BRIDGE United: Train the Facilitator Workshop in Kosovo unites CSOs and Election Administration

25 October 2012

IFES Kosovo, within the framework of “Strengthening Election Administration in Kosovo” project, with the financial support of USAID and in partnership with the Central Election Commission of Kosovo, has organized a TtF workshop for CEC staff and representatives of the CSOs. The workshop was held at Emerald Hotel, Pristina, Kosovo during the period October 1 – 12, 2012.
Sixteen participants participated in this workshop. Ten of them were CEC staff working for the Secretariat and Municipal Election Commission; four were CSO representatives, and two IFES staff.  Participants were at different levels of electoral knowledge and backgrounds, though most of them have had attended Introduction module conducted in September 2010 and Civic Education module conducted in June 2012.
The workshop was led by the expert facilitators Natia Kashakashvili, from Georgia and Mareska Mantik, from Indonesia, also by the semi-accredited facilitator from Macedonia, Nikolina Grabuloska. The workshop was facilitated in English with the Albanian and Serbian simultaneous translations.
The Train the Facilitator Workshop was opened by the welcome speech from IFES CoP and USAID representative, who talked about the importance of the BRIDGE in general and specifically in Kosovo and wished participants the successful conduct of the two-week course.

After the first two days of introductory sessions on the background of BRIDGE and the teaching methodology, participants were assigned in pairs and asked to present (facilitate) BRIDGE activities. Participants were giving feedbacks to the presenters, which resulted in last pairs to be very well prepared in terms of facilitation techniques.
For the weekend, IFES/Kosovo team organized the social outing event – Paintball for the BRIDGE participants. 12 participants along with the interpreters and facilitators participated in the paintball. The joint social outing connected the BRIDGE team more allowing more friendly communication between the participants as well as with the facilitators.
During the second week, participants went through the curriculum writing exercise, by writing up the instruction how to make tea/coffee. Participants analyzed themselves the flaws in their instructions by demonstrating “making the tea/coffee” according to the developed instruction. Pairs were then assigned different topics (mainly from the Strategic and Financial Planning and Electoral Training modules) along with the key understandings and learning outcomes and were asked to design activities that reflect the learning outcomes.

All participants gave feedback on the distinguished BRIDGE interactive methodology, value of their own experiences in drafting the facilitators’ notes, and presenting/facilitating the sessions. Many believe that the skills and knowledge they learned in the workshop will help them perform their duties in a better way.
On the last day of the workshop, participants were asked to fill out the survey and vote for different nominations (e.g. best pair, best female facilitator, best male facilitator, best energizer, most creative, most friendly, most humorous, etc.). Before the final certification, participants were granted certificates of best pair, best energizer, etc.
Certification ceremony was welcomed by the IFES CoP and the CEC Chairwoman. Then the BRIDGE expert facilitators have granted the participants the certificates in recognition of completing the two-week Train the Facilitator workshop and becoming the semi-accredited facilitators. During the certification of the participants, the interpreters were granted the certificates of appreciation in recognition of translating/interpreting the two-week course.
In conclusion, it must be said that the TtF workshop was conducted in a very positive atmosphere, with constructive feedbacks from the participants and facilitators. Participants praised the BRIDGE methodology even more after using it themselves. Participants gained skills and knowledge on election management training and received semi-accreditation as BRIDGE facilitators. In future programming, IFES hopes to ensure that participants are given the opportunity to receive their full accreditation.
BRIDGE in Kosovo has a very good pool of semi-accredited facilitators that is necessary to further develop and implement BRIDGE on a large-scale, involving the usage of BRIDGE methodology during the operational trainings of MEC and PEC staff.

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