Although they may involve practical tasks, most of the activities conducted in the initial phase of a project are research-related and, therefore, of an essentially theoretical nature. Their purpose is to define the framework within which training is going to take place. This chapter details the specific measures to be taken to ensure effective implementation of the actual workshops that will make up the bulk of the BRIDGE program.
The success of BRIDGE depends on the quality of the facilitators who deliver it. The program team should have already identified facilitators who may be available for the workshops, and facilitators should already be involved in the customisation process.
More information on the dynamics of a facilitation team can be found in 5. BRIDGE Facilitators, however this section looks at some of the logistical considerations implementers should take into account when preparing for a workshop.
BRIDGE is designed to develop capacity in an organisation, and once established, a BRIDGE program should be using local facilitators from within the client organisation, in which case their employment as a facilitator for a workshop will depend on the organisation’s own human resources conditions.
However, when bringing in external facilitators, particularly for organisations or countries that are just starting a BRIDGE program, there are other issues to consider.
Contracts and agreements
Upon recruitment, a facilitator may be asked to sign an agreement or contract.
The BRIDGE Office does not prescribe a fee for facilitators – this is a matter of negotiation between the facilitator and the implementing organisation, and will need to consider issues such as experience, skills and regional rates.
A convention usually followed for BRIDGE programs is that partially accredited facilitators are not remunerated for their time, until they achieve full accreditation in the field – the work completed is seen as pure professional development.
As stated in the budgeting section, travel and other allowances for facilitators should already be taken into account.
Where large projects employ several facilitators, it might also be worth having the program manager check when they are available for training and keep a list of possible dates. It is also wise, when large numbers of facilitators are involved in different workshops, to record the actual number of hours worked.
Facilitator preparation and coordination
When selecting facilitators to run workshops, it is essential that preparation time is factored in. A facilitator cannot be expected to turn up on the first day of the workshop and start from there – they will need at least several days beforehand to meet with the rest of the team (particularly where they do not know or work with each other) and establish and maintain the team dynamic. Team members will need to:
Where three or more facilitators are involved, close and effective communication is vital, and it may be appropriate to designate a program manager to coordinate and ensure such communication.
As a guide, you will need to calculate the appropriate number of preparation days for any given workshop. As a general guide, facilitators should have as many preparation days as there are days in the workshop. Things to consider when calculating preparation day numbers include:
Sufficient preparation time and effective communication within the team are vital to the quality and success of the workshop.
At this stage, program managers should already know who the module workshops are targeted to, but there are several things to consider when selecting, nominating, or requesting expressions of interest from participants for specific workshops.
A broad range of organisations and individuals can benefit from taking part in BRIDGE. Potential target groups of BRIDGE are:
Participant prerequisites and criteria
Participant group dynamics
While the choice of participants in a BRIDGE module workshop is likely to be made by the client organisation, the following suggestions could be offered to it:
Participant expectations and preparation
It is important that all participants, whether they have been selected by advertising for expressions of interest, or designated by their employer, are fully informed about what to expect from the workshops. A briefing (or a very detailed letter) serving that purpose should include:
It is also important to obtain information about what the individual participants do expect from the workshops. This enables a program and workshops to be fine-tuned to best meet their needs, address any misconceptions early, and also provide a basis for post-workshop evaluation, as responses can be compared before and after training.
More about dealing with participant expectations at the workshop itself is covered in the next chapter.
The following questions about BRIDGE could be asked of the participants.
The following questions about their organisation could be asked:
The following questions about the standards and principles underlying good electoral practice could be asked:
Questions should be tailored to the particulars of the workshop being envisaged.
Administration and logistics
Administration and logistics play a key role in the success of a program. Without adequate planning, poor logistics and administration can have a negative impact on the program.
It is recommended that an administrative assistant be employed for the duration of a workshop to record all material developed on the whiteboard, poster paper and overhead projector slides, and then create notes, summaries of activities, and statements of outcomes of workshops. Such notes or summaries could be photocopied and distributed (as well as archived) during the workshop. This frees the facilitators from these matters and allows them to concentrate on the workshop contents. The administrative assistant could also liaise between participants, facilitators and program organisers on any matters relating to the workshop management.
Liaison and communication between facilitators, and with participants
It is essential that facilitators meet not only before the workshop begins but also regularly while it is being conducted. Ideally, for familiarisation purposes, these meetings should take place at the venue where the workshop is going to be held. At such meetings, facilitators should go through the Facilitators Notes and all associated resources in detail, to check their accuracy. They should also at this time identify, collect and check all the training aids.
Facilitators, who are responsible for ensuring that all workshop arrangements are in place, should liaise with the personnel responsible for each of the support structures. Logistical problems (such as transportation and venue appropriateness) can be a major source of dissatisfaction if not dealt with appropriately.
Throughout the workshop, it is important that facilitators remain aware of the needs and expectations of participants. Problems should be dealt with promptly, before they become major issues.
Finetuning the agenda – a typical training day
A typical training day begins at 9.00 am (09:00) and ends at 4.00 pm (16:00) in the afternoon. Sessions are usually divided as follows:
|Time||Description of Session|
|8.30 am – 9.00 am||Registration (refreshments)|
|9.00 am – 10.30 am||Session (early morning)|
|10.30 am – 11.00 am||Break|
|11.00 am – 12.30 pm||Session (late morning)|
|12.30 pm – 1.30 pm||Break (lunch)|
|1.30 pm – 3.00 pm||Session (early afternoon)|
|3.00 pm – 3.15 pm||Break|
|3.15 pm – 4.00 pm||Session (late afternoon)|
Sessions are usually for one and a half hours’ duration – with longer sessions better scheduled in the morning (when attention spans are greater).
Optimal session length will be partly determined by: the complexity of the subject matter to be addressed; the skill levels and prior experience of the participants; and the information retention capacities of the participants. Sessions of longer than 5 or 6 hours in a single day will tax participant and facilitators’ energies and attention spans, and possibly lead to reduced effectiveness.
Facilitators also need to consider the needs of participants in terms of ‘time off’ from the standard agenda. For example, prayer times in some cultures require longer breaks. Similarly, in some countries it may prove necessary to provide for longer midday breaks to allow participants living far away from the venue sufficient time to walk home for lunch.
Facilitators will need to meet at the end of each day to assess and finetune the agenda.
Preparing workshop resources
The time necessary for the development and production of resources for workshops is often underestimated. All resources should be prepared according to a schedule, well in advance of the actual training. Facilitators should stay in close contact with the people organising collation and printing, to ensure the quality and accuracy of the resources.
Facilitators will usually need to produce two handbooks:
BRIDGE handbooks are usually composed of the following elements:
Copyright and acknowledgements
Depending on the extent of the modification from the original materials, the issue of property rights must be taken into account.
For any kind of customised BRIDGE programs, there must be a clear acknowledgement of the BRIDGE partners. The correct and appropriate use of logos of BRIDGE partners, clients and donors must be ensured. In addition, to inspire a sense of ownership amongst contributors, the inclusion of institutional logos and names of individual contributors often has the benefit of giving more weight and authority to the materials.
BRIDGE partners have specific rules surrounding the use of their logos. The correct logos for AEC, BRIDGE, IDEA, IFES, UNEAD and UNDP are available for downloading from the BRIDGE website. Also, donor organisations would have to be consulted regarding the appropriate use of their logos.
Care must be taken to ensure that the ‘hierarchy’ of acknowledgements is correct. If donor A were to sponsor the development of a module (or its translation) and Donor B were to fund the presentation of the program in a particular country, credit may be conferred as ‘Program funded by Donor B, based on curriculum development funded by Donor A’.
Titles of materials and programs should reflect the reality of the situation. If the material draws largely on BRIDGE, then the latter’s name should be used. If it is extensively adapted to suit local circumstances, then a new name appears appropriate – with due acknowledgement of the original material within the text.
Covers should equally reflect the reality of the project, with logos included accordingly. For example, a typical cover could include the following text:
‘A workshop for election administrators in [here insert name of country], based on BRIDGE materials developed by the AEC, IDEA, IFES, UNEAD and UNDP, funded by [here insert name of funding agency], implemented by [here insert name of implementing agency]’.
While this may seem cumbersome, the inclusion of adequate recognition is part of credibility building for the program and materials, as well as an important part of building a constituency of support for BRIDGE as a whole.
The following copyright and disclaimer notice should appear in all BRIDGE workshop materials, including any amended or customised version:
Copyright: 2008 (Version 2 – 2008)
Copyright: The BRIDGE partners believe that the open and free exchange of information is critical in promoting democratic elections. However, BRIDGE is a program designed to be conducted by accredited BRIDGE Project facilitators only. For this reason, no BRIDGE Project materials may be used or reproduced in any form or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in the material, or for non – commercial, education purposes.
Disclaimer: While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of BRIDGE materials, the project partners assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information of instructions contained herein.
Copyright Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright, but in some cases this has not been possible. The BRIDGE partners welcome any information that would redress this situation.
BRIDGE contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. The material is being made available for purposes of education and discussion in order to better understand the complex role of electoral administration in today’s world.
We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in relevant national laws. The material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this project for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Assembling the workshop handbooks
It is important for facilitators to be familiar with the structure of the workshop handbooks, not only for use before and during the workshop itself, but so that they can easily collate a handbook, either as a master copy for printer reference (see the section on ‘Commercial printing’ below), or if the handbooks are being produced in-house.
These instructions are designed to explain the process of putting together the Facilitators and Participants Handbooks, and also to prepare other workshop resources. Refer to the Facilitation Manual for a quick reference of terms.
As a facilitator, you should have the Facilitators Handbook for the module(s) you are conducting. This should contain:
Facilitators would also have with their folder:
Every participant receives a Participants Handbook, which contains all of the Participants Notes (PN) documents they will refer to during the workshop.
Facilitators need to be aware of which activities they plan to run (or are thinking of running, to give them flexibility) to work out which PN documents they will need to include in the Participants Handbook.
Facilitators should decide the most appropriate way of ordering and dividing the PN documents in the handbook, for ease of reference for participants as documents do not have page numbers (owing to the fact that any combination of documents may be used in any workshop). It may be a chronological order is the most convenient or a numbered order (and chronological order may not always be the same as numerical order, depending on how the workshop has been customised). If using a chronological order, facilitators should keep in mind that a planned agenda does not always go to plan and activities are often run in an unexpected order.
It is critical that documents are collated in an order that will make sense to participants as this will minimise frustration and save time during activities.
Additionally, when directing participants to documents, remember to refer not only to the title, but the number of each one, e.g. Intro.1.6 Key Understandings – Introduction Module – PN.
Follow the same steps as for the Facilitators Handbook for printing and collation.
How to create a master copy of the handbooks
Step 1 = The activities you are going to run should have been worked out during the customisation and preparation phases prior to this point. Consult the Facilitators Notes to find out which documents are needed for each activity.
Step 2 = If you do not already have copies of the curriculum resources (e.g. from the program team or from the DVD they would have received when they did their TtF), download the relevant documents from the BRIDGE website.
Step 3 = Print out all documents relating to the activities you plan to run. BRIDGE documents are designed to be easily printed in black and white, double-sided.
Step 4 = Order the documents according to the type of handbook (i.e. by document type for Facilitators Handbooks, and by either numerical or chronological order for Participants Handbooks).
Step 5 = Drill or punch holes into the documents to match the type of binder you are using.
Step 6 = Create dividers, one for each document type, and organise the collated documents behind the relevant divider.
Step 7 = Create and print out covers and spines for the binders (if they are insert binders). Templates for BRIDGE module covers and spines can be found on the BRIDGE website. To be edited they require Adobe InDesign.
Step 8 = Assemble the handbooks by putting the collated documents into the binders, and inserting the covers and spines.
Even if you are not collating the handbooks yourself, it is important to know how to do it, and often, you will need to collate at least one handbook for the printers or whoever is doing the collating to have a reference copy.
How to prepare other workshop resources
Refer to the Facilitators Notes for the module(s) you are running and make copies of all of the handout (HO) documents that you plan to use during the workshop.
Most handouts should be copied so that there is one for each participant, although there are some which might require more copies. For example, the Evaluation Sheet which is distributed at the end of each day will need to be copied to allow each participant one copy for as many days as the workshop runs.
Participants will usually want to file these handouts in the Participants Handbooks, so it is useful to hole – punch them in advance, or provide a hole puncher during the workshop.
Facilitators Resources come in many forms, but you may have to do one or several of the following, depending on the kind. Refer to the Facilitators Notes for guidance:
OHPs can be used in various ways:
Participants may request copies of OHPs, particularly if they are substantial. Most of the more complex OHPs are also PNs – check your Facilitators Notes to see if this is the case (these documents are listed in the FNs as ‘OHP and PN’) and direct the participant to their handbook. If the OHP is not already a PN, but you think participants may want a copy, you might like to make copies for each participant anyway.
While it is possible for facilitators and implementers to copy and collate the resources for a workshop, it is much easier, if possible, to employ a printer or copy company to do this task. Where feasible, printing should be carried out locally.
Once a printer has been selected, the simplest way to commence the job is to create and collate one example of each handbook you want reproduced, for the printer to use as a master copy and reference.
When arranging the print run, facilitators should discuss the following elements with the printers when getting quotes to save time and money:
The program team should also ensure:
Stationery and equipment
Each module contains a Facilitators Resource (FR) document that lists possible stationery needs for running the workshop. Stationery and equipment needs will be dictated by the kind of activities chosen, but some commonly used items include a whiteboard or blackboard, poster paper, markers and a projector (data or overhead).
Facilitators should also have a contingency plan in case resources they have requested or need are not available, or equipment breaks down. For example, extra poster paper if there is no projector.
The credibility of the program is dependent not only upon the successful facilitation of the workshop itself but also on the timely distribution of materials created during the workshop.
Workshop venue – the ideal training environment
The physical environment in which training is conducted can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the training.
A venue for conducting a BRIDGE Project should ideally contain the following:
Consideration should also be given to the following:
Setting up the room
There are many ways you can arrange the furniture and equipment. The following are three possible arrangements for setting up the furniture in a training room.
The learning environment must by physically and psychologically comfortable.
Appropriate catering and venue choice can ‘make or break’ a training workshop. If participants are to appreciate the training, they must feel that their needs are taken into consideration. Strategically planned breaks can help participants retain concentration, and allow facilitators to rest between sessions.
In the planning stage, it is essential to be specific when negotiating the menu, the quality and quantity of tea, coffee and snacks. The caterers must be clearly told exactly what is wanted and at what time the food or refreshments should be served. The designated administrative support person should ensure that agreed menus and times are adhered to.
It is vital to check whether participants have any special dietary requirements before confirming a menu, such as halal, kosher or vegetarian diets, or allergies. If it is not possible to check, an effort should be made to ensure that all likely requirements are covered.
Keep in mind cultural requirements as well, such as providing rice-based meals for those who would normally expect to eat rice at every meal.
Morning and afternoon tea or coffee
Ideally, arrange for tea and coffee to be available at the beginning of the day for participants who arrive early. If possible, tea and coffee should be available throughout the training day for flexibility in the timing of breaks and continued access to refreshment.
Water should also be available throughout the day, preferably with bottles or jugs of water on each table.
If the caterers are not able to be flexible in their timing, try to ensure that morning and afternoon tea are scheduled a little early (e.g. if the plan is to have morning tea at 10:30, ask for it to be ready at 10:15) rather than late, in case a session finishes early.
If morning and afternoon tea, as well as lunch are provided, afternoon tea should be very light as participants have usually eaten enough by this point.
Transport and travel
Appropriate transport may need to be arranged for facilitators and participants, and anyone else attending the workshop, such as observers or guest speakers.
It is important to know who will be paying for any travel, and what reasonable costs should be covered by the funder. It is vital that this is clearly communicated to all attendees and they are clear on what costs are being covered by the organisers, and what are to be covered by themselves or their home organisations.
Things to consider include:
As with transport, accommodation may also be required for workshop attendees. Ideally, if possible, consider finding a venue where people can stay in the same place the workshop is being held, e.g. a hotel with conference facilities, or a conference venue that is next door or in close proximity to a suitable hotel. It may be possible to obtain a discount for booking a conference/accommodation package. As well as being convenient, having this arrangement saves travel time and costs, and offers the possible added advantage of using guest rooms as ‘break out’ or preparation rooms.
Accommodation should also be central and allow attendees to easily access shops, restaurants, etc.
As with transport, it is essential to ensure that all attendees are clear on what is being provided and what is at their own expense. For example, the room cost only may be provided, but attendees would be expected to cover any extras, such as meals, telephone calls, minibar.
Things to consider with accommodation include:
It is essential to decide whether and to what extent any allowance needs to be paid to participants in the workshop. It is always best to base daily subsistence allowances (DSA) or per diem rates on the standards applied within the participants’ organisation. Often governments have official rates that can be checked and used as a benchmark. While it is important to recognise that participants who are away from home incur costs, it is not sustainable to pay extravagant per diem rates. The distribution of per diem is best handled by the administrative assistant and not by the facilitators.
Working in an international environment, or bringing in external facilitators, may require the use of interpreters. Professional interpreters would be the preferred option, and they should be well-briefed on the general topics of the workshop, terminology and unfamiliar concepts, the expected audience, and also on the program objectives, so they have a good understanding of the workshop they are working in.
When professional interpreters – the preferred option – are not available, the person asked to replace them should have the following qualities (which also of course apply for professional interpreters as well):
Interpreters as part of the customisation and facilitation team
Ideally the Interpreter should be a part of the customisation and facilitation team as early as possible. This will allow them to make valuable contributions in the structure and content of the workshop and gain greater knowledge about the subject matter and methodology of the BRIDGE workshop.