A BRIDGE Train-the-Facilitator (TtF) workshop was conducted on 10 – 21 August 2015 in Nadi, Fiji. Funding for this capacity building program in electoral administration was provided by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), through the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators (PIANZEA) Network.
Preparation for the workshop was conducted at, and with much assistance from, the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) in Suva, Fiji. The FEO also provided transport for facilitators and materials across to Nadi for the conduct of the workshop.
The four TtF facilitators were Asenaca Kolinivala (Fiji), Vake Blake (Tonga), Hagen Siosikefu (Niue) and Brian Latham (Lead – Australia).
The Supervisor of Elections, Fijian Elections Office, Mr Mohammad Saneem, opened the workshop in Nadi on Monday 10 August 2015. He thanked DFAT, through PIANZEA, for conducting the TtF and encouraged the participants to make the most of the ten days and to take their learning back to their own countries to further enhance the electoral administration capacity of their electoral bodies.
Mr Saneem encouraged all to be involved in more BRIDGE activity within the region and also reminded participants that they should be prepared to run workshops in sheds, under trees, without microphones and projectors and in hot humid conditions.
The workshop had 20 participants, from 12 countries – Fiji (5), Tonga (2), Samoa (2), Cook Islands (2), PNG (2), Solomon Islands (1), Vanuatu (1), Tuvalu (1), Nauru (1), Palau (1), Kiribati (1) and Australia (1)
The aim of the TtF was to provide in-depth experience to the participants in BRIDGE methodology, content, curriculum development and monitoring/evaluation, as well as to train and identify suitably skilled facilitators to conduct future BRIDGE workshops.
The workshop modelled BRIDGE facilitation – mostly ‘how to do it’, a little ‘how not to do it’ – by experienced facilitators as well as provided opportunities for all participants to present existing BRIDGE curriculum activities, to customise BRIDGE curriculum and, for a second time, to present material, this time customised BRIDGE curriculum written by other participants.
This TtF trialled both a proposed new set of Learning Outcomes (five rather than eight), and one draft assessment criteria document, based on these ‘new’ outcomes. Also, the writing for the second set of paired presentations was a customisation of current BRIDGE curriculum instead of the usual TtF newly-created curriculum.
The participant group was most positive throughout the workshop, with excellent focus and participation. They showed great patience towards and support for each other – and the facilitators. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The improvement for all participants in the understanding of the curriculum and in presentation/facilitation was clearly demonstrated in the second set of paired presentations. PIANZEA now has a professionally focussed group of partially-accredited facilitators rearing at the bit to implement their BRIDGE understanding, knowledge and skills in their own countries and the region.
The workshop was closed on Friday 21 August by the FEO Deputy Supervisor of Elections, Mr Michael Clancy. He described BRIDGE as a most positive training experience and encouraged participants to continue, where possible, to be involved in BRIDGE as facilitators – even if they were no longer employed in an EMB they could offer their BRIDGE skills and experience in support of capacity building in the region.
Congratulations go to the participants for achieving BRIDGE semi-accreditation, and also to TtF facilitators Asenaca Kolinivala and Vake Blake for achieving Accrediting Level accreditation.