The ZESN participants were busy completing their own public outreach campaigns and preparing for short-term observer training ahead of a possible March-election in Zimbabwe. Whilst Zimbabwe is today more renowned for its hyper-inflation of 400,000%, it has been in the past famous for its contributions to the world of participatory training and community work.
The BRIDGE course, which was originally meant to be a straight modular course, was changed to adopt a Train-the-Facilitator flavour, with participants having to, at the end of the course, present their own allocated activities. Of the four days spent in Nyanga, three days were spent on Public Outreach and Electoral Observation and aspects of the Train-the-Facilitator Course. On the afternoon of the third day, participants were grouped into pairs, allocated an activity and a breakaway room, and allowed to prepare their presentations for the next day. With four facilitators, (Rindai Chipvunde Vava, Koki Muli, Harris Potani and Rushdi Nackerdien), the large group could be split across four rooms with presentations and feedback sessions.
Participants were extremely impressive, exhibiting their extensive knowledge of elections in Zimbabwe, as well as their repertoire of training skills. Whilst many were nervous to present in such small groupings of maximum 10 people in the breakaway rooms, they learnt quickly from each other and improved dramatically in terms of their own time-keeping, diversity of methodologies used and abilities to manage the learning process. The enthusiasm and excitement with which participants tackled the tasks bode well for the civil society aspects of the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe.