A four day workshop of the foundation module Strategic and Financial Planning was held in Fiji from 23 to 26 February 2009.

There were 18 attendees at the workshop, 9 from Fiji and the other 9 from 6 other Pacific countries who form part of the PIANZEA network of electoral administrators. The workshop was coordinated by the University of South Pacific (USP) and funded by AusAID.

During the workshop two new facilitators, Seini Reiko from the Fiji Public Service Commission and Raijieli Bulatele of USP gained their full accreditation as Workshop Facilitators, strengthening the pool of facilitators in the Pacific.

Cate Thompson and Stuart Fraser, both from Australia, also co-facilitated the workshop.

The four days culminated in the presentation of different versions of Strategic Planning for the fictitious country of Pasifika.

The presentations not only included examples of goals and objectives for the country but incorporated financial plans, contingency plans and stakeholder analysis in consideration of a communication strategy for the emerging Electoral Management Body.

There was a strong emphasis throughout the workshop on ‘evaluation’ – especially on learning to focus on evaluation baselines and measuring tools at the beginning of planning and not just at the end.

Along the way participants had discussed the connectivity of various layers of planning necessary in an organisation under the umbrella of a strategic plan. They learnt the necessity of climbing the staircase to get the strategic view (away from the day to day operational view) that gives the big picture necessary to consider strategic planning.

In true BRIDGE style, lessons were practical and fun with one of the highlights was an icebreaker where all participants and facilitators took part in a display of various local and traditional dancing, much to the amusement of all.

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