Significant steps – New facilitators in Bhutan

The Democratic Constitutional Monarchy of Bhutan took another important step forward in February 2012 with the completion of the inaugural BRIDGE Train the Facilitator workshop in Phuntsholing.

It was an exciting time as twenty Bhutanese participants from many different parts of Bhutan successfully completed the intensive two-week workshop and received their BRIDGE semi-accreditation as facilitators.  The participants were drawn from the Electoral Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Gewog Administration, the School Sector and civil society.  The successful completion of the TtF is a significant step towards building a core of BRIDGE facilitators in Bhutan.

The workshop was honoured to also have the presence of the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, Mr Sunil K. Gupta, who made a significant contribution to the workshop.  His participation was arranged under the Memorandum of Understanding which exists between the ECB and the Election Commission of India.

All participants had previously undertaken at least one BRIDGE module in Bhutan and were selected for their skills and experience as well as their enthusiasm for using the BRIDGE methodology to progress electoral training and democracy in Bhutan.

A motivated and proud group of TtF participants arrived on Monday 30 January in Phuntsholing ready to give serious commitment to the workshop. The development of participants’ confidence and skills over the two week workshop was outstanding and a credit to their enthusiasm and participation. Their evaluation comments reflected this personal growth and included:

“The learning acquired from the activities can be related to my day-to -day work in numerous ways – big or small.”  “This training enriched me to gain more confidence.  The different styles and methods of presentation in BRIDGE will help me implement practicalities at my working place.”  “Till date I have attended 5 BRIDGE training.  I would say that there was no such activity which was not useful.”  “Thank you for making us part of BRIDGE – I promise not to throw away the knowledge!”J  “Gender is interesting and useful as in my workplace the women are left isolated.  Therefore with this training I got an idea to attract more female participation in my community.”

The participants were particularly thrilled they would be the BRIDGE torchbearers in Bhutan and utilise these adult training techniques to help with training and awareness sessions that are planned in the lead up to the Bhutan 2013 Parliamentary Elections.   Their improvement in confidence and skills reflects really well on their continued role in BRIDGE and electoral training and awareness in Bhutan. 

The TtF facilitators were Cate Thompson, Expert Facilitator, AEC, Gordon Marshall, Workshop Facilitator AEC and Kinley, Workshop Facilitator, ECB.  It was very pleasing for KInley and Gordon to receive their full accreditation as BRIDGE Accrediting Facilitators. Two more significant steps – for Kinley in Bhutan – the first Accrediting Facilitator and for Gordon in Queensland – the first Accrediting Facilitator in Queensland.

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