Ethiopia BRIDGE Workshop
22 January 2009
In 2008, UNDP and other bilateral donors have set up a broader capacity building program known as the Democratic Institutions Programme (DIP) in support of the Government of Ethiopia’s Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP). The National Election Board of Ethiopia has been identified as one of the key partner/beneficiary institutions of this program.
However, until the NEBE sub program of the DIP is formulated, NEBE and donors have agreed to undertake interim capacity building activities for new members of the board. Hence a series of trainings and study tours (including the BRIDGE course training) have been selected with the aim of equipping the NEBE with basic skills to:
Understand and implement the electoral cycle,
Manage possible challenges which may occur during the post-election period
Develop project documents and identify execution and implementation modalities
After a series of meetings with UNDP governance staff, board members and secretariat of NEBE, the following workshop topics were suggested:
Introduction to Election Management
Election Management Design
It has been also suggested to put emphasis on the role of stakeholders and the conflict resolution as two major challenges facing the NEBE according to the assessment of the Board.
Initially, the workshop was planned to cover 5 days (15-19 December). However, due to the engagement of the Board with another workshop with political parties, the workshop has been split into 2 parts: 15-16 December & 20-22 December.
22 participants attended the 5-day workshop as follows:
7 members of the Board, including the chair and deputy chair
9 members of the secretariat including the chief and his 2 deputy
6 UNDP staff from the governance unit
All participants showed high commitment and engagement with BRIDGE. In the final evaluation, all participants stressed the need for more BRIDGE training, not only for staff at headquarter of NEBE, but also for staff in the different regions.
The workshop has been facilitated by 3 facilitators. 2 fully accredited facilitators: Emad Yousef & Alexandra Hovulaque, and 1 semi-accredited facilitator, Maja Tjenstrom, who successfully completed the field part of the accreditation Hence, becoming a fully accredited facilitator.
Evaluations from each day showed an overwhelmingly positive response to the hands-on participatory style of the BRIDGE facilitators. Participants stated that the various activities and group projects gave them practical knowledge that they could readily use in their work. They also cited learning the importance of some practices that were previously thought to be minor (i.e. how boundary delimitation can change the outcomes of elections). Participants also stated that group exercises helped them learn that by bringing the various ideas of the board members and the secretariat together, they could foster efficiency and functionality. They further stated that the final group exercise showed them the importance of taking ownership and responsibility for the various tasks associated with the electoral process (i.e. staff development plan, creating the election calendar, and the communications plan.) Additionally, there was a particularly positive response to the section on day 4 on conflict management as it seemed practically useful for elections in Ethiopia.
During the final/overall workshop evaluation almost all participants cited the practical applicability of the knowledge acquired through the workshop in their work. Many believed a longer, more intensive/ in-depth training would be very beneficial to them. Participants also stated that they would recommend such training to political parties, media covering elections, and all other stakeholders. Another suggestion by many of the participants was the inclusion of electoral systems in the introduction module as they believe it is the cornerstone of elections. They also suggested the use of more visual aids such as videos.
Quotes by Participants
“Course promoted and efficiently provided practical information and knowledge for coming elections”
“Course was greatly usable and useful to fulfill our task as the EMB for Ethiopia”
“The new knowledge I’ve gained will help me do my work efficiently and also increase my commitment to do the job.”
“I have participated in various other training workshops and I believe the participatory nature of the BRIDGE workshop has made it the best in terms of retainable information.”
“While I believe the training modules are very useful, I believe the training must be much longer in order to be fully effective.”
“It might have been even more useful if you could have also approached the training from the Ethiopian election system perspective.”