UNDP supports NEC’s journey toward Excellence in Elections

MONROVIA: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners (Ireland, Sweden, the European Union, and the European Partnership for Democracy) held a BRIDGE Train the Facilitators (TtF) workshop from 14 – 24 February, in Ganta, Nimba County for the National Elections Commission (NEC) officials and other stakeholders engaged in electoral processes.

The workshop was part of technical assistance to enhance long-term capacity building and institutional strengthening. Building Resources in Democracy and Elections (BRIDGE) is the most advanced professional development program with a particular focus on electoral processes to develop skills in areas crucial to the effective operation of an institution.

Nineteen (19) participants, including the Commissioner of NEC, the Executive Director, Directors, Magistrates, Assistant Magistrates, and representatives from civil society and academia completed the TtF together with three university professors whose participation in this workshop will assist in extending this most advanced learning methodology into the Liberian education system.

BRIDGE is a comprehensive professional development curriculum developed by-election professionals and is intended for knowledge sharing. It is composed of several modules addressing different election topics and components in democracy.

Using advanced interactive adult learning, BRIDGE training methodology includes real-life scenarios and simulations to facilitate the experiential learning process. One of the main components of BRIDGE is a TtF, which delivers advanced facilitation skills and builds local trainers’ ability to produce and deliver high-quality capacity-building interventions by using the same tools and resources used in any other developed countries.

This program represents the most advanced methodology and a database of electoral knowledge. The TtF provided the participants with access to international comparative electoral literature and analytical materials to further enhance Liberia’s democratic governance knowledge and electoral framework.

The BRIDGE methodology aims to immerse the participants in an engaging and rewarding learning process that explores options, lessons learned, benefits, and challenges of numerous aspects in the field of electoral administration and sharing best practices from different countries.

During the certificate ceremony, the Chairperson of NEC, Davidetta Browne Lansanah urged the participants to use the facilitation skills acquired to effectively perform their respective duties. “I hope that you all will internalize the knowledge gained to make a meaningful impact. There is real interest in BRIDGE, and we will continue to support more training initiatives,” said Lansanah.

Talking about the impact of the workshop, NEC Assistant Magistrate for Margibi County, Deddeh Rita Kollie who partook in TtF said, “I have been facilitating trainings and I was convinced that I am a great facilitator, but this TtF has given me a very different perspective of how to effectively facilitate training. Going forward, I will never be the same again. BRIDGE has reinforced my confidence, and it has shaped my career in the right direction”.

Through the Liberia Electoral Support Project (LESP), UNDP and its partners are providing technical assistance to enhance the institutional capacity and accountability of electoral stakeholders by employing a comprehensive approach in more advanced areas of electoral operations.

“I am thrilled to have attended this workshop with my team. Experiencing the advanced BRIDGE methodology and fostering an enabling environment helps us promote critical thinking and innovative minds. We are dedicated to excellence in elections, and we stand by this promise,” noted Anthony Sengbe, Executive Director of NEC who participated in the TtF.

Having completed the TtF, participants are expected to demonstrate modern work ethics, influence their peers and other stakeholders, and increase cross-cultural understanding. By that NEC will serve as a platform for innovative work practices, influencing other stakeholders and the Liberia society.

“This BRIDGE TtF provides a vibrant learning opportunity for us to harness valuable skills that will enhance the management of elections” emphasized Commissioner Barsee Kpangbai, a participant in the workshop who further said that developing a research mindset open to innovation will propel the NEC forward and influence a stronger Liberia.

BRIDGE implements various approaches, including coaching, on-the-job training, mentoring, facilitation of the processes, and review of the internal organizational structure, processes, rules, and procedures. The aim is to develop skills in areas important in the participants’ work, with emphasis on understanding the relationships between tasks to effectively meet tight deadlines.

Developed in 2000 by the Australian Election Commission, International IDEA, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), UNDP, and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD), BRIDGE supports the strengthening of national capabilities in elections. The BRIDGE curriculum undergoes three major revisions and updates. The content is regularly updated and aligned to the latest developments and global lessons learned.

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