The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission in conjunction with the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) project organised a BRIDGE module on to Electoral Administration course on 3-8 December 2012 in Abuja, Nigeria. The DGD project is a basket fund initiative that brings together the EU, DFID, CIDA and the UNDP to deepen democratic practise in Nigeria under the management of UNDP. One of the key components of the project includes strengthening the Electoral Management Body by developing its capacity or effective management of the electoral process.
A five-day training workshop was designed and customised to suit the needs of Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission. Participants were taken through an intensive programme including context of elections in a global context; legal framework, electoral systems, civic education and voter information, electoral stakeholder relationships and co-operation, access to electoral systems, planning, gender and elections, voter registration, polling, counting and Results, electoral dispute resolution, delimitation and sustainability of the EMB.
Various activities were carefully selected from the Introduction to Electoral Administration and other Modules. The facilitators ensured that the topics included the gender dimension as a cross cutting theme and emphasis was made on other cross-cutting themes such as whenever it was necessary to do so. Upon successful completion of the course, the participants received Certificates of Completion.
In order to strengthen the EMB and to build capacity of the staff especially those who recently joined the Commission and as part of Commission’s training strategy; BRIDGE was identified IDEA as the best resource in terms of the methodology and course content that meets the Commission’s needs and expectations. UNDP and the partner donors are one the major players in democracy development and continue to execute the development strategies through various interventions that include facilitating consultative forums and funding training and dialogues with different stakeholders including the EMBs, Political Parties, Government and Civil Society. The UN and EU also deploy observer missions to various countries.
This BRIDGE course is part of the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) Project which is an electoral cycle (April 2010-April 2015) joint donor funded project managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria. The project is funded with contributions from the European Commission (EC), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).
The objectives of the project are to strengthen the democratic character of Nigerian political processes; and promote outcomes that consolidate and advance democratic governance and accountability to achieve Nigeria’s stated development priorities and goals.
This BRIDGE workshop was initiated by the DGD project, with a pool of BRIDGE trainers from the Independent National Electoral Commission, the UNDP and an international accrediting BRIDGE facilitator. All participants were from the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission
The objective of the BRIDGE Introduction to Electoral Management course was to provide capacity development as part of an induction process for all Commissioners and Heads of departments and staff. The workshop was also graced by the attendance of the Chairperson Dr Olugbrenga Ige and six of the seven Commissioners. The chairman and the commissioners in attendance received a certificate of participation at the end of the event. Their presence and contributions were tremendously valuable and much appreciated.
The DGD project provided funding for the project including accommodation and subsistence and travel for the participants and covered travel expenses and also provided consultancy fees for the International facilitator.
Five BRIDGE facilitators participated in the delivery of the course. The facilitators exhibited a good combination of professional experience and diverse background and expertise. Presentations were selected and conducted accordingly with only minor changes.
The facilitation team provided a positive environment and established a very good professional relationship with the participants and the positive spirit was maintained throughout the programme.
31 participants (29 males and 2 females) participated in the workshop.
The experience, content knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by all participants throughout the workshop contributed to the achievement of the aims of the training. The mixture of different organisational experiences and expertise contributed to the success of the workshop. Participants exchanged information, experiences and practices among themselves and with the facilitators. The positive team spirit amongst the participants and facilitators assisted everyone to participate and perform at the best of their ability. The participants could not articulate enough how impressed they were with the uniqueness and flexibility of the BRIDGE curriculum and methodology and how useful it will be in assisting them in executing their duties. The course commenced with an opening and welcome address by UNDP representative Mr Bodunrin Adebo –UNDP election expert and the Chairman of the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission Dr Olugbenga Ige and followed by a welcome note from the International facilitator Rindai Chipfunde Vava who represented BRIDGE. Subsequently the programme commenced with on the background of BRIDGE, the teaching methodology behind it and the Key Understandings and Learning Outcomes of the course.
Various techniques, including group Work; mini lectures and case Studies were applied to deliver the BRIDGE content. Throughout the programme participants and facilitators conducted icebreakers and energizers in order to establish rapport among the participants and to rejuvenate the mind and body. During the first day of the course, participants developed their own code of conduct, which is not only an exercise in team building, but also another approach to working with adults and a way of constructing accepted behaviours for the rest of the five-day programme.
The activities of the last day included the completion of the End of Course Evaluation Form; Reflection of the days; the Certificate Ceremony and Closing session. All participants expressed the need to implement BRIDGE strategies in the future in order to build capacity in their respective contexts, strengthen the organisation and establish relationships with all other stakeholders in the political and electoral fields.
On the 4th day one of the Honourable respected Senators of Ondo State paid a courtesy visit to the workshop.
The workshop ended on day five with a certificate ceremony and the official closing of the programme by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Dr Olugbenga Ige.