“BRIDGE as a broader capacity building tool to help build institutional resilience: reflections from the past and ways forward – Resilience and Innovation”.

5 June 2024

United States of America

In line with the BRIDGE Strategic Plan 2020-2024, and the BRIDGE Partners decision to strengthen engagement with the BRIDGE Community of Practice, the second virtual event for BRIDGE facilitators was organized on 5th June 2024, hosted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD).

Under the topic of ‘Resilience and Innovation’ this second virtual event aimed at providing a platform for sharing experiences on how innovation and resilience has helped BRIDGE to remain relevant and efficient in supporting capacity development for election practitioners around the world, particularly in challenging circumstances. In seeking to cater for a global spread of the audience, efforts were made to ensure diversity in the selection of the panellists who generously shared experiences, insights, and examples on BRIDGE training initiatives from various parts of the world.

Gender balance was one of the key considerations in inviting speakers to the panel which also comprised both representatives from EMBs and technical assistance professionals. This mix of geography, gender, institutions, and different types of contextual challenges discussed, contributed to the success of the event. Around 200 people registered for this two-hour virtual meeting and around 80 attended which demonstrated a show of great interest. A video recording is available to those who registered but were unable to attend, particularly because of time challenges globally.

The opening session featured short welcoming remarks from Mr. Chad Vickery, Vice President for Global Strategy and Technical Leadership of IFES, and Mr. Craig Jenness, Director of UNEAD. They noted that BRIDGE is the most utilized and effective capacity development tool for EMBs and election stakeholders which has made significant global contributions to support and strengthen national capacities to conduct credible elections. They underlined the fact that BRIDGE has remained as relevant and effective today as it was when it was first launched 22 years ago, due to several factors including the support of national institutions and BRIDGE beneficiaries, dedication of facilitators, commitment from BRIDGE Partners, as well as BRIDGE’s adaptability, innovation, and resilience in responding to new challenges and needs.

A diverse group of panellists spoke at the main part of the virtual event. They included:

Mr. Deryck Fritz (moderator and keynote speaker), BRIDGE Accrediting Facilitator and Director of the Integrated Electoral Support Group in the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), who shared his global experiences and perspectives in facilitating BRIDGE trainings in various parts of the world in the past two decades, often in conflict and post-conflict situations. 

Ms. Dedeh Mulbah Pusah, Director of Field Coordination of the National Elections Commission of Liberia shared her insights and experiences regarding the 2023 general elections in Liberia including BRIDGE trainings conducted in preparation for the elections. She highlighted the successful conduct and usefulness of the first global pilot of the Building Institutional Excellence in Elections module implemented in February 2023 in Liberia.

Mr. Evgeniy Krikopolo, Project Manager from IFES Ukraine, provided insights on how BRIDGE has contributed to the capacity development of election practitioners in Ukraine and the impact of the war on the continuation of training initiatives. He also shared experiences on the innovative and flexible approaches undertaken in conducting BRIDGE trainings in the existing difficult circumstances in Ukraine.

Mr. Nazar Abbas, Joint Provincial Election Commissioner – Sindh, from the Election Commission of Pakistan shared experiences and lessons learned related to organizing a hybrid BRIDGE training for election officers, particularly newly appointed officers in 2021, when the restrictions and risks resulting from the COVID19 pandemic did not allow the conduct of full in-person training.

Ms. Gabriela Nones, the Inclusive Governance and Election Specialist and the Youth Focal Point for UNDP Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, shared experiences related to Mexico and Honduras, where UNDP used a virtual classroom to complement Zoom Workshop Sessions, adapting BRIDGE methodology to full online training combined with in-person workshops. This approach facilitated virtual debates around recommended readings, sharing of short videos recorded by subject matter experts, and generated statistics of the workshop, and delivered BRIDGE certificates.

During the question-and-answer session, several issues raised by the participants were shared with the panellists who provided additional information and responses.

The event was conducted in English while translation in Arabic, French and Spanish was made available. A link to the recording of the event is provided to those who registered but were unable to attend. The event received many votes of thanks and words of appreciation from the participants.

Footnote: The first virtual event was held in February 2024, hosted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and International IDEA, supported by UNDP. With the overall theme of BRIDGE as a Broader Capacity Building Tool to help build Institutional Resilience, the two events aimed at bringing together BRIDGE facilitators to share experiences and lessons learned in the past two decades on how BRIDGE has best supported electoral practitioners in building their capacities and how BRIDGE can further strengthen its contribution to the world of elections in the longer term.  

Evgeniy Krikopolo, Gabriela Nones
Online workshop
Audience(s) for this workshop:
English, Arabic, French, Spanish
Modules used at this workshop:
Expected Outcomes:
Professional Development of Staff