Over the past several years, the political environment in Niger has been characterized by good democratic practices with professionally organized elections. After a new transition since February 2010, Niger is now back on track towards possibly being one of Africa’s model democracies. Indeed this landlocked country in Western Africa continues to undertake democratic development with a series of elections including presidential and legislative elections that have been deemed by both the citizens of Niger and international observers as free and fair.
With the technical and financial support of international as well as local partners through the basket funds managed by the UNDP, the Niger National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) successfully held 6 elections within 6 months and new elected institutions are in place.
Yet given the fragility of the current state of democracy in Niger, UNPD has launched the post electoral component of the election project in the framework of democracy consolidation.
To this effect, the first BRIDGE Train-the-Facilitator (TtF) was conducted from 24 October – 04 November, 2011 at TAPOA hotel located on the border of Niger, Burkina and Benin.
This project is one of a series of technical supports planned by the UNDP to strengthen administrative capacity of the CENI – Permanent General Secretariat. A total of twenty-six (26) participants attended the course.
The course was funded by the United Nations Development Program Niger office covering accommodation, facilitator fees, subsistence and travel.
BRIDGE Train-the-Facilitator Course is a 10-day training workshop designed to train participants on the BRIDGE curriculum content while its main objective is to train participants on effective facilitation skills, different techniques and expertise on how to conduct training effectively in an adult learning environment. Upon successful completion of the course the participants receive partial accreditation (Semi-Accreditation Certificate), which is a prerequisite for conducting BRIDGE training courses.
The TtF, like all other BRIDGE courses is based on the BRIDGE Election Administrator’s Training Curriculum which is a comprehensive training programme developed by International IDEA together with the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD), the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). BRIDGE is unique in the field of electoral training due to the breadth of its scope, the practical nature of the content as well as the innovative use of dynamic adult teaching methodology.
The following BRIDGE Facilitators participated in the preparation and delivery of the course:
The team was enriched by a combination of professional, in-depth election experience with diverse country backgrounds. The facilitation team kept participants mesmerised by the various approaches in delivering the course material which created a positive adult learning environment
A total of twenty six (26) participants were drawn from all the Niger electoral process stakeholders. These included CENI – Permanent General Secretariat staff, members of the electoral register Committee, political parties, civil society organisations and donors’ representatives. Of the twenty six participants, seven were female.
The participants expressed their gratitude in the manner in which the course was delivered including the relevance of the content. What excited them most was adapting concepts to the nigerien situation. Indeed, it is worth to mention that participants and facilitators were given opportunity of having an African storytelling evening on day 8 to share african wisdom thought funny stories. Participants committed to be BRIDGE ambassadors and to look forward to professionalizing actors for the next electoral processes. All participants expressed enthusiasm and demonstrated commitment throughout the training sessions.
Course Agenda and Content –
The training workshop was conducted from Monday, 24 October to Friday O4 November 2011. The official opening was scheduled for Thursday 21 October, at GAWEYE Hotel in Niamey and the closing ceremony was led by Professor ALKASHE, Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Head of State at the same venue on the 04 November, 2011 at 17:00.