On 6-7 February 2018, the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators Network (PIANZEA) delivered a two-day BRIDGE workshop on strategic planning for 23 participants in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The participants came from 14 PIANZEA member Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) spread throughout the region, including: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea/Bougainville, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
The strategic planning module aims develop more effective long-term planning for elections and hence elections with greater integrity. The two day workshop introduced participants to the value and benefits of strategic planning and discussed why some EMBs fail to plan and the consequences therein. The workshop also provided an overview of the strategic planning cycle and the steps involved. Participants were encouraged to understand and apply those steps to their own contexts. Most participants were senior managers from their respective EMBs, which demonstrates the network’s commitment and interest in this key topic.
The facilitators for the workshop were Mr Jiv Sekhon, Australian Electoral Commission (AEC); Mr Desmond Tsianai, Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC); and Ms Vake Blake, Tonga Electoral Commission (TEC). The team was excited to utilise the updated strategic planning module recently released as part of the Version 3 BRIDGE curriculum update process. Additionally, Mr Desmond Tsianai was accredited as a workshop level BRIDGE facilitator at the end of the program.
Participants at the workshop appreciated the introduction to strategic planning concepts and the methodology introduced, as well as the opportunity to discuss electoral issues and planning with fellow EMBs from across the region. Some feedback from participants included:
Thank you for your sharing and I learn a lot from this training
Learning about the planning cycle is a more orderly way to plan
I learnt a lot on planning ‘If I fail to plan then I plan to fail’
Excellent knowledge and skill set to watch the connectivities of planning and action plans. Great workshop!
Reinforces knowledge and experience – applicable to all aspects of planning. Thank you – great effort!
The PIANZEA Network will continue to support delivery of BRIDGE workshops for members over the coming year with sub-regional workshops planned for respective EMBs. As always, facilitators are identified from within the PIANZEA network thereby building the capacity of EMBs in the network. The AEC currently serves as the Secretariat for the PIANZEA network and is generously supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs in administering a multi-year program of capacity building for PIANZEA EMBs, including BRIDGE training.