After conducting TtFs in Afghanistan in 2006 and in 2007 the IEC (Independent Election Commission) have followed this up with several BRIDGE workshops.
The IEC has found that BRIDGE is the most effective tool for increasing the skills and electoral knowledge of election officials. Until recently the IEC was the main implementer of BRIDGE in Afghanistan (which is financially supporting by The Asia Foundation through USAID and AusAID), however, it is now being broadly introduced to Afghan people (especially to the electoral officials and other civil sociality organizations including the Afghan Association for Electoral officials).
The AAEO was founded in April 2008 with the overall goal to provide a politically impartial forum which shall serve as a means of exchange of information, experiences and views in order to debate and work for the promotion of democratic, open and transparent elections.
The Afghan BRIDGE family recognized that due the expanding demand for BRIDGE in Afghanistan there were not enough Afghan facilitators (most of them especially during the operation are not available or found job in other organizations and can’t leave their work). This meant that we had to conduct a third TtF for qualified individuals from relevant organizations.
The AAEO with financial support of The Asia Foundation through AusAID organized the third TtF from 11-21 June in Kabul at the IEC head quarters. The program was inaugurated by Mr.Zekria Barakzai the head of AAEO. His opening speech emphasized the important role that facilitators have in conducting programs. He also thanked TAF, AusAID and Afghan BRIDGE facilitators for organizing the TtF.
The program facilitated by three Afghan facilitators; Dr.Shahla Haque the Head of Training & Capacity Building of IEC/Deputy of AAEO (Accredited facilitator) who was lead facilitator of the program, Mr.Bakhtmohammad Bakhtyar (Workshop facilitator) and Mr.Awalul-Rahma Rodwal (Workshop facilitator) .
In total 24 participants attended in the TTF workshop, the participants were selected carefully considering their qualifications in teaching, skill of presentation and general knowledge from different organizations. The participants were included head of departments, deputy head of departments, directors, coordinators, training and public outreach officers and gender officers.
Out of 24 participants 13 of them were from IEC (including 4 staff from IFES and one from UNDP who are working for IEC), other participants were from AAEO, OMFA (Open Media Forum for Afghanistan), TAF(The Asia Foundation), FEFA (Free and Fair Election Foundation for Afghanistan), AIRHC(Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission ), FCCS(Foundation for Culture and Civil Society), PDRO(Pasarli Development and Rehabilitation Organization ).
The program was run using the most recent version of the curriculum using both our local languages (Dari & Pashto).
During the first three days participants were provided with background information about BRIDGE, the aims and objectives, the KU, LO, AC, training methods and evaluations, training challenges, BRIDGE TtF documents and folders (a complete set of Civic Education module was provided for each participant and they did practice on making the folder).
The atmosphere was very friendly. Despite most of them not knowing each other prior to the workshop it seemed as if they had known each other for years (“BRIDGE magic”).
The participants were assigned paired presentation and presented their selected topics perfectly. The second set of paired presentations participants were distributed the Gender and Election, Civic Education ,Voter Registration ,Polling and Counting and Introduction modules. Facilitators were encouraged to modify their topics or create new topics based on our current situation and culture including providing the HO,PPT,OHPs which were presented by using different BRIDGE methodologies ( i.e. ; a group presented on family voting and included two real policies in their role play which was very interesting) .
Participants were amazed with the BRIDGE methodology and its positive impact on learning and teaching of adults. Participants actively participated in all activities including working groups, role play, and discussions and in giving constructive feedback to groups’ presenters.
The participants enjoyed a half of day sightseeing in Qurgha and Paghman.
Participant’s daily elevation, informal feedback during the breaks, verbal feedbacks at the end of program and individual interview have shown that participants were satisfied with all presented topics and BRIDGE methodologies. They have requested to continue the conducting of BRIDGE modules for different civil society organizations.
Participants thanked all BRIDGE partners’ especially the AEC for their usual cooperation with Afghan team, TAF and AusAID for financial supporting of this program and Afghan BRIDGE facilitator’s team.
Participants committed to follow all BRIDGE policies and methodologies during their facilitation in future and did proud for being part of BRIDGE family in Afghanistan and the world.
Some comments from the participants:
for many years working in journalism, public activities and as a trainer; I believed that participants should accept my view but the TtF has totally changed me and I really learned an important things in my life which is TOLERANCE CULTURE.
The training environment, the methodologies and topics created very interesting days. I found this program very useful not only for BRIDGE implementation but in other part of my work.
I have conducted many training programs, In the past I have usually preferred to be alone during my presentation but I learned from TtF how to work in a team and how we should be flexible while our partner is different in term of age, education level and gender.
I really learned the importance of constrictive feedback from this program.