In the scope of the Leadership Academy for the Youth Wings of the biggest four political parties – governing and opposition, plus Youth Wings from the smaller political parties with impact in the society, OSCE Mission to Skopje funded and organized this customized BRIDGE workshop. The workshop was conducted in Popova Shapka, Macedonia, from 2nd until 4th September.
The accrediting facilitators, Ljupka Guguchevska and Zage Filipovski, have been working on customizing the modular activities to fit the context and suit the participants’ needs. The emphasis was put on sessions on good political leadership, since the participants are expected to be future political leaders in Macedonia.
The purpose of this particular workshop was to strengthen the capacities of the Youth Wings of the political parties in Macedonia to face the challenges of the modern political leadership, especially within the political parties, where several guiding principles are imperative for their democratic setting and functioning:
- Freedom of organisation
- Freedom to stand for election
- Freedom of speech and assembly
- Fair and peaceful competition
- Inclusion in the electoral process
- Level playing field
- Media access and reporting
- Transparent and accountable political finance
- Internal party democracy
In the dawn of the early parliamentary elections scheduled for December 2016, Youth Wings should be prepared for the challenges they might face after the political crisis in the country.
Through the sessions of individual work, work in pairs, small groups work and whole group activities, participants experienced various aspects of the topic and practiced the skills they were objected to gain during the course. On the second and third day of the training, the participants, divided in two groups consisted of gender, ethnic, and political mix of members, faced a new challenge: Each group was supposed to develop their own political party with a fresh and progressive platform and organize a press conference to present their platform, goals, and campaign posters. After the parties were established, the groups worked on developing an international party structure, based on the four pillars of party sustainability, as well as profiling their party candidates for the upcoming Parliamentary Elections. On the final session, facilitators organised a debate between the two groups on the law amendment which proclaimed 40% participation on the party list of the less represented gender. During this session, participants could practice their debating skills through gender lances.
Both groups were highly motivated and enthusiastic, and managed to reach the objectives successfully. Both teams concluded that with joint efforts and unity they can always achieve more!
This was the first time this group of participants experienced the BRIDGE methodology. All of them highly appreciated the positive learning environment that facilitators created, the encouragement for participation and discussion, the appreciation for diversities of background and opinions throughout the course, and the quality and usefulness of materials. Their evaluation and comments were very positive, stating that they would gladly recommend BRIDGE to their colleagues, and that they are looking forward to the next BRIDGE workshop in Macedonia.