adult learning techniques in the implementation of its modules.
The Southern African Development Community- Election Support Network (SADC ESN) is a regional network of 15 non- governmental organisations involved in the area of elections in the SADC region. Its mission is to promote democratic elections through networking of domestic observer groups. It aims to build the capacity of members in democracy, good governance and election observation to promote regional best practices, through mutual reinforcement and dialogue. SADC-ESN and SADC CNGO were hosted by one of its member organisations, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), in its capacity is the current secretariat and leading domestic observer group in the region. The workshop was made possible through GIZ Botswana funding committed to regional capacity building of institutions in peace, democracy and good governance.
Communication in preparation for the workshop the responsibilities were shared and coordinated by hosts organisations SADC-ESN AND SADC CNGO as well as GIZ Botswana. The course material was packaged from ZESN under the leadership of Rindai Chipfunde Vava an Accrediting BRIDGE Facilitator.Communication on the programme was home-based and concluded on arrival at the venue of the workshop in Pretoria a day before the commencement of the training. Due to the diversity of participants in the SADC region, the workshop was aided by Portuguese and French interpreters.
Three facilitators conducted the workshop:
Rindai Chipfunde-Vava ( Lead and Accrediting Facilitator)
Revai Makanje-Aalbaek (Workshop Facilitator) and
Tomsie P Dhlamini (Accrediting Facilitator)
Facilitators, two from Zimbabwe and one from South Africa, combined effectively to conduct the workshop. This was enhanced by the vast experience the team of facilitators have on hands-on election administration experience, demonstration of understanding of the legislative framework of the various countries represented from the region and serving on observer missions. The three facilitators worked together as a team to the admiration and commendation of the participants.