Ukrainians Participate in World’s First Online BRIDGE Training
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Ukraine has been under general quarantine. Government ministries, academic institutions, businesses and media outlets are all now seeking ways to continue to meet their mandates and conduct their work online. With local elections on the horizon, commissioners for the Central Election Commission (CEC) appointed less than six months ago and new leadership in key government ministries such as the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC), the need for high-quality adult learning remains high.
To address this need, from May 5-7, 2020, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the joint CEC-IFES Center for Electoral Training conducted a three-day online workshop on political finance using the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) curriculum. Held via Zoom with the approval of BRIDGE partners, it was the first BRIDGE training ever conducted online. There is still significant demand for BRIDGE modules, which make up an international professional development program with a primary focus on electoral processes.
The workshop gathered 10 NAPC and five CEC representatives and helped encourage greater coordination and cooperation between key stakeholders of political finance oversight in Ukraine in combating political corruption. The workshop strengthened participants’ understanding of key aspects of political financing, including donation and spending limits, reporting and effective sanctioning along with international standards and good practices in political finance regulation.
A team of experienced facilitators, Mykhailo Gorkusha, Anastasia Matvienko, Aliona Sheshenia and Evgeniy Krikopolo, designed and conducted the module, with the support of the joint CEC-IFES Training Center and guided by Meredith Applegate, IFES program adviser for Ukraine and BRIDGE facilitator. The facilitators were also supported by a moderator, an interpreter and other logistical support.
IFES received excellent feedback from the participants:
“I enjoyed the workshop because it contains a large amount of information provided to us in an interactive forum. Such interactions allow us to have a better perception of the proposed material. I liked working in groups; during our discussions, in breakout rooms, we had an opportunity to share our opinions. Through the group activity, I was deeply involved in the workshop, which helped me to understand the topic and to memorize material better.” – NAPC representative
“Thanks to the fruitful discussion, interactive methodology and various tools used during the group activities, it became possible not only to obtain new information but also to gain a new vision for specific processes of political financing.” – CEC representative
Following the first online BRIDGE workshop, IFES developed an Online BRIDGE Political Finance Pilot: IFES Lessons Learned Report providing an overview of recommendations, lessons learned and the online tools used by facilitators and participants. On May 20, IFES organized an online debrief for representatives from the Australian Election Commission, United Nations Electoral Assistance Division, United Nations Development Programme and International IDEA. During this debrief, the team of facilitators shared insights about the tailored curriculum, the use of online platforms, lessons learned, ice breakers and energizers. The representatives were impressed by the training’s level of interactivity and requested additional information to inform future online BRIDGE workshops.
Drawing on the success, lessons learned and interest expressed by the training community globally, IFES designed and conducted a series of trainings of trainers for international facilitators and Ukrainian trainers from partner organizations. This will equip professional trainers with practical skills to address the challenges associated with developing and conducting interactive online workshops. The participants will also receive the IFES’ Facilitator’s Guide on Online Adult Teaching: Key Lessons in English and Ukrainian.
The BRIDGE training was made possible through the support of the United States Agency for International Development, Global Affairs Canada and UK aid.