Facilitator categories
August 18, 2009
BRIDGE curriculum and module structure
August 18, 2009

This workshop, which is integral to BRIDGE, uses a ‘train the trainer’ model.  The 10-day workshop is designed to give potential BRIDGE facilitators practical skills and knowledge about BRIDGE modules and workshops.  The aims and objectives of the TtF workshop are:

Aim: To provide experience of BRIDGE materials and methodology to potential BRIDGE facilitators.

Objectives:

  • To train selected trainees in existing content and content development and methodology of BRIDGE
  • To provide the trainees with supported experience in conducting BRIDGE facilitation
  • To provide trainees with the opportunity to modify existing and develop new BRIDGE materials
  • To provide a mechanism for assessing the trainees’ capacity to facilitate BRIDGE module workshops and activities to the required standard

National TtF workshops are conducted in the country where a sizeable BRIDGE program is planned (where a corps of facilitators would need to be employed).  International TtF workshops are conducted on at least an annual basis, in different regions of the world where there is BRIDGE interest or programs underway.

The TtF workshop targets experienced trainers, preferably with a background in curriculum development and elections. Trainees should have been a participant in a BRIDGE module workshop before the TtF workshop. In addition to meeting these criteria, trainees will ideally have a solid grounding in the methodologies and approaches of BRIDGE and capacity development. For International TtFs, facilitators should be selected who have demonstrated an ability to work in a cross-cultural environment.

A TtF should always be considered as part of a wider BRIDGE plan, and not an ends in itself.

Within a TtF workshop the emphasis put on facilitation aspects or electoral aspects will vary with the groups being targeted. For example, if dealing with a group of trainees already used to participative training techniques but new to the field of election management, facilitators will need to focus on the content of the workshop materials. If working with a group of experienced electoral managers who are unfamiliar with BRIDGE – type training methodology, priority will have to be given to explaining and demonstrating BRIDGE training tools.

Participants

Participant selection is of utmost importance in a TtF, both for the success of the workshop and the sustainability of the wider project. Participants who have the right skills and interests will not only enrich the TtF itself, but of course produce a higher quality result in the overall BRIDGE plan as modules will be facilitated well, received better, and therefore have greater effect.

It is important to make clear what a TtF is – a common misconception is that a TtF is like a normal BRIDGE module and will provide the participant with electoral knowledge. The point should be made that a TtF is essentially a Train the Trainer workshop with the aim of teaching facilitation skills, not electoral knowledge.

There is an inherent risk in a TtF for it to be seen as a ‘better’ or ‘more important’ workshop than the standard BRIDGE modules, and therefore for people to want to complete it for the wrong reasons. This is not the case, as a TtF is not a higher level workshop than the standard modules, but rather a workshop with a very different objective. Ideal participants for a TtF are rarely those in senior positions, but rather those with a training role in their organisation who are likely to be released when necessary.

Selection criteria for TtF participation include:

  • Training background (essential). Does this person have the base skills to become a facilitator? It is also highly desirable that at least some of the person’s training experience include the use of interactive methodology.
  • Strategic availability (essential). Once trained, will this person be available to conduct training, e.g. if they are employed by an electoral or other body, will there be opportunities for their release to facilitate? Is their employer supportive of their role as a BRIDGE facilitator?
  • Understanding of BRIDGE (essential).  Has this person been exposed to BRIDGE by attending a BRIDGE module workshop as a participant? Have they had the opportunity to see the BRIDGE methodology first hand and make an informed decision about whether they want to become a BRIDGE facilitator?
  • Elections experience (desirable).  While it is often helpful for facilitators to have electoral knowledge and experience, their skills in training and facilitation are more important.
  • Cross-cultural skills (desirable). Particularly important for international TtFs where facilitators are likely to be working outside their region.

Ideally the TtF implementer should request applications for attendance in a TtF, asking participants to address the selection criteria above. However, implementers should also be open to nominations and recommendations of participants who may not otherwise have knowledge or interest in participating, but has the right skills, recognised by a third party.

Ben
Ben

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