The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in cooperation with the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) hosted the "Sub-Regional Building Resources in Democracy, Governance & Elections (BRIDGE) Gender and Elections Module Workshop" for Countries in Northern Micronesia - 13 to 23 July, 2009 (Pohnpei, FSM).
As part of USAID funded program to support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), IFES Pakistan has conducted several BRIDGE workshops between June and August 2009.
Electoral system choice is a hot topic in Nepal as the Constituent Assembly is soon to decide upon a new electoral system and constitution. To assist with the debate three BRIDGE workshops were run on the topic of electoral systems in July. They were organized by International IDEA in collaboration with UNDP, IFES and the Nepal Electoral Commission.
Brian Latham (Lead and Accrediting Facilitator) and Gordon Marshall arrived in Timor Leste with short prior notice to deliver three workshops consecutively over an eight working day period. We arrived early on a Friday morning and spent a very busy Friday and weekend with Augusto Pereira and Pedro da Silva (translator) preparing for the first two workshops which were scheduled from Monday to Friday that following week.
We humans love to be first to do things. Bhutan is a unique country, which already has achieved its fair share of 'firsts', especially when it comes to its recent transition to become a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy.
Jakarta in Indonesia was the location for a recently held BRIDGE course on Electoral Dispute Resolution. Upcoming elections in Indonesia, scheduled for 9 April, meant that election fever across the country was heating up during the course preparations. Amidst daily newspaper headlines on the elections and campaign posters starting to decorate the capital, course preparations was in full swing by the time we arrived on the ground.
During the weekend of 14-15 February 2009, seventeen members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) participated in a BRIDGE Project showcase event organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The event was organized to introduce the BRIDGE Project to senior decision makers and management of the ECP and aimed at equipping participants with enough background to make an informed decision about whether this curriculum would be an appropriate professional development tool to be used by the ECP.
My fellow participant Coralie-Ann Bishoff Towgood and I from the Cook Islands attended BRIDGE “Train the Facilitator” (TTF) workshop which was co-sponsored by UNIFEM’s “Gender Equality to Political Governance in the Pacific: Stronger Women Citizens and Leaders” project..
A Media and Elections Module - BRIDGE regional workshop was identified by the USP Democracy and Electoral Studies Project to enhance capacity toward Working with Electoral Stakeholders.
This regional workshop was attended by 22 participants from Kiribati, Vanuatu,Solomon Islands, Fiji and UNDP. Majority of the participants were from Vanuatu. The workshop proper was held from Monday to Friday (midday), with a cultural tour conducted on Wednesday whereby participants had to identify cross cutting themes and report back the next day.
I attended the BRIDGE Civic Education module on Monday 29th - Thursday 2nd October 2008. It was a very useful experience because I learned a lot of new information about the methodologies, knowledge, skills and disposition to be developed or transferred or encouraged in a Civic Education program and a lot of grey areas, like the place of morals and values in a democracy were made clear. There were some strong opinions for and against spiritual development going along with or side by side with social, economic, cultural, technological and political development and it was fascinating to hear the various views and different ideological positions on this topic.
This is an AusAID funded BRIDGE conducted by the Electoral Studies section of the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Democracy and Governance (PIAS-DG) Southern Cross Hotel 29th Sept – 3rd October 2008. There were 33 participants attending from 6 countries across the Pacific including Fiji, Niue, Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The participants were a mixture of experienced election administrators and officials from other organizations and NGOs from the region and Staff from the UNDP Civic Education Project in Fiji
Another successful BRIDGE module has been completed in East Timor with the staff from Secretariado Técnico Administração Eleitoral (STAE). The training was conducted in Dili for the 13 STAE district coordinators and 14 STAE Dili staff from Monday 28 July to Thursday 31 July 08. On this occasion there were some new facilitators and speakers who added an invigorating flavour to the sessions.
An AusAID funded BRIDGE Train the Facilitator Course (TtF) was conducted by the Electoral Studies section of the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Democracy and Governance (PIAS-DG) at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in July 2008.
The Electoral Systems module of BRIDGE will be conducted for representatives attending the fifth PIANZEA (Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network) meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu. This course is funded under AusAID's Pacific Governance Support Program and will commence on April 19 at the close of the PIANZEA meeting.
Afghanistan continues to use BRIDGE to train electoral staff. The third and fourth sessions of the Election Preparation module was conducted during January and February in Kabul.
AIPRD/Logica-AusAID Program in collaboration with USAID-LGSP Local Election Project. This is the 2nd Phase of ABRIDGE in its assistance to the 5 villages of Lhoong Sub-District. Module 7 on Preparing for Election Event was chosen after a long discussion. The aim of the training was to encourage creative and critical thinking to equip the village election committee to see what are the aspects involving preparations for the event.
ABRIDGE Module 1 on EMB was conducted in the District of Lhoong, Aceh Besar Regent of Nangroe Aceh Darrusalam (NAD) for Phase 1 on June 10, 2006. The one day training was facilitated by AIPRD/Logica (Local Governance and Infrastructure for Communities in Aceh) - an AusAID funded project and conducted by an accredited BRIDGE facilitator contracted under LGSP (Local Governance Support Program), a AUSAID funded project.
During March 2006, logistics and integrity management training was conducted in Nanggroe Aceh Darrusalam (NAD) for KIP (Independent Electoral Commission) for Local Elections (Pilkada) in Indonesia. This training used BRIDGE.
LGSP-USAID ran a marathon training programme in the 2nd and 3rd week of March at Cakradonya Hotel in Banda Aceh. The programme was funded by JICA and managed by Forum LSM, while supervised and facilitated by LGSP-USAID and KIP.
The first BRIDGE course to reach the shores of New Zealand arrived in February 2006 where 18 participants and several facilitators from various Pacific countries came together for a week of the usual BRIDGE activities and social outings. Pacific countries represented included: New Zealand, Cook Islands, Nuie, Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu. There was also the welcome addition of a freelance election specialist who described himself as from Haiti/France/USA (now residing in New Zealand) – who added another international dimension apart from the Pacific contingency. The course provided an opportunity for the new Version 2 Introductory Module to be trialled, and for several of the participants who were semi-accredited at the June 2005 Fiji Train the Facilitator program to become fully accredited.
Press Releases - Fiji Government Online (www.fiji.gov.fj)
Workshop vital to election preparation - Naivalu
The 'Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections' (BRIDGE) workshop organised for Electoral Administrators and District Commissioners from through out the country is vital and of great importance said the Commissioner Northern Misieli Naivalu.