BRIDGE Workshop in Liberia
14 September 2012
The implementation of BRIDGE project funded jointly by UNDP and IFES has started in July where the first BRIDGE module has been conducted for newly appointed employs of the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia. After successful conduct of the Module 1, core team of facilitators started preparation for the BRIDGE second course which combined two Modules on Post Elections Activities and Legal Framework. Modules were selected on the ground of consultations amongst facilitators and NEC staff in order to fit the need of the NEC ongoing preparatory work towards institutional sustainability and electoral law reform.
The NEC currently aims to extend the democratization process in Liberia, with specific emphasis on institutional sustainability, strengthening capacity of the electoral management body, as well as enhancing electoral processes and improving conformity of the legal and administrative framework with international standards. Realizing the importance of NEC current strategies the team of facilitators combined two Modules Post-election Activities and Legal framework in one and selected key topics related to the importance of the post-election period to electoral stakeholders, electoral officials and policy makers as the favorable moment for developing and improving EMB system of administration, finances, staff recruitment, capacity enhancement and planning. Explore the universally accepted standards of elections and how they apply through legal framework and how they meet international standards for democratic elections.
BRIDGE Version 2 Modules on Post-election and Legal framework curriculum provide verity of activities for facilitators to choose. As a result, after discussion and analyzing content of Modules, team of facilitators concluded 4 days agenda to be implemented. As participants there were invited key NEC staff, mainly, directors, heads of sections and regional coordinators. In order to facilitate networking of NEC with legislature, it was decided to include in the program representatives of Parliamentary Committee oversight elections. BRIDGE course was held on 28-31 August in capital of Liberia, Monrovia.
BRIDGE Training was conducted by team of facilitators composed from representatives of UNDP, NEC and IFES. The following facilitators were chosen for course facilitation, these are:
- James Wallace, NEC Head of training (Fully accredited)
- Emma Ektobe, NEC Trainers (Semi Accredited);
- Senesee Freeman, IFES Senior Program Officer (Semi Accredited)
- Shalva Tskhakaia, UNDP Legal (Fully Accredited);
- George Baratashvili, UNDP Training (Fully Accredited);
Course was co-facilitated and technical assisted by:
- Daniel Gegbeson, NEC Regional Coordinator (Semi Accredited);
- Moses Clarke, IFES Program Officer (Semi Accredited);
Course implementation and understanding
The course was quite intensive and participants were actively involved in all activities. Course was packed with different role-play activities, group works, icebreakers and energizers. From the beginning, participants were given guidelines for understanding of course methodology which is different from traditional lecturing style. For the rest of the days, participants worked in a group to prepare activities and present it. The make up of the teams was changed time to time so that participants had the opportunity to work with different people and share different experiences and knowledge.
Facilitators at all times used simple language in their explanations and presentations. They used different types of brainstorming, group-working and role-play tactics. Almost all basic trainers’ skills were followed.
The positive side of the training was discussion within the framework of the Module about the current position of the NEC in the field of sustainability, strategic planning and legal framework. Participants were involved in intensive discussion for each topic and found it very interesting.
Participants’ evaluations were unanimously positive. Participants made comments on needs for improvements in terms course agenda timing. All participants recommended extending the time of the course up to 5 days what would increase subsequently time for group work preparation and presentation. However, it was stated that they found the course an extremely useful and enjoyable which established positive and encouraging environment.
Content of the module was interesting to participants. All activities incorporated in the content were clearly understood. Facilitators were supportive to the new course facilitator (Senesee Freeman) and encouraging to participants. Facilitators performed their tasks with high diligence and commitment, what finally was reflected on course evaluation and participants’ demand to have upcoming BRIDGE course quite soon.