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ZESN takes the 'bridge course' to Matebeleland
Election Support Network
May 15, 2012
refreshing, unique', are just some of the words that participants
have used to describe the just ended two-part, five day Building
Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) training
workshop organised by Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) in
Bulawayo, from 7 to 11 May 2012. 35 participants from over 30 civic
society organisations committed their time and experience to the
courses that were designed to help professionals in the human rights
and governance sector to craft programmes that are effective in
voter registration and civic education campaigns.
Ms Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, ZESN Director and co-facilitator introduced
participants to the programme explained that, "BRIDGE stands
for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections. It
is a 23 module course that covers all aspects needed for the training
of practitioners involved in democracy, governance and election
processes, which civic education is also a component. For this training
two modules voter registration and civic education were selected
specifically for practitioners in civil society. It was specifically
designed to equip Zimbabwean CSOs with advocacy skills and also
to identify and design projects that can benefit communities that
they work with to understand and fully involved in participatory
Despite the varying experiences that facilitators, Tomsie Dlamini
from South Africa, Taona Mwanyisa based in Zambia and Rindai Vava
from Zimbabwe had, they managed to shape the programme to apply
to the Zimbabwean context in a way that participants were able to
The course covered a number of aspects including voter registration
types and processes and the challenges faced in Zimbabwe, crafting
of election messages and how to involve marginalised groups such
as women, youths and people living with disabilities.
Speaking on the course content one of the participants remarked,
"I have found the workshop very useful especially at this
time when there are many speculations about when and how elections
in Zimbabwe will be conducted. Looking at the past election
experience of 2008, I would like to see a great change in the
way the next election is going to be carried out. This training
has equipped me with relevant information on how to mobilise young
people in my constituency to take part fully in the elections".
The teaching methodologies utilised varied from presentations, debates,
group activities, and energisers. These were very effective for
the mixed group of young and older human rights practitioners who
were coming from different regions, cultures and professional disciplines.
Participants were drawn from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South,
Midlands, Masvingo and Bulawayo. Most of them expressed interest
in taking up the full BRIDGE course which would enable them to become
facilitators of the same course to others. They called on ZESN to
make it possible for the group to do the remainder of the modules
so that they can be fully equipped to implement governance and democracy
programmes in their different areas.
the ZESN fact
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