BRIDGE Facilitators

August 18, 2009

Focus On: Progression in Facilitator Accreditation and Categories

In the early stages of BRIDGE, and leading up to the launch of Version 2 and the new Implementation Manual, the facilitator accreditation and progression process was necessarily flexible to build up facilitator numbers and consolidate the program. However, BRIDGE is now well-established. Facilitators and potential facilitators need clear guidelines to operate within.  Facilitator categories Facilitator categories have been designed to clarify what each facilitator can do, and has experience in doing in the various stages of a BRIDGE program. Each category of accredited facilitator reflects a key skill set, each of which plays a valuable role in any BRIDGE program. Workshop Facilitators focus on the main element of a BRIDGE program – the module workshops. They possess (or are in the process of developing) strong customisation and facilitation skills. Accrediting Facilitators are experienced in workshop facilitation, but also have an understanding of how to accredit and mentor less experienced facilitators.  They are essential to capacity development in a BRIDGE program. Expert Facilitators focus on not only facilitation of the different components of a BRIDGE program, but they are also involved in broader aspects of BRIDGE implementation. There is a fourth category to cover potential, unaccredited facilitators: Semi-accredited Facilitators have the basic skills and knowledge to facilitate BRIDGE as learned in the TtF workshop, but do not yet have the experience in the field. Refer to: 8.7 Annex 7: Summary of Facilitator Categories for a breakdown of each category and their responsibilities and 8.8 Annex 8: Criteria for Progression – Facilitator Categories for the criteria required to be considered in each category.   Facilitator progression While there is a progression from one category to another, this progression is not necessarily guaranteed, nor needed. Indeed, some facilitators will find their own skills and experience lend themselves to one category more than another. Those with strong customisation and facilitation skills who want to focus on workshop facilitation are best suited to the Workshop Facilitator category. Those with strengths in mentoring and education will be excellent Accreditation Facilitators. Those who wish to become more broadly involved in BRIDGE implementation and have the skills and experience to successfully do this are sought as Expert Facilitators. All BRIDGE facilitators begin in the Semi-accredited Facilitator category, which is achieved by successfully completing a TtF workshop and attending a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant. Semi-accredited facilitators are not accredited as BRIDGE facilitators, but will have gained from the TtF workshop the basic skills and knowledge to deliver the BRIDGE curriculum using the BRIDGE methodology. What they will lack is BRIDGE experience, and they can gain this by becoming involved in customising, preparing and facilitating BRIDGE module workshops in the field under the supervision of more experienced facilitators. This step is vital to giving potential facilitators a solid foundation in facilitating BRIDGE, and the support they need. Once a Semi-accredited Facilitator has gained sufficient experience and has achieved the TtF Learning Outcomes to a satisfactory level in the field, they progress to the Workshop Facilitation category, and should they choose to take on other BRIDGE responsibilities, and have the skills to do so, they may want to consider progressing to either Accrediting or Expert Facilitator categories. Process for accreditation and progression Refer to: 8.8 Annex 8: Criteria for Progression – Facilitator Categories to see the criteria mentioned for each category   Becoming a Semi-accredited Facilitator There are two steps to becoming a Semi-accredited Facilitator – attend a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant to experience the BRIDGE methodology and content, and if then interested in becoming a BRIDGE facilitator, attend a TtF workshop. Participants must attend the entire TtF workshop and participate fully in all activities, including the delivery of two BRIDGE activities themselves, and the customisation/writing of one activity. At the end of the workshop, the TtF facilitators will assess whether each participant has fulfilled the criteria to be considered Semi-accredited Facilitators, and will offer each participant verbal feedback. A TtF workshop is always run by a lead Accrediting or Expert Facilitator who is responsible for deciding whether or not each participant qualifies as a Semi-accredited Facilitator, with support from their co-facilitators who may be other Accrediting or Expert Facilitators, or very experienced Workshop Facilitators. The lead facilitator is also responsible for informing the BRIDGE Office who has become a Semi-accredited Facilitator, including an assessment of how ready each participant is to be accredited as a Workshop Facilitator once they have had the opportunity to gain field experience. The BRIDGE Office then updates its databases to reflect the new Semi-accredited Facilitators. New Semi-accredited Facilitators will receive a certificate at the TtF and should register to the BRIDGE website where they will be given facilitator access to the BRIDGE curriculum, newsletters and discussion forums. Becoming a Workshop Facilitator Semi-accredited Facilitators are ready to plan and facilitate modules under the supervision of accredited facilitators. Some facilitators will be advanced enough to be accredited at their first workshop, but others will require several workshops to complete their accreditation. It is possible for Semi-accredited Facilitators to work with Workshop Facilitators to gain supported experience, but they will need to work with an Accrediting or Expert Facilitator to be formally accredited. Semi-accredited Facilitators are also able to use the BRIDGE curriculum unsupervised, in which case their workshops would not be BRIDGE, however this is not recommended as the support and mentoring that comes from working with a supervising facilitator are important to successful development of facilitation skills and capacity development. A Semi-accredited Facilitator must be involved in not only the preparation and delivery of a workshop module, but also the customisation process, in order for the accrediting facilitator to be able to assess them against the criteria for accreditation. The minimum number of hours of planning and facilitation to be completed for assessment is 30 hours, which may be achieved in one workshop or over several. A Semi-accredited Facilitator may also feel they need more than 30 hours. The 30 hour minimum must be of engaged planning and facilitation – for example, if somebody else is running an activity, and a facilitator is sitting in the back of the room and not paying attention, but doing non-relevant work or resting, this would not count as engaged facilitation. However, if they were listening, supporting the person running the activity, helping participants when required etc., then although they themselves are not running the activity, they are still actively facilitating. If the Semi-accredited Facilitator fulfils the criteria, the Accrediting or Expert Facilitator is responsible for informing the BRIDGE Office that they have progressed to become a Workshop Facilitator. New Workshop Facilitators are ready to lead BRIDGE module workshops themselves, but it is always recommended that less experienced facilitators work with more experienced facilitators who can mentor and support them. A newly accredited facilitator should get as much experience facilitating module workshops as possible, and should not facilitate other kinds of BRIDGE workshops until their facilitation skills are well established. A Workshop Facilitator may choose to focus on workshop facilitation only and the most experienced Workshop Facilitators are extremely valuable to any BRIDGE program. Alternatively, a Workshop Facilitator may want to take on broader BRIDGE responsibilities once they have gained sufficient experience in the customisation and facilitation phases, and in this case should consider becoming an Accrediting Facilitator. Becoming an Accrediting Facilitator Workshop Facilitators who have made the decision to become Accrediting Facilitators should begin by taking responsibility for mentoring facilitators with less experience, and being mentored themselves in the accreditation process by Accrediting or Expert Facilitators. They should already be doing tasks such as liaising with the BRIDGE Office and submitting reports and data relating to the workshops they facilitate. In addition to this, they must be experienced, with a minimum of 150 hours engaged customisation, preparation and facilitation of BRIDGE workshops, at least 75% of which are module workshops, required for progression from Workshop Facilitator. However, some facilitators may want to increase their experience as a Workshop Facilitator before they feel ready to progress. If a facilitator feels they qualify to become an Accrediting Facilitator, they need to submit an application to the BRIDGE Office using the relevant application form, outlining their experience and workshops facilitated. They also require a reference from an Accrediting or Expert Facilitator they have worked with who is able to assess whether or not the facilitator meets the criteria to progress. The BRIDGE Office will verify the information provided and submit the facilitator’s name to the BRIDGE partners for approval, and if successful, they will be updated on the BRIDGE database as Accrediting Facilitators. An Accrediting Facilitator then focuses on more of a mentoring and accrediting role as well as customisation and facilitation. This category of facilitator is crucial to capacity development within a BRIDGE program. However, if an Accrediting Facilitator wishes to be involved in broader program responsibilities, such as needs assessment and evaluation tasks; they should consider progression to Expert Facilitator. Becoming an Expert Facilitator As before, not all facilitators will want to become Expert Facilitators or will have the skills to do so. However, there are some facilitators who build up vast experience in BRIDGE facilitation and become involved in implementing BRIDGE at a much deeper level. Their role is critical to BRIDGE as a whole as well as to individual programs. To become an Expert Facilitator, an Accrediting Facilitator must be mentored in other implementation tasks such as needs assessments and scoping missions, and looking at a BRIDGE program more holistically than just the workshop components. In addition to this, they must be experienced, with a minimum of 300 hours engaged customisation, preparation and facilitation of BRIDGE workshops, at least 50% of which are module workshops, required for progression from Workshop Facilitator.  Again, some facilitators may want to increase their experience as an Accrediting Facilitator before they feel ready to progress. Once they feel they have fulfilled the criteria and are confident that they could operate as an Expert Facilitator, they must submit the relevant application form to the BRIDGE Office, including a full outline of their BRIDGE experience, how they meet each criteria, and provide a reference and recommendation for advancement from an Expert Facilitator. The BRIDGE Office in turn will verify their application and submit their name to the BRIDGE partners for approval to progress. On approval, their records are updated and their name included in the Expert Facilitator pool.  Expert Facilitators are often called on by new BRIDGE programs to accredit and […]
August 18, 2009

Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop

This workshop, which is integral to BRIDGE, uses a ‘train the trainer’ model. The 10-day workshop is designed to give potential BRIDGE facilitators practical skills and knowledge about BRIDGE modules and workshops. The aims and objectives of the TtF workshop are: Aim: To provide experience of BRIDGE materials and methodology to potential BRIDGE facilitators. Objectives: To train selected trainees in existing content and content development and methodology of BRIDGE To provide the trainees with supported experience in conducting BRIDGE facilitation To provide trainees with the opportunity to modify existing and develop new BRIDGE materials To provide a mechanism for assessing the trainees’ capacity to facilitate BRIDGE module workshops and activities to the required standard National TtF workshops are conducted in the country where a sizeable BRIDGE program is planned (where a corps of facilitators would need to be employed). International TtF workshops are conducted on at least an annual basis, in different regions of the world where there is BRIDGE interest or programs underway. The TtF workshop targets experienced trainers, preferably with a background in curriculum development and elections. Trainees should have been a participant in a BRIDGE module workshop before the TtF workshop. In addition to meeting these criteria, trainees will ideally have a solid grounding in the methodologies and approaches of BRIDGE and capacity development. For International TtFs, facilitators should be selected who have demonstrated an ability to work in a cross-cultural environment. A TtF should always be considered as part of a wider BRIDGE plan, and not an ends in itself. Within a TtF workshop the emphasis put on facilitation aspects or electoral aspects will vary with the groups being targeted. For example, if dealing with a group of trainees already used to participative training techniques but new to the field of election management, facilitators will need to focus on the content of the workshop materials. If working with a group of experienced electoral managers who are unfamiliar with BRIDGE – type training methodology, priority will have to be given to explaining and demonstrating BRIDGE training tools. Participants Participant selection is of utmost importance in a TtF, both for the success of the workshop and the sustainability of the wider project. Participants who have the right skills and interests will not only enrich the TtF itself, but of course produce a higher quality result in the overall BRIDGE plan as modules will be facilitated well, received better, and therefore have greater effect. It is important to make clear what a TtF is – a common misconception is that a TtF is like a normal BRIDGE module and will provide the participant with electoral knowledge. The point should be made that a TtF is essentially a Train the Trainer workshop with the aim of teaching facilitation skills, not electoral knowledge. There is an inherent risk in a TtF for it to be seen as a ‘better’ or ‘more important’ workshop than the standard BRIDGE modules, and therefore for people to want to complete it for the wrong reasons. This is not the case, as a TtF is not a higher level workshop than the standard modules, but rather a workshop with a very different objective. Ideal participants for a TtF are rarely those in senior positions, but rather those with a training role in their organisation who are likely to be released when necessary. Selection criteria for TtF participation include: Training background (essential). Does this person have the base skills to become a facilitator? It is also highly desirable that at least some of the person’s training experience include the use of interactive methodology. Strategic availability (essential). Once trained, will this person be available to conduct training, e.g. if they are employed by an electoral or other body, will there be opportunities for their release to facilitate? Is their employer supportive of their role as a BRIDGE facilitator? Understanding of BRIDGE (essential). Has this person been exposed to BRIDGE by attending a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant? Have they had the opportunity to see the BRIDGE methodology first hand and make an informed decision about whether they want to become a BRIDGE facilitator? Elections experience (desirable). While it is often helpful for facilitators to have electoral knowledge and experience, their skills in training and facilitation are more important. Cross-cultural skills (desirable). Particularly important for international TtFs where facilitators are likely to be working outside their region. Ideally the TtF implementer should request applications for attendance in a TtF, asking participants to address the selection criteria above. However, implementers should also be open to nominations and recommendations of participants who may not otherwise have knowledge or interest in participating, but has the right skills, recognised by a third […]
August 18, 2009

Facilitator categories

The facilitator category structure has been developed to provide a supportive framework in which facilitators can practise, improve and broaden their BRIDGE skills. The categories also aim to ensure the quality and consistency of the BRIDGE product, and also to assist those implementing BRIDGE to select facilitators with the right skill sets. All categories of facilitators are important to BRIDGE. In order to move from one facilitator category to another, certain criteria need to be met by the facilitator and this needs to be formally acknowledged by a partner organisation. There is no expectation that a facilitator has to progress from one category to another. This will be based on the personal choice of individual facilitators and their ability to meet the criteria for progression. Some things to keep in mind regarding facilitator categories: Does the facilitator have the right skill set to run this workshop? Should I have a more experienced facilitator to support any less experienced facilitators? Is there an opportunity for mentoring of less experienced facilitators by more experienced facilitators? Is this an opportunity to accredit any facilitators in the organisation or region? Should there be an accrediting or expert facilitator to complete this accreditation? A quick summary of facilitator categories is in Table 3 below. Table 3: Facilitator Categories Semi-accredited facilitator Workshop facilitator Accrediting facilitator Expert facilitator Key focus Commitment to capacity development in elections Facilitation of BRIDGE module workshops An accrediting and educative role A broad leadership role in the development of BRIDGE policy, facilitators and materials Experience Module workshop participant Successful completion of TtF A minimum of 30 hours of supervised module workshop facilitation Supervised preparation and customisation A minimum of 150 hours of module workshop facilitation Assessed by an accrediting or expert facilitator as possessing the following skills: Mentoring Leadership Organisational skills Advocacy A minimum of 300 hours of module workshop facilitation Electoral experience Assessed by an expert facilitator as possessing the following skills: Mentoring Leadership Organisational skills Advocacy Scoping Responsibilities Supervised module workshop facilitation Customise, translate, prepare and facilitate module workshops Customise, translate, prepare and facilitate module workshops Mentor other facilitators Accredit workshop and accrediting facilitators Prepare and facilitate TtF and Implementation Workshops Customise, translate, prepare and facilitate module workshops Mentor other facilitators Accredit all categories or facilitators Prepare and facilitate TtF and Implementation workshops Needs assessments and scoping missions Contributing to BRIDGE policy and curriculum There is also an additional category of Semi-accredited – Inactive facilitators. This is to recognise that in the decade BRIDGE has been around, there are many facilitators who have completed their TtF but are unlikely to complete their accreditation and who may no longer be involved in BRIDGE. Semi-accredited – Inactive facilitators are those who completed their TtF more than three years prior, but who have not gained their full accreditation. This will make it easier for the BRIDGE Office and BRIDGE implementers to identify active facilitators and also recognise that it may be difficult for people who completed their TtF more than three years ago to recall their facilitator training. Semi-accredited – Inactive facilitators who become involved in BRIDGE after being made inactive can contact the BRIDGE Office to be made active. For more information on progression in facilitator categories, see 5.4 Focus On: Progression in Facilitator Accreditation and Categories. […]
August 18, 2009

Facilitators in BRIDGE

Facilitators are key players in BRIDGE – the success of BRIDGE relies on the quality of its facilitators, and the use of the right facilitation teams. Facilitators should be involved at all steps of the BRIDGE program – from providing advice at the beginning, to the customisation process, to running the workshops themselves and contributing to the evaluation process, and ideally, continuing to be involved in a sustainable program. For this reason, it is important that a client organisation has access to a pool of potential facilitators (including regional/international) to contribute to various stages of a BRIDGE program, allowing for availability, diversity and different skills and strengths. For sustainability reasons, a strong pool of local facilitators is essential for any extensive BRIDGE program. It is up to the program team to evaluate how many local facilitators need to be trained, and whether there is potential for this to be done within the client organisation, or whether the program team needs to look more broadly at partnering with regional or international organisations to train facilitators. Facilitators should refer to 6.3 Running a BRIDGE Workshop and the Facilitation Manual for further information on facilitating a workshop. Choosing and employing facilitators and facilitation teams The importance of the BRIDGE facilitator to a BRIDGE program means that attention must be paid to getting the appropriate facilitators for the program as they will be involved in high-level decisions on workshop customisation, selecting the right mix of materials and understanding the profile of participants. In addition to being qualified professionals, facilitators must also be good team players. An informal mechanism operates for selecting accredited facilitators from the regularly updated database of fully and partially accredited facilitators. The responsible BRIDGE partner can decide or advise on the choice of international facilitators. Intuitive judgments need to be made about the right mix of facilitators for any given workshop, and for this reason program teams are advised to contact the BRIDGE Office for advice on this matter. A facilitation team should be a minimum of two facilitators, and several things should be considered when putting the team together. A team approach to facilitation is best, and a workshop should not be run if an appropriate team is not available. The process of selecting a facilitation team should consider the following: Priority should be given to using local facilitators in the context of building capacity and contextualising the program. A facilitation team should have a gender balance, with at least one male and one female on any facilitation team, to model gender awareness and provide balance. Particularly where participants may be of diverse language groups, or perhaps speak a dialect, it is useful to consider using facilitators who can communicate in the languages of the participants, if that is not the primary language being used in the workshop itself. Different facilitators will have different strengths, and different modules will also require different sorts of facilitators. A facilitation team should consist of facilitators who complement each other and who can each contribute a different quality to the facilitation. It is good practice to select facilitators with relevant expertise in the module to be delivered, particularly with the more technical modules such as Electoral Systems and Boundary Delimitation. While a good facilitator will be able to deliver any of the BRIDGE content, having experience in the area of the module provides credibility and clarity. A combination of expertise can also benefit a facilitation team. While local facilitators should be prioritised, it can also be beneficial to include non-local facilitators, or facilitators from different backgrounds, who can bring an alternative perspective to the facilitation team. If possible, issues of conflicting or complementary personalities should be taken into account, as the way a facilitation team works together is of vital importance to the success of the workshop. There are some forms of BRIDGE that can only be run by certain categories of facilitator, such as the TtF or Implementation Workshop. Determining facilitator numbers Different programs will have different facilitator requirements, and program organisers will need to decide early on how many local facilitators they will need to train to support a sustainable program. Questions the program team should ask are: How big is the program? How many staff are to be trained? What length of training would be ideal or preferred? What length of training is proposed (and funded)? Is there a dedicated training department? Other things to consider include: Availability – how much time will potential local facilitators be able to commit to the program? An organisation which could dedicate a few training staff would need fewer than an organisation which trained operational staff as facilitators who would not be able to be released as often to conduct program activities. Stability – are the people being considered as facilitators likely to stay with the organisation, or is there a culture of turnover? In a very stable organisation which can identify key permanent staff who will be committed to a long-term project, there may not be a need for as many facilitators to be trained. Diversity – can people from different parts of the organisation, different backgrounds, different levels be trained as facilitators? Because the make-up of a facilitation team is so vital, having a diverse group of facilitators to select from helps in creating a workshop that will fit varying objectives. Support – are there enough facilitators, so that the responsibility does not fall on just the same people all the time? Facilitation work should be shared and rotated, to allow all facilitators to be involved and to develop their skills, and to also allow them to take a break or have a backup. A larger pool of facilitators is better than relying on a core group who end up taking all the […]


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