The National Elections Commission (NEC) aims to extend the democratization process in Liberia, with specific emphasis on institutional development, strengthening capacity of the electoral management body, enhancing electoral processes and improving conformity of the legal and administrative framework with international standards. Realizing the importance of the NEC current strategies, UNDP election project continues to support conduct of BRIDGE courses and enhance capacity of NEC staff and training section through planning and organizing of training courses.
During the months of June, a Liberian team of BRIDGE facilitators with the support of the UNDP basket fund conducted two BRIDGE Modules for the NEC staff and parliamentarians. The workshops were on Electoral Dispute Resolution and Electoral Management Design. The Design Module explored the elements of electoral management design, discussed the main types of electoral management bodies and considered how design and institutional culture affect the credibility of the electoral management body. The Dispute Resolution Module measured how the NEC can effectively manage election conflicts and resolution mechanisms, and accepted standards and principles for dealing with conflicts and disputes. The course strongly emphasized how to practise some of the skills found in best practice for informal conflict management.
The BRIDGE training courses were conducted on 4-5 and 12-13 June in the Palm Spring Hotel, Monrovia. The courses used traditional BRIDGE methodology based on adult learning – teamwork and practical learning principles, which comprised participants’ presentations, energizers and group work.
Course sessions were conducted by a team of facilitators composed of UNDP and NEC representatives, mainly James Wallace (NEC), Emma Togba (NEC), Daniel Gebesson (NEC) and George Baratashvili (UNDP). The Electoral Management Design course had participants from NEC HQ staff and representatives of National Assembly elections oversight committee. The Dispute Resolution workshop was organized for NEC Magisterial staff only. The course was intensively planned, prepared and customized by facilitators who closely followed BRIDGE methodology and its curriculums. Participants were enthusiastically involved in course activities. Facilitators used different types of brainstorming and group-working activities and demonstrated their familiarity with the BRIDGE materials and its methodology. At the end of the program all participants were handed over BRIDGE certificates of course completion.
Participants’ evaluation was positive. It was stated that they found the courses extremely useful and all the activities were clearly understood. The group of BRIDGE facilitators performed their task with high diligence and competence.
BRIDGE course Version 2 curriculum continues to be implemented in Liberia due to the reason that it was found extremely beneficiary for the NEC management team and other stakeholders to the electoral process in Liberia. BRIDGE Modules enabled NEC staff to expand their knowledge about elections, establish good networking amongst HQ, provincial representatives and members of parliament. In addition, the BRIDGE courses created preconditions for establishment of the firm body of BRIDGE facilitators in Liberia.