The Lesotho Electoral Commission in conjunction with the African Union Commission –AU organised a BRIDGE Train the Facilitator – TtF course on 17 – 28 August in Maseru, Lesotho.
This collaboration came as African Union Commission Initiative to capacitate Electoral Management Bodies in Africa with the aim to enhance effective administration of electoral processes and to transfer skills to enable staff to facilitate training courses in their context using the BRIDGE content for effective management of all electoral processes.
This course is one of the capacity development BRIDGE modular courses that are planned as part of the training strategy for the purpose of equipping EMB staff with the necessary skills and expertise that will ensure that the mandate of delivering free, fair, credible and acceptable elections is carried out efficiently.
Lesotho Independent Electoral Commission hosted the course while AU provided the funding for the project including accommodation, meals, subsistence and consultancy fees for the Lead facilitator.
Post-election period is the most challenging time of the electoral cycle whereby EMBs embark on a series of activities pertinent to review and reform of electoral processes. It is time to look back and plan ahead for future to improve and bridge the gaps found in the delivery of elections. It is at this stage when capacity building process has to take place. Review and development of electoral expertise and technology in the election sphere is essential, particularly in the period between elections. Education and training element of the post-election period within the cycle, where EMBs are capacitated with relevant knowledge and skills in order to professionalise administration of elections is essential as credible and acceptable elections demand knowledgeable, skilled and professional electoral staff.
BRIDGE Train-the-Facilitator TtF Course is one of the three key courses by BRIDGE that are meant to build capacity of electoral staff and officials in related fields. IEC Lesotho held the TtF course for its field officers to enable them to become professional trainers or facilitators, not only in Lesotho but also across the world. This exercise would enable IEC to build a pool of trainers for different BRIDGE modules and other subjects outside of BRIDGE.
Facilitating adult learning has become paramount in any development and this calls for appropriate methods. BRIDGE draws from the principles of Adult learning, the methodology is interactive and makes it easy for adults to participate as they use their skills, expertise and experiences to drive their own learning. Twenty-three election practitioners across the country and two officials of the AU participated in the 10-day programme. Its primary purpose was to generate more BRIDGE facilitators in Lesotho in order to conduct many BRIDGE training for IEC staff and key electoral stakeholders.
The participants were given an introduction on BRIDGE and taken through an intensive programme, which encompassed the BRIDGE Learning Framework Facilitation Skills (Understanding Learning Styles and Facilitation Methods and Techniques; Monitoring and Evaluation and adapting BRIDGE curriculum to suit their context). During this session, in pairs, the participants engaged into practicals of facilitation within the allotted time. They were also given assignments on designing curriculum and how to adapt BRIDGE curriculum into their context. Constructive feedback sessions were held on facilitation and writing skills subsequent to each presentation.
At the end of the course upon successful completion, the participants were awarded with certificate of partial accreditation and rare now semi-accredited facilitators.
Some comments from participants:
What is the single most important thing that you have learnt during the course?
“Giving feedback: Constructive feedback. The way it was conducted was high professional because it motivates a learner”. (Pontso Kobo VEA Botha-Bothe).
“Positive attitude makes a good facilitator”. (Teboho Nalane DEO Mafeteng).
“To look at everything in a positive manner. Focus on the best of it” (Maseara Mahlape Fosa DEO Quthing)
“That I have potential of doing whatever i want” (Francis Faku VEA Mokhotlong)
“Curriculum writing skills and presentations”. (Idrissa Kamara African Union Commission Ethiopia)
“This kind of course should be introduced to commissioners”(Moeketsi Nkoe DEA Maseru)
“Training was perfect keep up the good work (Thato Moeti Headquarters Maseru)
“It was encouraging and empowering it was facilitated with credibility” (Manthati Salemane DEO Qacha’sneck)
Thanking the host; Lesotho Electoral Commission – IEC and the sponsor of the programme; the African Union Commission – AU, the facilitators and participants; wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.