UNDP's Commitment to Strengthening Democracy in Pakistan
September 27, 2023
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with the Government of Pakistan to support its development initiatives and the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of its primary areas of focus is democratic governance, wherein the UNDP offers technical assistance to strengthen Pakistan's electoral and legislative processes. Collaborating with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the UNDP recently conducted a ten-day Train the Facilitator (TtF) workshop in Islamabad as part of the Strengthening Electoral and Legislative Processes (SELP) Project. The workshop aimed to accredit facilitators who will play a crucial role in the ECP's ongoing training and professional development efforts.
The BRIDGE curriculum, a collaborative effort involving several international organizations such as the United Nations Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, among others, holds global recognition as a professional development resource for election administrators. BRIDGE workshops leverage an interactive approach to optimize knowledge retention, boost professional confidence, and drive transformative change within organizations. Proficient facilitators are pivotal in disseminating information, encouraging active participation, and enhancing the capabilities of electoral administrators, civil society groups, and stakeholders. The Train the Facilitator (TtF) Workshop provides participants with the essential tools and techniques needed to become effective facilitators, empowering them to wield their expertise and skills for significant contributions to the advancement and sustainability of democratic processes.
Empowering Facilitators: BRIDGE TtF Workshop in Islamabad
The BRIDGE TtF workshop held in Islamabad convened a group of 18 participants, which included three women from both the ECP's secretariat and regional offices. Over the course of ten days, the workshop covered a wide range of essential facilitation topics, such as BRIDGE history, methodology, training techniques, curriculum development, and its practical application in diverse contexts. Participants actively engaged in facilitated activities and received valuable feedback to refine their facilitation skills. They were given the opportunity to create their own training materials and frameworks for implementing BRIDGE.
The evaluation of participants primarily centered on crucial learning outcomes, including their ability to engage participants effectively, communicate clearly, plan and tailor materials, and monitor and assess progress. Assessment methods encompassed observations, role-plays, group discussions, and feedback sessions. The feedback from participants overwhelmingly expressed satisfaction with the workshop, indicating that it met their expectations and provided them with valuable and enriching learning experiences.
Objectives of the BRIDGE TtF Workshop: Building Skilled Facilitators for Democratic Progress
The BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Elections) Training-of-Facilitators (TtF) Workshop, organized jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Electoral Commission of Pakistan, had a multifaceted agenda aimed at equipping selected participants with the necessary skills and knowledge in BRIDGE content and methodology. This intensive workshop sought to provide participants with hands-on experience in conducting BRIDGE activities, empower them to adapt and create new BRIDGE materials and assess their capacity to facilitate BRIDGE programs to meet the required standards.
At its core, the workshop adopted a comprehensive approach to enhancing facilitation skills, specifically tailored to the context of electoral processes and democracy. This approach recognized the critical role that well-trained facilitators play in effectively delivering education and training in these vital areas.
Throughout the workshop, participants delved into the BRIDGE methodology, which is rooted in adult learning principles, participatory approaches, and interactive techniques. This methodology has proven to be highly effective in engaging adult learners and promoting active participation in the learning process.
The training was structured to cover a wide range of facilitation aspects, ensuring participants were well-rounded and proficient in their roles. Some of the key areas addressed during the workshop included:
- Designing Training Programs: Participants were guided in the art of crafting effective training programs tailored to the needs of the election personnel. This involved understanding the specific learning needs of election workers and tailoring content and activities accordingly to ensure the successful execution of electoral processes.
- Delivering Effective Presentations: Effective communication is fundamental to successful facilitation. Participants learned how to deliver engaging, informative presentations that effectively convey crucial information related to election procedures, voter education, and electoral laws.
- Managing Group Dynamics: In any election training setting, participants come with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. The workshop equipped trainees with tools and strategies to manage group dynamics within election teams, fostering a positive and productive learning environment to ensure smooth electoral processes.
- Handling Challenging Situations: Election officials often encounter challenging situations during electoral processes. The workshop provided guidance on navigating these situations, maintaining control, and ensuring that election objectives, such as fair and transparent voting, are still met even in the face of unexpected challenges.
The workshop was thoughtfully structured to incorporate a harmonious mix of theoretical instruction, hands-on exercises, collaborative group discussions, and dynamic role-playing scenarios. This comprehensive approach ensured that participants absorbed the theoretical knowledge and had the chance to apply it in real-world settings. Their facilitation abilities were tested, allowing them to receive invaluable feedback from seasoned trainers and fellow participants.
Achieving Training Excellence: Key Outcomes of the BRIDGE TtF Workshop
Enhanced Facilitation Skills: Participants significantly improved their facilitation skills by understanding BRIDGE methodology, training techniques, and effective communication. Improved facilitation skills can ensure that this training session is conducted effectively, leading to better-informed and prepared individuals for election-related tasks.
Curriculum Development: Workshop attendees developed proficiency in curriculum drafting, enabling them to create training materials and frameworks to address the unique needs of electoral processes. This outcome empowered them to design and adapt BRIDGE programs to meet the needs of diverse audiences.
Improved Training Implementation: Participants gained the knowledge and confidence needed to implement BRIDGE effectively in various settings. They learned to plan and customize materials to suit specific training goals and objectives of the elections. This translates into better-prepared election staff leading to the potential for more transparent, efficient, and credible elections.
Effective Monitoring and Evaluation: The workshop equipped participants with the skills necessary for monitoring and evaluating progress during BRIDGE training sessions. This outcome ensures that future BRIDGE training can be assessed and refined for greater effectiveness.
Gender Inclusivity: Including women among the participants highlights progress towards gender inclusivity in BRIDGE training. This outcome promotes diversity and equal participation within the ECP's secretariat and regional offices.
Positive Feedback: The overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants indicates that the workshop exceeded their expectations. This outcome demonstrates the workshop's success in delivering valuable learning experiences and meeting the needs of the ECP trainees.
* * * * * * * * * *