In the framework of its annual work plan, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of São Tomé e Principe organized a BRIDGE workshop on Strategic, Operational and Financial Planning. This workshop was conducted with the technical and financial support of the Project in Support of the Electoral Cycles of the Portuguese Speaking African Countries and Timor-Leste (PRO PALOP TL).
During three days BRIDGE semi-accredited facilitators customized the module on Strategic, operational and financial planning through a 3-days (24-26 September 2012) curriculum development workshop. The curriculum development allowed the facilitators to prepare the facilitators’ note and all resources that were presented in the 5-days (27 September/ 02 October 2012) BRIDGE workshop on strategic planning and finance.
In their evaluations, the participants expressed their overall satisfaction with the course and emphasized the need for more BRIDGE training also targeting civil society organizations and domestic electoral observation and civic education.
Hélio Nazaré and Henane Viegas, electoral officials from National Elections Commission (NEC), Lurdes Maria Santos and Mariam Rita Fawole staff from relevant local CSO facilitated the workshops and were fully accredited by Ricardo Godinho Gomes, accrediting BRIDGE Facilitator and manager of Pro PALOP-TL. These facilitators were supported by José Malam Jassi and Elsa Monteverde, both being BRIDGE workshop facilitators.
The customization of the module allowed participants to discuss in-depth the planning of local elections, foreseen for 2013. Main challenges for the operational planning, such as funding gaps, voters register update and upgrade, training of registration and polling staff were addressed. The facilitators used in full length and very efficiently BRIDGE facilitation techniques to foster participative discussions and exercises. Icebreakers and Energizers kept participants engaged and interested along the days. Topics were assertive and targeting quite well the needs and the workshop aim.
In the end of the workshop, a draft strategic plan was outlined by participants and sustainability of São Tomé e Principe EMB and electoral system was its core. An operational plan aiming to align the steps towards the organization of local elections was also agreed among the participants. These outputs were delivered to the NEC.
For more info on the BRIDGE strategy of the PRO PALOP TL see @ https://www.bridge-project.org/news/africa/916-bridge-and-the-portuguese-speaking-countries-in-africa-and-timor-leste. For more info on the PRO PALOP TL, see @ www.propaplop-tl.org
Article by Ricardo Godinho Gomes, BRIDGE Accrediting Facilitator, Electoral Assistance Specialist, Manager of the Pro PALOP-TL.