League of Arab States BRIDGE Workshop

15 May 2012

The League of Arab States (LAS) organized and sponsored this BRIDGE workshop to build the technical capacity of its election observation mission to Algeria who deployed to Algeria to observe the legislative election in May 2012.

This training workshop is a part of the ongoing collaboration between the United Nations Development Program – Regional Center in Cairo (UNDP-RCC) and the League of Arab States (LAS) on election and governance fields.

This collaboration has started last year when both RCC and LAS agreed to conduct together a roundtable seminar for Arab EMBs to be hosted by the LAS following to the successful regional BRIDGE workshop that took place in Amman in December 2011. LAS approached RCC through RCC’s regional electoral consultant to assess the training needs to build its technical capacity on election observation and to organize an intensive BRIDGE workshop for LAS election observation mission to Algeria. The intensive BRIDGE workshop designed to cover significant parts of four modules: legal framework, electoral systems, election observation, and polling, counting & results.

The training took place in the premises of the League of Arab States in April for 120 members of the mission to Algeria. The training workshop was followed by a seminar for 12 participants on managing election operation room and report of election observation mission. This seminar was attended only by 12 selected senior officials who will run and manage the operation room in Algeria. The training was sponsored by LAS and inaugurated by senior officials of LAS to emphasize the importance of the training including: Ambassador Ahmed Ben Hely – Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Wagieh Hanafy – Chief of the Cabinet of the Secretary General and the Chief of the Mission to Algeria, and Ambassador Ali Jaweesh – Director of Election Department. Based on LAS’ request, UNDP-RCC election consultant helped LAS to assess the training and technical assistance required for LAS election observation mission to Algeria.

Several assessment meetings were held with different members and officials of the mission. Initially, the output of this assessment phase was to conduct an intensive BRIDGE training to cover four modules of BRIDGE methodology: legal framework, electoral systems, election observation, and polling, counting & results. In a later phase, LAS asked for an intensive seminar for selected members of election observation mission on how to establish and manage an operation room during election. In addition, part of this seminar designed to cover reporting on election observation mission and how to draw a conclusion if the election abides to the international standards of free and fair election. Several activities, simulations, and role play were designed to help participants understand sophisticated parts of election process.

For instance, a mock election activity was conducted to show participants how to cast, classify, count, and announce the result of an election by using proportional system which will be applied in the legislative election in Algeria in May 2012. The BRIDGE workshop that targeted all members of the observation mission was followed by a seminar on how to establish and manage election operation room while in Algeria and how to craft an effective report on election observation mission.

The seminar covered the following topics:

Main functions of operation room

Management structure of operation room

Role and responsibilities of each member of the operation room

Logistics and requirements for operation room

Frequency of reports and statistics by operation room

Communication with stakeholders and members of the mission

Final report of observation mission

Three BRIDGE facilitators participated in the workshop:

1- Hassan Hussein – Lead Facilitator

2- Nabil Shalby – BRIDGE Facilitator

3- Samah Fathy – BRIDGE Facilitator

For the first time in Egypt, BRIDGE workshop is prepared and delivered by three Egyptian BRIDGE facilitators. It was a first BRIDGE training to be hosted and sponsored by the League of Arab States. Participants and officials of League of Arab States provided positive feedback of this workshop. The LAS representatives requested that this workshop becomes a first in a series of trainings targeting the LAS using different modules of BRIDGE over the course of 2012 / 2013. The following are some excerpts from LAS representatives and participants’ final evaluation and closing of the workshop: “I benefited a lot on the personal and professional levels which is reflected on the work field and acquiring a lot of experience.” “I have been participating in several election observation missions with the League, but this is the first time to feel that I am now capable and equipped to professionally observe elections” “The training is really positive and develops one’s understanding and adds to one’s experience in the field of managing/observing elections.”

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