The importance of the Train the Facilitator workshop in Georgia has grown since BRIDGE in Georgia has welcomed new family members from the Political Parties and Observer Organizations. In total 22 newly accredited semi-facilitators have joined the pool of Georgian BRIDGE facilitators totalling 88 in the country (with 2 expert, 1 accrediting, 13 workshop and 72 semi-accredited facilitators).
The TtF workshop was organized by UNDP Georgia project “Promotion Credible and Sustainable Electoral Institutions and Processes” with the financial support of EU and in partnership with the CEC of Georgia and the Centre of Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Trainings.
UNDP Georgia aims to develop long-term capacities for well-organized, fair and credible electoral processes for further national elections in Georgia. The TtF workshop for the key electoral stakeholders aimed at:
The workshop was held at Georgian Palace Hotel, in Kobuleti, Georgia during May 14-24, 2013. The facilitation team was composed of expert facilitator Natia Kashakashvili and two experienced BRIDGE workshop facilitators George Sharabidze (UNDP Project Training Officer) and Natia Zarnadze-Ioseliani (CEC Training Officer). The facilitation team has prepared the participant’s kit:
All the materials had the personalized name tags for easy retrieval.
22 participants (11 female and 11 male) attended the workshop (call for participation was announced during April 4-22, 2013 and final list confirmed on April 29); 8 participants were from the Political Parties (Our Georgia – Free Democrats; Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia; Republican Party of Georgia; National Forum; United National Movement; Christian-Democratic Movement; Christian Democratic Peoples’ Party; European Democrats of Georgia), 8 participants were represented from the CSOs (NGNI, CDD, Transparency International, GYLA, ISFED, PMMG, NGO Coalition, EEDC); 4 participants were from the UNDP main implementing partner Centre of Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Trainings and the Central Election Commission of Georgia; while 2 participants were from International organizations: UNDP and IFES.
Participants were at different levels of electoral knowledge and backgrounds, though most of them have had attended BRIDGE workshops conducted by UNDP.
The following framework was set for the workshop agenda:
The Workshop was opened by the welcome speech from UNDP project manager Tamar Zhvania, who talked about UNDP involvement in electoral matters, the importance of the BRIDGE TtF and wished participants the successful conduct of the course.
The aim of the TtF workshop was explained from the very beginning, combining it with the “expectations’ field”: Participants were asked to write expectations from different angles: what they expect from facilitators – on apple tree, from themselves – on flowers, from rest of the participants – on leaves; therefore creating the field of expectations. Participants were explained set of key learning outcomes that they need to achieve to successfully complete the workshop.
Participants created the code of conduct for the course by revealing the elements of positive learning environment and therefore actions that interfere the learning process.
The BRIDGE curriculum folder content was best explained using the full module of Electoral Training, which was assembled in two-ring Binder, separated with 5 dividers: 1. Facilitators Notes (FN), 2. Facilitator Resources (FR), 3. Over Head Projection (OHP), 4. Handouts (Hos) and 5. Participants Notes (PN).
Participants were introduced to BRIDGE background and recent worldwide and country-wide statistics; KU&LO&AC was introduced to participants based on Electoral Training Module and using the “Learn to Drive” analogy. Participants then applied BRIDGE teaching methodology through variety of activities, such as brainstorming (round-robin), Role Play, Group Works, etc.
At the end of the first day, participants were allocated time-slots for conducting an energizer/icebreaker during the next 9 days. Participants have presented different new energizers while others were sharing constructive feedbacks to the presenter.
First set of paired presentations
On day two, after going through the facilitation challenges and techniques, participants were paired up (all pairs were gender balanced) and allotted the presentation topic from the Electoral Training Module: 1. Training Cycle, 2. Training Needs Assessment, 3. Methods of Needs Assessment, 4. Training Strategy, 5. Create the Training Strategy, 6. Coordinating Training Activities, 7. Training Budget, 8. Training Matrix, 9. Steps of Training Material Design; 10. Designing User-friendly Training Material; 11. Drafting Training Operational Plan. Pairs have been closely mentored by the lead facilitators, pointing out some ideas on group-work presentations in the facilitation manual.
Pairs have facilitated the first presentations during third and fourth days. During the pair presentation feedbacks several training techniques were pointed out, that other facilitators have successfully used in their presentations. In general, first paired presentations were evaluated as a great kick-off that showed participants the essence of the BRIDGE methodology.
Presentations were timed using the countdown software in order to avoid interfering the facilitation process with the minute signs.
Drafting the Instructions
On day five, in order to prepare participants for the drafting exercise, they were tasked to draft the instructions on “preparing tea/coffee” in new pairs. The facilitation team provided the real resources of all the Tea/Coffee making components. The first draft was swapped between the pairs, who were then tasked to visualize the process and make necessary corrections. After the exercise, the facilitation team helped the pairs to perform according to the instruction, that made it finally clear for the drafting pairs how careful and detailed they must be while drafting instruction for the others to perform. Participants were then re-paired (again gender balanced; pairing was based on the performance during the first presentations) and tasked to draft the new activities on the same Electoral Training topic: 1. Training Management; 2. Trainer Selection; 3. Drafting Observer Organization Training Strategy; 4. Assessing electoral training needs of political parties; 5. Training Logistics; 6. Drafting ToT Agenda; 7. Training program budgeting; 8. Drafting E-day Observer training operational plan; 9. Observer training material design; 10. Training Monitoring (drafting monitoring sheet); 11. Training Evaluation (evaluation matrix and evaluation sheets). Participants have used the knowledge gained during the first presentation on the topic and drafted great instructions, always pointing out the periods of the training cycle. Some of the activities developed by the participants are very productive, so the translated version will be presented to be incorporated in the Electoral Training module.
BRIDGE Facilitators’ Success Stories
For the first time, BRIDGE facilitators’ success stories were presented for the participants. 7 workshop level facilitators have explained the TtF participants the path they have taken since their first TtF and how BRIDGE has influenced their work at professional and personal level. The success stories were specifically presented to this group, as to promote usage of the BRIDGE methodology at Political Party and NGO sectors.
Second set of paired presentations
On day six, pairs have swapped the instructions, briefed each other on the content and then started preparing for their presentations. It’s worth to mention the nervousness of the drafting pair while the presenting pair was facilitating the drafted instructions. The participants have shown the best example of supportiveness and team-building; they were encouraging and sympathetic to each other’s presentations. By the end of the second presentations, all the participants have realized the big leap made between the first and the second presentations (professionally as well on personal level).
BRIDGE Rules, Further steps and Evaluation
On the last day of the course participants were arranged at specific target groups to developed strategies on using BRIDGE in their organizations. It was a good start to make them think how BRIDGE methodology and/or materials can foster effectiveness of their electoral training work.
Participants were explained BRIDGE rules to be followed by the semi-accredited facilitators and usage of the BRIDGE web-site.
The TtF workshop was conducted in a very positive atmosphere, with constructive feedbacks from the participants and facilitators. Throughout the workshop, participants were guided to discover a myriad of facilitation techniques and methodologies that they have put into practice during their presentation of BRIDGE activities as well as energizers and icebreakers. Participants praised the BRIDGE methodology even more after using it themselves; pointing out the importance and effectiveness of the drafting exercise. Some of the participants have evaluated BRIDGE as making the change at their personal level; while others pointed out the distinctiveness of the BRIDGE workshops and BRIDGE methodology. Participants have also praised the attitude from the lead facilitators, who were always equally supportive and eager to assist to all the pairs.
Following the TtF learning outcomes and assessment criteria, and based on the evaluation of the facilitators of the first and second presentations, as well as the daily participation and interaction of participants, the facilitation team agreed on granting the semi-accreditation to all participants.
The participants of BRIDGE TtF Georgia 2013 were granted the certificates in recognition of completing the two-week Train the Facilitator workshop and becoming the semi-accredited facilitators.
The official part of certification was followed by the “unofficial” certification to reveal the following nominations: best male/female facilitator; best paired presentation; best energizer, best facilitation voice, most friendly/humorous/unordinary/musical participant. Participants have voted for each nomination in secret and the facilitation team granted them with special presents.
On behalf of facilitation team, BRIDGE office and UNDP Georgia, we would like to welcome all of them to BRIDGE community and wish to be seeing them in action.
On behalf of the TtF Georgia 2013 participants and the facilitation team, we would like to extend special thanks to the UNDP Project Manager Tamar Zhvania and UNDP Project Admin/Finance Officer Natia Lipartiani for making this TtF happen.