The first BRIDGE Workshop in Egypt
17 July 2007
Twenty participants representing the Ministry of Justice, Parliament, State Court, the National Council for information, Civil Society organizations, and UNDP attended the 5-day programme that marked the first time BRIDGE has been conducted in Egypt.
In the last few years, Egypt has witnessed a rich debate regarding electoral reforms. The country has revised its constitution allowing for directly electing the President. Other amendments were introduced last May included the establishment of an independent election commission. In less than a year, Egyptian electorate has been called three times to cast votes in three different elections. These included Presidential elections, Parliamentary Election and Shura Council elections.
The overall objective of the training was to provide representatives of Egyptian election stakeholders with comparative experience and knowledge on issues central to electoral reform in Egypt. To this end, the training was tailored with a special focus on selected components of the BRIDGE modules to enhance the knowledge of participants in the following areas:
- International Standards and Principles of election administration
- Different types of election management bodies around the world and the role of election administration
- Principles for electoral systems design
- Comparative electoral systems and their consequences
- Electoral reform processes and advices for decision makers
- Principles of voter registration, different types of registers, and issues to consider in voter registration process
- Quota and the principle of representation.
The training sessions witnessed rich debates concerning the training topics. Comparative experiences from the region and other parts of the world helped participants in assessing their own local experience pointing out some best practices and lessons learned.
The training was overwhelming appreciated. In their daily, as well as final evaluation, the participants highlighted the importance and effectiveness of BRIDGE methodology, training curriculum, and facilitatorsâ€™ performance. They stressed the need for more BRIDGE training to cover other important aspects of election.
The facilitation team comprised 5 BRIDGE facilitators: Emad Yousef– IDEA, Ossama Kamel-IFES, and three semi-accredited facilitators who were granted full accreditation after their excellent performance in preparing and conducting the training: Amal Alazzeh– UNDP, Shuhub Ahmad and Hendrin Salih from the High Election Commission of Iraq.
It is also worthwhile to note that this training comes as an integral part of a broad programme between BRIDGE projects partners in the region to introduce and expand BRIDGE in the Arab world. UNDP, IFES and SCER (Supreme Commission for Election and Referenda in Yemen) organized two capacity building workshops in 2005 and 2006 covering the ten training modules of the BRIDGE curriculum version1. In November 2006, International IDEA conducted the first Arab world â€˜Train the Facilitatorsâ€™ (TtF) for 20 participants from 9 Arab countries. A second TtF in Arabic will be conducted in Amman early Sept 2007 followed by a show case and BRIDGE implementation workshop in October 2007.