BRIDGE Introductory Workshop for Election Commission of Sri Lanka
26-27 May 2022
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), together with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka (ECSL) conducted a Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) training on Introduction to Election Administration to 19 district commissioners and ICT officers of ECSL, this included five women. The training was conducted over a two-day period, from May 26-27, 2022 in Colombo. This was an interactive training where trainers used new and innovative methods to engage participants. The training was conducted in English and Sinhala languages while simultaneous interpretations were available in Tamil.
BRIDGE accredited facilitators Samantha Jayasinghe (ECSL) and Silja Paasilinna (IFES) conducted the training with support from additional resource persons from the ECSL and IFES. The facilitators were able to actively engage with the participants and draw out interesting observations on each topic to understand the unique challenges and needs of the ECSL and adapt the BRIDGE training to cater to those needs.
The first day of the training focused on the foundational principles of free and fair elections, ethics and good governance, codes of conduct for electoral stakeholders, and an overview of the electoral laws, electoral systems, and quotas. Participants also took part in a mock poll simulation to understand the importance of disability inclusion during an election and what Election Management Bodies must do to provide necessary accommodations to ensure the equal participation of people with disabilities. On the second day of the training, trainers delved into practical aspects of conducting elections, by visualizing the electoral cycle, understanding the roles and responsibilities of the ECSL and the planning and operations involved at every stage. The training concluded with participants designing inclusive voter and civic education material.
Participants expressed interest throughout the training and appreciated the nuanced approach of the workshop. Participants were also able to discuss some of the problems on inclusion that they face in their daily work and brainstormed on possible solutions that can be adopted. On the final day participants were able to reflect on some of the favorite parts of the training and offered insights on how this would help them administer free, fair and inclusive elections and improve as an election management body.