Joining ACE and BRIDGE together

23 September 2008


Organised by International IDEA and hosted by the Gorée Institute, the participants attended the second meeting of the ACE Regional Centres came from the eight of the ten participating organisations across the globe:


  • Commission Electorale Independante (CENI) – The electoral commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a regional focus on Central Africa.
  • The Centre for Electoral Reform (CETRO) – An Indonesia based institute promoting the strengthening of electoral processes.
  • EISA – a South Africa based non-governmental organisation, already a full ACE partner, working to strengthen electoral processes and good governance in Africa through research and capacity building.
  • Goree Institute – A Senegal based independent, Pan-African, Public Interest Organisation (PIO) promoting electoral reform and peace building in Africa.
  • Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) – A Kenya based institute that promotes democracy through programmes in the electoral process, voter education, research and dissemination programmes.
  • Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) – The Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico, the body responsible for organizing and overseeing federal elections in Mexico, already a full ACE partner, very active in capacity development activities for emerging EMBs
  • Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE) – The national electoral management body in Peru.
  • Resource Building Institute in Democracy, Governance and Elections (RBI) is a non-governmental organisation in Armenia. RBI facilitates and contributes to the sustainable state building and civil society building efforts through dialogue and policy development in the South Caucasus region.


The meeting served to introduce and consolidate BRIDGE as a tool amongst the regional centres. These centres would in future serve as important implementation points around the globe. Critical to this role would be the full accreditation of several of the participants as BRIDGE facilitators. The Senegal meeting served as an important strategic opportunity to fulfil accreditation for several of the ACE regional centres, as well as showcase some of the BRIDGE materials.




A two-day BRIDGE workshop was planned as part of the Senegal meeting with the following participants earmarked for full accreditation with Rushdi Nackerdien as the lead facilitator:

  • Corneille Nangaa (CENI)
  • Hadar Gumay (CETRO)
  • Ibrahima Niang (Goree Institute)
  • Immaculate Njenge Kassait (IED)
  • Alexandra Pravatiner Elias (JNE)
  • Ola Pettersson (IDEA)
  • Aleida Ferreyra (UNDP)


Accrediting seven people located across the globe in a two-day workshop presented some unique challenges. Firstly, the facilitators were all located across the world in different time-zones. Secondly, the facilitators would have limited contact time on Gorée in preparation for the workshop. The following were important factors that assisted in the process:

  • All the facilitators were fresh from a Train-the-Facilitator workshop and the information was still new in their minds
  • All had access to the internet, email and Skype (for communications) prior to the course
  • Critical coordination came from ACE Team based at IDEA’s Stockholm office in terms of communication flow
  • The agenda was carefully planned (drawing from the Introductory Module) and weighting the activities to ensure two sessions for each participant (one of which involved co-facilitation), as well as an ice-breaker or energiser per person
  • The pivotal involvement of an IDEA-based organiser of the curriculum materials for each facilitator, as well as the participants
  • Just over 50% of the facilitators had worked with the lead facilitator before in TtFs
  • Several of the participants were knowledgeable about BRIDGE and had already received their accreditation or had worked with BRIDGE before. 


With preparatory communications handled via email and Skype in the two weeks running up to the workshop, most of the facilitators had run through the materials with the lead facilitator online before they met on Gorée. All but two of the facilitators were able to arrive ahead of the workshop and could continue their preparations on-site. With everything in place, adaptations were made on the go, with no time to revise or reschedule, as everything had to fit into two days. Despite the tremendous challenges faced in the process, facilitators and participants enjoyed the experience. The following comments were drawn from evaluations about the course:

  • “That so many of the ACE Regional Centres have people capable of running BRIDGE in a confident way.”
  • “That people and countries go through similar experiences that need to be spoken about in other regions, so that we’re all aware of the impact that our experiences can have in other people’s way of dealing with their circumstances.”
  • “Two things: not being an election expert and at all knowledgeable, the show cases taught me a lot about the field and how complex it is, how important it is to be part of free and fair elections.  The skill level it showed how important it is to work in a team and be open minded.”


The two days of BRIDGE were also further enhanced by a session later in the week which dealt with implementing a BRIDGE course. Rushdi Nackerdien and Arpineh Galfayan spoke about the difficulties in running BRIDGE, discussing some of the preparatory components, as well as demonstrating the regional aspects of implementation, using the South Caucasus as a case study. This expanded participants’ understanding of the challenges facing the running of a BRIDGE course, as well as drawing on important best practices that ahs emerged over the years. Participants left Gorée Island enriched, enthused and reminded about the possibilities around BRIDGE and its usefulness around the globe. The joining together of ACE and BRIDGE in this manner represents an important development in the growing maturity of the elections profession. We look forward to seeing how the ACE regional centres use the BRIDGE curriculum in their work, along with the newfound accreditation that many of them now enjoy.



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