All 12 participants to this TtF were Peruvian and all were staff of the JNE. About half of them had a considerable prior experience in teaching and training and three of the participants had a senior level in the JNE (Directors). The course was facilitated by a team of four: Nicolas Garrigue (IDEA Consultant), as expert facilitator, Carlos Coronel (independent BRIDGE trainer from Colombia), as Workshop Facilitator and Rosa Maria Lopez & Fernando Rodriguez (JNE), as Trainee Facilitators. All twelve participants received their Certificate of Completion at the end of the course, and Fernando and Rosa Maria successfully completed their accreditation process. This brings the total number of Spanish-speaking accredited facilitators to 19! Carlos Coronel has also reached the level of Accrediting Facilitator with this workshop, and this will greatly facilitate future accreditation in Latin America.
This TtF came at a time when the JNE is building an ambitious outreach and capacity development program for various stakeholders groups in Peru (women, youth, political parties, provincial electoral commissions). This TtF, and the Gender / Civic Education course that was run just before it, has helped create greater awareness on the potential of BRIDGE to support JNE’s activities among the JNE senior leadership and staff. At the end of the TtF Workshop, participants brainstormed on three pilot BRIDGE events that would support JNE’s on-going priorities in: (i) reviving civic awareness among women & the youth, (ii) infusing a greater sense of accountability among political organizations, (iii) improving the knowledge of compliance with electoral regulations at provincial level. Immediately after the conclusion of this TtF, certain BRIDGE precepts and training techniques were incorporated into the JNE’s programs, demonstrating again the great adaptability of BRIDGE curriculum and the immediate impact it can have.
Regionally, the JNE is also keen on taking the lead in promoting BRIDGE and pursuing its adaptation to the Latin American context. To that end, the JNE is planning on organizing a Regional BRIDGE Seminar in 2010 for Latin American EMBs. It will gather all EMBs that have already participated in BRIDGE and a few other newcomers. It would take stock of progress made in the dissemination of BRIDGE on the sub-continent since it was first introduced in 2005 and identify priorities for boosting use and access to BRIDGE among EMBs and other electoral stakeholders of the region. The Workshop would also be the occasion to present a Spanish version of the Implementation Manual (which remains to be translated).
BRIDGE in Latin America has come to a turning point and the potential for finalizing its adaptation and disseminating it at a much bigger scale is great. Let’s hope that BRIDGE partners will be able to provide renewed support to JNE and other interested parties in the region to make it happen.