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Int’l experts boost Jordanians’ electoral management capacities

By Camille Dupire - Jan 31,2018 - Last updated at Jan 31,2018

Employees from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) perform an activity during a training on electoral management at the IEC headquarters in Amman on Wednesday (Photo by Camille Dupire)

AMMAN — Thirty-one employees from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) are currently receiving training by international experts, as part of a programme aimed at developing capacities at the crossroads between leadership and election management.

"The Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) programme is not a regular training directed by subject matter experts. Instead, we focus on facilitating capacities in a Socrative way which enhances trainees' participation and involvement," said trainer Steadman Harrisson, CEO of Go Innovation. 

The LEAD training, which is implemented by European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL-LBB), started on Tuesday, ten days after the arrival of the training team.

"We spent a while working on the cultural customisation of the programme, mostly by Arabising it to suit the local environment," said Aous Qutaishat, adviser to the IEC chairman, noting that "this does not only mean translating the material, but also adapting it to the cultural values and local practices in order to have a stronger impact."

For Tareq Bataineh, director of administration and finance at the IEC, this adaptation to the Jordanian context was "extremely useful" for better understanding of how to handle electoral matters and in-staff management.

"I began using the methodology taught by the trainers when assigning tasks to my staff. For instance, I started providing 80 per cent positive feedback and 20 per cent negative comments when assessing co-workers' performances," he told The Jordan Times at the training, noting that "I believe this greatly helps in building and boosting staff capacities."

Head of the software department Suhair Rahhal for her part stressed the importance of this five-day workshop in better understanding how to deal with actors involved in the electoral process.

"On voting day, we have over 5,000 IT people working in the polling stations across the Kingdom, and it is crucial for me to be ready to face any developments or situations during each step of the process," she explained.

"We noticed that, since the beginning of the training, employees started interacting much more with each other, sharing common issues and problems they face in their daily work," Franck Balme, a French electoral expert conducting the training on Tuesday.

LEAD, which is defined as "a flexible learning tool" by its organisers, includes workshops on betrayal, transactional trust, growth mindset and listening, among others, through interactive tools such as storytelling, hands on activities and visual imagery games.

"These people already know all about the elections as this is the core of their job," explained Harrisson, stressing that "however, they rarely have the techniques and the skills needed to become trainers themselves, which is what we are providing them here."

 

Trainees will then move on to become trainers themselves, both within their communities and later at the regional level, according to ECES coordination advisor Martina Garbuglia.

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Comments

On behalf of GOinnovation and my colleague Steadman Harrison, I'm commenting to take exception to the way Steadman has been quoted near the end of the article, and to offer a gentle correction and additional context.

It has been a privilege and an honor to train the talented men and women of the IEC these two weeks (alongside Steadman and our ECES colleague Franck Balme). We have great respect for their talent and ability and recognize that before we ever came here, the IEC had already scaled out electoral training to more than 70,000 people across Jordan. There is no sense in which we are providing something new, something they did not have already.

To be more specific: At no point during our meeting with the author did my colleague say the following: "they rarely have the techniques and the skills needed to become trainers themselves." It is unfortunate that the author did not use a recording device and so we must simply offer our word against hers. However, we ask that anyone interested in this speak with the IEC trainers who were part of our program. Ask them whether they believe that quote reflects the way we have worked with them these two weeks. We have already spoken with a few who have confirmed to us that that quote surprised them, as it does not reflect what we have told them in the classroom, and does not reflect what we believe.

Here is the truth: I suspect the author misheard or misunderstood Steadman when he was explaining our relationship with the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) around the LEAD training we conducted. ECES and the LEAD curriculum specialize in combining leadership training with elections content. Steadman is the co-founder of the LEAD curriculum (more than 12 years ago). He was recently asked by the head of ECES to join with the Jordan team to help update specifically the leadership development portion of the LEAD curriculum. We honor the elections and training knowledge already present in the IEC, and we also honor the request of ECES to help specifically update the leadership portion of the LEAD electoral management training.

We honor and respect our IEC colleagues and have formed deep friendships these two weeks. We deeply apologize if this out-of-context quote has caused any confusion or negative feelings. We look forward to continuing to support the talented trainers we've worked with and are excited to see how they will continue to scale out excellent training across all of Jordan.

Cordially,

Rory Tyer, on behalf of Steadman Harrison and GOinnovation

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