BRIDGE in Nepal July 2009
3 August 2009
The first workshop was for 24 members of the Constituent Assembly with participants from across the party spectrum. Participants in the second workshop were senior party organizers from the 24 political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly. At the third workshop participants were a wide range of opinion leaders with an interest in the electoral system debate.
The facilitation team comprised two international and three Nepali facilitators:
Helena Catt – New Zealand
Adhy Aman – Indonesia
Shanti Ram Bimali – Nepal
Dhruba Prasad Dhakal – Nepal
Ms. Shanta – Nepal
Each two day workshop used activities from the Electoral Systems module with plenty of customization for the local situation. As debate on electoral systems is in full flow in Nepal our task was to remind participants of what they already know and prompt them to think about the systems. For this reason we emphasized the activities that look at the goals and implications of democracy. We took the three core components of electoral systems and the organizing structure that ran throughout the activities. (For all of you who are not familiar with the module those three core components are ballot structure, district magnitude and formula).
Presenting the same activities to three different audiences was very interesting and showed that the same activity can work for groups with different skill and knowledge levels. The resulting discussion and conclusions differed in the language used and complexity of ideas but the same activity did work for groups with different skills and prior knowledge.
Evaluation indicated that the vast majority felt they had improved their own knowledge and skills and gained new perspectives on the topic. A common item under the question of ‘what is the most important thing that you have learned’ was ‘that no electoral system is perfect’, which was the key understanding for the module.
All participants were new to BRIDGE so there were also comments on the methodology, in particular that ‘process based activities can be used to come up will collective decisions’. Participants liked the format and several commented on how nice it was to be involved rather than listening to ‘experts’ speak. This positive response from the three groups of participants also helped to strengthen the belief in the usefulness of the BRIDGE methodology amongst the organizing partners.