International IDEA organises a BRIDGE TtF with a political parties focus

14 March 2012

International IDEA in conjunction with NIMD organised a Train-the-Facilitator (TtF) course from 6 -27 February 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa. This TtF was born out of the Strategic Partnership between IDEA and NIMD (The Netherlands Multi-Party Institute).

International IDEA is a founding partner of BRIDGE and is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to support sustainable democracy worldwide. This TtF was organized by International IDEA’s Africa programme, from its regional headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa.

The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) is a democracy assistance organisation of political parties in the Netherlands for political parties in young democracies. Currently working with more than 150 political parties from 16 programme countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and

Eastern Europe, NIMD supports: Joint initiatives by parties to improve the democratic system in their country; the institutional development of political parties; and Efforts to improve relations between political parties, civil society and the media.

The participants at the TtF were mainly from NIMD and their country affiliates – all working in support of political parties’ development. One of the critical areas of the work with political parties is around elections. BRIDGE will provide these practitioners with a valuable tool to build the capacity of political parties to engage in the electoral process. Most of the participants are based in Africa with a few from Latin America and one from the South Caucuses.

Give the composition of the participants – who are mostly working with political parties the facilitation team chose in the first and second set of paired presentations to highlight those parts of the BRIDGE curriculum that are of particular relevance to political parties.

For the first set of paired presentations groups were assigned activities to present from the following 4 modules:

• Parties and Contestants

• Party Financing

• Electoral Dispute resolution

• Gender and Elections

In order to assist the participants to understand the functions of the EMBs especially in relation to the interaction with political parties; during the second round; pairs were provided with 10 different modules – Gender and Elections; Civic Education; Electoral Assistance; Polling, Counting and Results; Electoral Management Design; Electoral Observation; Electoral Systems; Legal Framework; Media and Elections and Voter Registration. During this process, the participants were instructed to choose an existing Key Understanding; develop a new Learning Outcomes and to design activities though which they could assess participants in their understanding and achievement of the Key Understandings and Learning Outcomes. The major task during this round was aimed at participants developing activities with content that exhibited a clear political party focus.

An additional element that International IDEA is now using in all its BRIDGE trainings is to incorporate a monitoring and evaluation component. The key aspect of this M&E system is the Reintegration Plan.

The Reintegration Plan is a tool that helps participants to define their own actions and priorities for how they will use the knowledge acquired during the BRIDGE training when they get back home. This approach has the advantage of allowing flexibility in setting indicators to measure – as each participant has their own unique context. This avoids the organisers from setting generic indicators that may not be applicable to each person.

Follow up evaluations – Participants are contacted some time after the training has ended and asked to report on their progress in implementing their reintegration/action plans. Often this is 6 and 12 months after attending the training.

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