A Jack of all Trades

25 September 2008

Supported by Secretariado Técnico Administração Eleitoral (STAE), the course was the fifth of a series of BRIDGE training sessions, run in this round of funding. Eduardo Casimiro de Deus (recently promoted to) Chief of Department, General Support, Training and Education, STAE, officially opened the training.  Also attending the opening was Christina Landsberg representing AusAID. Christina’s opening remarks highlighted the value of BRIDGE in the range of political governance and capacity-building projects funded by AusAID.

The value of an extensive set of skills for the electoral officials was demonstrated clearly by course interpreter – Pedro Laurentino da Silva. Pedro, a highly sought after trainer and interpreter in Timor-Leste also demonstrated his skills as a photographer, IT consultant, security guard, comedian, tenor, highly skilled trainer and food quality examiner.  A true “ Jack of all trades” – “Person of many skills” – “Ema ho abilidade oi-oin” – “Pessoa com muito habilidades” – “Seorang yang berketrampilan banyak”. 

The many skills of Pedro in action

Pedro performed the role of a guest speaker for one session during the course, sharing his extensive knowledge of training and presentation skills with participants.  The insightful questions at the end of his presentation showed how well he had imparted his knowledge to participants, and how he had inspired them to develop their own skills.

Facilitators Cate Thompson, Eduardo Casimiro de Deus and Augusto Pereira, along with me, the new facilitator, David McKenzie, were impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of all participants. The participants demonstrated a very diverse set of skills within STAE.  This diversity of skills and background experience is identified as a major strength for STAE and one that will help it to overcome challenges as the Timor-Leste electoral system is implemented.

As a new facilitator I was constantly amazed by my experience in Timor-Leste. The participants were warm and energetic, and willing to share their experiences with a complete stranger.  I was accepted in spite of my inexperience as a facilitator, particularly using an interpreter, and I was made to feel that I had a positive impact on the course.  Naturally the other facilitators gave me great guidance, and without the support of Cate, Eduardo and Augusto, I would have found the experience much more daunting. Timor-Leste is a beautiful country; the people are friendly and welcoming. I enjoyed every moment from arrival to departure and hope to visit again soon.

The BRIDGE Electoral Training module focuses attention on the considerations for effective electoral planning, and the range of skills and techniques that can be employed to make the training interesting and appropriate for the participants.  Key messages elicited from the group included the importance of viewing the training cycle as an ongoing part of an EMB’s work, and the value of diversity in developing electoral training that is appropriate for all participants.


Feedback at the end of the course showed once again the successful formula of BRIDGE and the commitment of the participants.  There is a great deal of enthusiasm about future BRIDGE training among participants, visitors and facilitators.


For further information about earlier BRIDGE courses in Timor-Leste please go to:


The Universal Language of Football 


The Long and the Short of It


If the Shoe Fits 


BRIDGE Returns to its Roots in East Timor




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