Semi-accredited BRIDGE facilitators for NEC and ZEC

20 May 2014

imageStaff from National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) attending a two-week Train-the-Facilitator (TtF) workshop in Bagamoyo

09 May 2014, Twenty one (21) staff from National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) recently graduated as semi-accredited BRIDGE facilitators after attending a two-week Train-the-Facilitator (TtF) workshop.  The workshop took place from 28 April to 9 May 2014 in Bagamoyo and was funded by the UNDP Tanzania under the project Democratic Empowerment Project (DEP).

BRIDGE stands for “Building Resources for Democracy, Governance and Elections” and is a comprehensive professional electoral curriculum based on adult-learning and participatory methodology. The workshop introduced the participants to the BRIDGE learning methodology, which has a strong emphasis on adult learning techniques by capitalizing on individual experience, knowledge sharing and peer learning.   The facilitation team comprised Zefanias Matsimbe, Shalva Tskhakaya, Emmanuel Kawishe and Khamis Issa Khamis.

Despite the fact that participants had no training and/or teaching background, they quickly mastered the BRIDGE methodology and excelled in the facilitation of sessions and delivery of ice-breakers and energisers. “It was our pleasure to observe how each and every participant developed and grew in confidence during the two weeks of the training” said Shalva Tskhakaya, the expert facilitator.

All 21 participants, 10 of whom were women, were granted a well-deserved semi-accredited status. The next step is for them to undergo further instruction through modular BRIDGE training under the tutelage of an accrediting BRIDGE facilitator before they become fully accredited and able to undertake BRIDGE training on their own.  Both the NEC and ZEC have agreed to work with DEP to support more modular training sessions in order to enable more EMB staff to become exposed to the BRIDGE training and for the 21 semi-accredited staff to become fully accredited BRIDGE facilitators.  The ultimate goal of this training programme is to create sufficient capacity between NEC and ZEC to accredit BRIDGE facilitators without reliance of external support.

Participants clearly appreciated the training, and many of them referred to it as a "life-changing experience".  Participants said they enjoyed each and every moment of the training and look forward to using the BRIDGE methodology and training techniques in their training programmes, particularly for the coming voter registration, the constitutional referendum and the 2015 general elections.

Speaking during the ceremony to hand over the certificate, the ZEC chairperson Honor Jecha Salim Jecha, said well-trained and confident staff are critical for the successful conduct of elections. He welcomed the UNDP support for the BRIDGE TtF workshop saying both ZEC and NEC will look forward to more training sessions to contribute to long-term professional development of the EMBs.