The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with assistance from the local office of the UNDP and the European Union successfully conducted a BRIDGE Train the Facilitator workshop as a way to respond to the need to strengthen the capacity of the election management body and increase the number of BRIDGE accredited trainers within the organisation. Trainees consisted of 20 electoral staff members from across the 10 provinces of the country. Ross Attrill, the Expert Facilitator from Australia was set to lead the training alongside Utloile Silaigwana, the Accrediting Facilitator, Rejoice Sibanda, then workshop facilitator but now Accrediting Facilitator and Shamiso Chahuruva, the Workshop Facilitator, all from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The way the Zimbabwe TtF was conducted was a first of its kind in the history of BRIDGE as it was the first time that TtF had to be halted midway before the completion of the programme and reconvened eight months later making it the longest TtF training in the history of BRIDGE!! The training was intended to run from 23 March 2020 to 3 April, 2020 but the global coronavirus pandemic scuttled the plans for the conduct of this all important workshop within the initial time frame.
The TtF was reconvened on 12 November 2020 with a 3 day refresher programme and was completed on 20 November 2020. It is important to note that while participants were apart as a result of supervening impossibilities, the bonds that they had formed within that first week of training were not lost but kept intact through the formation of a social whatsApp group where they continued to interact and support each through what was a most difficult period for all people across the globe. The facilitating team, also kept communication lines open to facilitate continuous consultations with Mr Ross, who still could not travel to Zimbabwe because of the continued travelling restrictions.
This training was a great success and after successful completion of the Course, participants received certificates as reward to hard work.
The course was based on the BRIDGE capacity building curriculum which is specifically designed to improve the skills and knowledge of election administrators in Zimbabwe as the country’s initial preparations for 2023 General Harmonised Elections. This was also in line with the EMB’s 2021- 2024 Strategic Plan whose first Output is “Strengthening Institutional Capacity of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to meet its Constitutional mandate and ensure sustainability”. Training was conducted by an Accrediting BRIDGE Facilitator assisted by workshop Facilitators with support from a BRIDGE Expert, Mr Ross Atrill.
The TtF sought to develop facilitators in the EMB with the view to strengthen its capacity by professionally skilling its pool of election administrators. The overall aim was to achieve effective sustainable election administration through increasing the capacity of the EMB staff. BRIDGE as the most comprehensive professional development course available in election administration was the best choice for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. By selecting different levels of staff ZEC seeks to close the gap of skills deficiency noted in different levels through a UN Needs Assessment Mission carried out in Zimbabwe during the beginning of 2020