BRIDGE and Bhutan

30 July 2009

Three officials were sent to attend the “BRIDGE Train the Facilitator (TTF) training to Melbourne, Australia in 2008. I was lucky to be one of those chosen to attend the TTF. And so my BRIDGE journey had begun.

Upon our return to Bhutan, we spoke to the Chief Commissioner about the possibility of conducting BRIDGE in Bhutan. The ECB in March 2009 conducted the BRIDGE introductory module for the district electoral officers with the help of BRIDGE Facilitator from the Australian Electoral Commission. The training also accredited three officials as BRIDGE workshop facilitator. The BRIDGE workshop facilitators can now conduct the BRIDGE training independently in future.

Working on the BRIDGE curriculum has greatly enhanced my electoral knowledge and facilitation skills.

This year I was awarded the Endeavour Executive award for a 4 month work placement program. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) agreed to host my work placement program. I am currently based in its National Office, Canberra in the International Services Section and am visiting the BRIDGE office in Melbourne. The work placement program has provided me an opportunity to attend a series of BRIDGE introductory modules conducted for the AEC National Office staff. I was involved in different stages of preparation for the BRIDGE training, giving me insight into different types of facilitation skills beside the logistical arrangements which is a critical part of the BRIDGE training. These trainings provided an avenue for expanding my facilitation skills through co-facilitation and presentation on the Bhutanese voting system. Working in this international scenario for the first time gave me the essence of being global and helped me to understand the cultural sensitivity need to work in different countries.

More enriching is my taking part in the development of the Civic Education Development Project in the BRIDGE curriculum, which is a pilot project, titled “Democracy in our place”. The first pilot was conducted in Vanuatu in the Pacific and the second will be conducted in Bhutan in Asia. The project provides a platform in understanding democratic principles and the day to day application of the democratic principles on the decision making by individuals and organizations. My involvement in the preparation of Democracy and Governance modules for the BRIDGE curriculum broadens my knowledge in understanding the relationship between these three components (elections, democracy and governance).

I feel very lucky to be involved in the preparation for the historic pilot to be conducted in my home country, Bhutan and to have this opportunity to practice my BRIDGE facilitation skills. I look forward to being a part of the team that will travel to Bhutan in August this year and I will write another article describing the pilot workshop upon my return to Australia.


Election Commission of Bhutan

Accredited Workshop Facilitator

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