Report on the BRIDGE Workshop July 2008, Egypt

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Participants on the BRIDGE Course

Project Objectives

This joint project between UNDP Egypt and NCHR will be implemented over a period of one year with the following outputs and activities:

a) Strengthening election monitoring unit at the NCHR

  • Training for NCHR monitoring unit staff on 2 BRIDGE modules.
  • Training for NCHR-registered field observers in Sohag.
  • Workshops to establish criteria for enrolling election monitoring NGOs.
  • Develop a data base of (a) NGOs eligible to monitor elections (b) NCHR-registered field observers.

b) Develop appropriate course structures and appropriate adaptations of BRIDGE course materials for various stakeholder groups, and sign protocols for their participation. Deliver BRIDGE training to:-

  • High Elections Commissioners and staff;
  • Judges & Ministry of Interior;
  • Media and journalists;
  • Training for 20-24 persons to become Bridge Facilitators;
  • Summarize evaluation reports from each session and prepare final evaluation report.

C)   Develop election-related documents for NCHR to disseminate:

  • Election processes (New Egyptian system and other countries for comparison).
  • How to conduct free and fair elections.
  • How to report elections fairly.
  • Voting and vote counting under Egyptian and international standards
  • Simple pamphlet on Electoral Rights for the general public.

The first BRIDGE training workshop within the project was held from June 29 till July 03, 2008 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Giza. The training course was designed to cover three main topics.

  • Election Management
  • Electoral Systems
  • Voter Information

3.        The Training Topics and Workshop Agenda: The training workshop followed an ‘ABRIDGE’ model of 5-day training workshop. The training topics were carefully chosen with special attention to Egypt specific context. DAY 1:  
Introduction and Election Management DAYS 2 & 3:
Electoral Systems, the choices and their consequences with some comparative experiences especially from the region i.e. Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan. Quota and the principle of representation and electoral reform.DAYS 4 & 5:
Principles of voter Information, different strategies, and issues to consider in voter information process. 4.        Choosing and Producing The Training Materials: BRIDGE version 2 curriculum consists of 23 modules. The Arabic translation process of these modules is in ongoing and will be concluded hopefully by the end of 2008. For that reason, a combination of version 1 (already translated) and version 2 materials was used in this training. In addition to these materials, the facilitators produced new materials for new activities as well as new background materials covering some of the course topics. The materials in the participants’ folders were supplemented most effectively with copies of:

  • The Egyptian Constitution,
  • Electoral Law of Egypt,
  • UN human rights and elections document,
  • IDEA’s study: “Building Democracy in Egypt”,
  • Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) Voter’s guide for Parliamentary Elections 2005,
  • IMPACS guide: Media + Elections

Other valuable resources and references made available to the participants included IDEA handbooks on “Electoral Systems Design” and “Designing for Equity” in Arabic.

5.        The participants: Nineteen participants representing different elections stakeholders participated in the 5 day training course.The selection of participants was tasked to NCHR who agreed on a set of criteria and identified the following target groups:

  1. Ministry of Justice
  2. Ministry of local development
  3. People’s Assembly and Shura Council
  4. State Information Service
  5. National Council for Human Rights
  6. Media outlets
  7. Civil Society organizations
  8. IFES

Seven of the nineteen participants were women.

6.        The Facilitation Team: Four facilitators participated in the workshop:

  1. Emad Yousef – Consultant
  2. Ossama Kamel – IFES
  3. Hermann Thiel – IFES
  4. Yvonne Goudie – AEC

All the team members are international facilitators and provided a good mix of local, regional and international experiences and comparative knowledge.  7.         Conclusions: Daily and final workshop evaluations were extremely positive. It was mentioned by many participants that this training was at a high level and outstanding. Among other things they appreciated were the training methodology, facilitation style and skills, and creating an environment of dialogue and experience sharing especially in a comparative context. The following are some excerpts from the participants’ final evaluation of the workshop:

  • "New  and effective information"
  • "The training course was comprehensive"
  • "I learnt a lot about electoral systems in the Arab countries"
  • "This training should be delivered to all elections stakeholders in Egypt"
  • "Advanced training techniques made it easier to understand the presented material"
  • "I wish to attend more workshops like this one"
  • "I learnt how to separate politics from technical issues in elections"

 

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