A Team Of ‘Firsts’ – In The Kalahari Delta

25 February 2013

Converging in Gaborone we came from all corners of the SADC region all headed to a ten-day long, 04-15 February, 2013, Train the Facilitator EU-UNDP funded project in support of Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF-SADC).The workshop was hosted in the beautiful country with the largest inland delta in the world – Botswana – the Kalahari. As we landed it opened wide its arms to us, welcoming us with the warm sun typical of the Kalahari – and embraced us taking us for one of its own. Like a the mouth of a wide river this geographic accident carried us afloat on its streams as we watched the herds of buffaloes, elephants and….yes, donkeys too, with heavy loads straddled on their backs…

The high-profile delegation of the EU-UNDP, IEC Botswana, GIZ, ECF-SADC executives put paid to the commitment of taking ECF-SADC to greater heights on electoral assistance.  We were most humbled by their presence and made us proud as they officialy opened the training programme and launched the EU-UNDP programme in support of the ECF-SADC. We are a class of firsts, indeed:  first regional TtF to be hosted in Botswana – the first programme rolled out under the auspices of the EU-UNDP for the ECF in the region.
We came to this beautiful country as strangers and left as friends. When we left we had learnt so much from one other, but most importantly we had all grown professionally, one way or the other, in our skills as facilitators.
This workshop has allowed us to share experiences on how to address the common challenges we face in our Electoral Commissions in the region through the many activities we did during the program.

We cannot therefore overlook to thank the people who made this training possible and successful:

  • The host country Botswana for receiving us so warmly.
  • The development partners  EU–UNDP project in support of Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries, not forgetting the ECF-SADC secretariat.
  • We thank the Project Manager Ms Hamida Kibwana for  her initiative in this programme.
  • The facilitators for the knowledge that they imparted to us. They indeed ably lead us through the program with professionalism, patience and enthusiam


One of the most important aspect of this team, was the amazing unity we shared as we took care of one another. This was evidenced by our colleague Jordao from Angola, who, through the goodness of his heart, multi-tasked as participant, facilitator, interpretor, peace-maker all wrapped in one – to the admiration of the entire group…and he did not breakdown at any point. He was still the last man standing to the end of the course!!
The success of this training and the willingness of EMBs in the region to enrol participants for this course is an indication that SADC countries have confidence in the ECF–SADC. The ECF-SADC is a  growing  institution with a lot of potentail and as such needs support.
Accredited facilitators from Electoral Commissions of Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mzansi, delivered this training with commitment and zest to reach its desired goals. Thanks to Messrs Dintle S. Rapoo, Emmanuel Kawishe and Utloile Silaigwana and Tomsie Dlamini who all deserve a pat on the back for the seamless, exciting and activity-packed TtF training.

We are grateful to this team for the inspiration, guidance and commitment they gave us aimed at:

  • Enhancing our facilitation skills to manage electoral processes and administration in a professional manner. 
  • Enhancing peer learning and networking skills amongst election practitioners in the region.


“Indeed, the course drained me such that when I could lay my head on my pillow, I slept like a log! The knowledge I gained from the course and the support from my colleagues as they cheered us on during our presentations and group activities, brought to naught the pressures of the workload”, reflects Nthallo from Lesotho. “We were spoilt by our caring hosts who treated us to a visit to the Bahurutshe Cultural Village – leaving an indellible memory in my mind – Oh! See the amazing beauty of our African heritage! So rich – filling one with pride to identify with so much that we share among ourselves as a people!”
We are eager to integrate what we gained from the course into our various commissions and be true ambassadors of the region – doing the best we can to showcase the efforts we put into the programme placing us on the first level of the progression ladder as BRIDGE facilitators.

What a memorable and unforgettable Kalahari treat! Thank-you to all who made it possible!!

Audience(s) for this workshop:
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