(June 5, 2022) The ECOWAS Commission, through its Electoral Assistance Division organized a Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Elections (BRIDGE) Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop with funding from the GIZ. The workshop was held from May 26 to June 05, 2022, bringing together 28 election actors from the ECOWAS region in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire.
BRIDGE is a modular professional development program with a particular focus on electoral processes. it represents a unique initiative where five leading organizations in the democracy and governance field have jointly committed to developing, implementing, and maintaining the most comprehensive curriculum and workshop package. The five BRIDGE partners are the Australian Electoral Mission (AEC), International IDEA, IFES, the UNDP, and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD).
The overall objective of the BRIDGE “Train the Facilitator” course is to achieve effective and sustainable results in electoral administration, build the capacities of Electoral Management Bodies trainers and other electoral actors with a view to strengthening national institutional capacities and electoral processes. Another objective of the training was to expose participants to workshop facilitation techniques, as well as tools and resources for maintaining good electoral practices and culture in the region.
The training, which was facilitated by Pathé DIENG, accredited BRIDGE Facilitator, Fanta TRAORE, Co-Facilitator, and Luther BAROU as Workshop Facilitator, was also meant to accredit high-quality Bridge facilitators within the region. This is particularly relevant in today’s West African context where empowered citizens and strong institutions are key to democratic progress.
At the end of the Grand Bassam workshop under the leadership of Pathé DIENG with Fanta TRAORE and Luther BAROU at his side, the participants managed to develop an effective and appropriate standardized training framework and methodology based on well-defined principles, operational rules, and procedural guidelines to measure the integrity and credibility of electoral processes in the sub-region.
During the 10 days of intensive training, participants mastered the educational objectives, key messages of the Bridge learning framework, the learning stages, and above all, to possess the cross-cutting themes. Participants were reminded that BRIDGE was all about ATTITUDE, so they learned the skills of a good, credible Bridge facilitator.
The 28 electoral experts thus strengthened their capacities of the training services of the EMBs and other stakeholders in the region on the fundamental thematic issues related to the BRIDGE training modules. At the end of the training, participants joined a pool of accredited BRIDGE facilitators in the region.
At the opening of the workshop on May 26, 2022, the Director of Political Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Remi Ajibewa, cautioned participants to work to master the methodology of BRIDGE and gain supervised experience in running the Bridge Project.
The Accrediting Facilitator, Pathé DIENG, welcomed the initiative of ECOWAS and GIZ to train its experts and thereby strengthen their capacities in order to build real resources in democracy, governance, and elections.
Head of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, Dr. Francis Gabriel OKE said, “holding this training is an opportunity to encourage all participants to make the most of this training of Bridge trainers”. Dr. Oke told participants it was a privilege to be selected among many to attend the training and encouraged participants to make better use of the opportunity provided to them.
Participants appreciated the opportunity provided by the ECOWAS Commission to participate in such a rich program with a life-changing experience. Liberia was represented by the Executive Director of Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, Eddie D. Jarwolo and Patience M. Russell of the National Elections Commission.
Eddie promised to use the skills and knowledge to contribute positively to Liberia’s electoral processes through the Young Political Leadership School Africa and the Elections Coordinating Committee, “we can make our elections peaceful, better and participatory working across the 3 stages, 8 steps and 32 activities of the electoral cycle”, he said. He also thanked the ECOWAS Commission for the opportunity provided to him and others to learn and to be able to contribute to improving electoral integrity in the region.