IFES Brings the BRIDGE Voter Registration Module to Zimbabwe

3 April 2017

IFES Zimbabwe in co-operation with the Zimbabwe Election Commission ZEC and with support from the European Union, organised workshop for Commissioners and senior members of the ZEC secretariat on 15 -17March 2017.

On the 15 March 2017, a highly customised, 3-day BRIDGE Voter Registration workshop was opened by Commissioner Ngoni Kundidzora at the Troutbeck Resort Hotel, Nyanga. A group of 30 people, six ZEC Commissioners and many senior members of the ZEC secretariat, were in attendance.

The workshop was comprised of a combination of activities from the recently revised BRIDGE Voter Registration module as well as activities written especially to suit the current context in Zimbabwe. The workshop was developed to meet some of the longer term Capacity Building needs of the ZEC and to introduce them to the methodology of BRIDGE as a Capacity Building tool. More importantly, the workshop offered insights into and planning opportunities on aspects of the work they are involved with in the intended roll out of the BVR process that will enable the upcoming 2018 National Election in Zimbabwe.

It also offered an opportunity for Commissioners and ZEC secretariat staff to build trusting working relationships and common understandings on the subject of Voter Registration – particularly BVR. The level of openness and collegiality displayed by all participants was very impressive indeed. They worked happily as partners throughout the workshop. In fact, several Commissioners commented that observers would have been unable to discern who the Commissioners and ZEC secretariat representatives were as they all appeared to members of the same “team”.

At the end of the three days, the participants took away with them a broad operational strategy on how best to develop and implement a BVR process and many concrete ideas to both inform and encourage Zimbabweans to participate in the process.

All in all, a very productive three days that not only served to build the knowledge and capacity of participants, but also appeared to create a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the development of Zimbabwe’s first BVR process. The methodology and content were very well received and all of the participants displayed intelligence, conscientiousness and energy in the activities presented to them. It was also encouraging that, repeated again and again in the participant satisfaction evaluations and in informal discussions outside the workshop, was a request for IFES to provide more such opportunities in future workshops.

As an important footnote, at the conclusion of the workshop, Shamiso Chahuruva was awarded her BRIDGE “Workshop” accreditation and Utloile Silaigwana has now, in my opinion, done everything necessary to progress to “Accrediting” status in the BRIDGE facilitator hierarchy. This is particularly important for Zimbabwe and the region more generally as it provides the local capacity to run BRIDGE Train the Facilitator (TTF) workshops and to accredit those progressing to “Workshop” status. Rejoice Sibanda needs only to facilitate a TTF and she too, in my opinion, will be eligible for progression to “Accrediting” status.

All three of my Zimbabwean co-facilitators showed themselves to be world class. They all exhibited excellent preparation, classroom control, humour and the ability to mentor and encourage. It was a delight to work with them. They are all to be congratulated.

Ross Attrill


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