UNDP organized a BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) Train the Facilitator course in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from 24 Mar to 4 April 2014. The training was held for CENI-T staff, as well as national civil society members, among others. The Train the Facilitator course helps participants develop the necessary skills to conceive, organize and deliver workshops using the BRIDGE curriculum.
The two-week long Train the Facilitator (TtF) course was led by three international experts specializing in the BRIDGE electoral training program: Samia Mahgoub (Belgium, Expert Facilitator), Roger Bupiri (DRC, Accrediting Facilitator) and LIuís Juan Rodríguez (Spain, Workshop Facilitator), as well as a national expert, Désirée Marie Stella Razanamahefa (Madagascar, Workshop Facilitator). This training was organized by UNDP Madagascar, in the framework of its Electoral Project (PACEM), with the financial support of the European Union and Japan.
The training consisted of 24 participants, including 10 representatives of the Malagasy National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI T) and 9 members of civil society organizations and women’s associations. As stated by a representative from the Malagasy Platform for Women in Politics (FPOI), “this training has been a great opportunity for us, as a civil society organization and also at the personal level. Firstly, our Platform counts with a pool of trainers and this workshop has allowed us to improve our capacities as facilitators, in particular in the field of elections. In the second place, this workshop was also very beneficial for us as individuals: we have improved our facilitation skills and this may bring us new opportunities”.
At the end of the training, the participants achieved a ‘semi-accredited’ facilitator status and are henceforth able to use the resources of the BRIDGE program to develop and jointly deliver adapted trainings with fully accredited co-trainers. In the words of a CENI-T staff member who took part in this workshop: “BRIDGE means a lot to me in terms of professional development. I have been working in the elections field for six years now and this course has helped me to further improve my knowledge on elections. As an electoral officer, I am familiar to trainings on elections. However, BRIDGE brings a whole new methodology that will let me train my colleagues with a different approach”.
This was not a first experience with BRIDGE for many participants in the training. Before deciding to pursue the Train the Facilitator course, many of them had already participated in a number of workshop courses. The first BRIDGE workshop was “Gender and Elections” (12-14 March) and the second addressed the topic of “Access to electoral processes” (17-19 March).
As part of its strategy of capacity strengthening for local election administrators, UNDP plans to organize additional BRIDGE trainings this spring, which will provide opportunities for some of the semi-accredited facilitators to practice what they learned during the TtF under the mentorship of experienced trainers and complete their full accreditation as BRIDGE facilitators.