By Marie Doucey
International IDEA and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), with the support of the Swiss Confederation and USAID, organized two BRIDGE workshops in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on gender and elections and on media and elections.
BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) is a modular professional development program with a particular focus on electoral processes. These training courses were held from 8 to 10 and 12 to 14 December 2016, respectively, and were designed for journalists, civil society organizations included women organizations and the LGBT community, and representatives of the Haitian electoral body, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).
The main purpose of this joint effort was to strengthen the electoral capacities of the stakeholders in the Haitian electoral process, especially with regard to gender equality in elections and media coverage of the electoral process.
The Gender and Elections module focused on the ultimate desirability and importance of women's participation in the electoral process and provided insights on a number of gender-sensitive strategies and tools which have been proved to improve it, stressing the pivotal role of women’s advocacy groups in building supporting networks for women. It also included analyses and discussions on the best combinations between electoral systems and implementation of gender quotas.
The Media and Elections module trained the participants on electoral principles, structures and processes as they affect media regulation, campaign and voter education, and analyses the communication mechanisms with electoral management bodies (EMBs). It offered the participants the opportunity to jointly develop a draft Code of Conduct for journalists in electoral matters.
A total of 55 people (41 women among them) completed the workshops, and expressed very positive feedbacks on their experience and learnings.
Widespread internationally, the BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) methodology combines participatory adult education techniques with a distinctive activity-based approach. It acknowledges the importance of building local electoral administrative capacity consistently with the diversity of experiences and operational environments of the participants, thereby encouraging dialogue, sharing of knowledge and participation.
Source: International IDEA