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Supporting Excellence in Elections

January 28, 2020 • By Erik Asplund

A group of prominent electoral experts from around the world met in Canberra, Australia in December 1999, to discuss the potential structure and content of a short capacity-building program for electoral administrators. They were asked to reflect on everything which, with the benefit of hindsight, they wished they had known when starting work on their first election. The knowledge they identified formed the basis for what has become the BRIDGE - Building Resources in Democracy Governance and Elections - curriculum.

BRIDGE is a modular professional development program with a particular focus on electoral processes. It represents a unique initiative where five leading organisations in the democracy and governance field have jointly committed to developing, implementing and maintaining the most comprehensive curriculum and workshop package available, designed to be used as a tool within a broader capacity development framework. The five partners are the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD).

The BRIDGE programme celebrates 20 years in 2020. As a result, the BRIDGE curriculum version 3 will be finalized as a global good. The BRIDGE curriculum includes 16 state of the art modules grouped into 4 main families namely: Foundation, Architecture, Administration and Participation.

Many of the modules have already been completed and are being used by electoral management bodies and civil society organizations around the globe. For example, in January 2020 the ‘Media and Elections’ module was used in Côte d'Ivoire to increase the knowledge and skills of journalists and bloggers about the role of the media throughout the electoral process; in December 2019 the Election Commission of Pakistan ran the module on ‘Gender Equality and Elections’ for Election Officers across Pakistan Provincial and District offices to develop strategies to overcome barriers to participation; also in December 2019, the Central Election Commission of Albania ran a workshop on ‘Strategic Planning for Electoral Management’ in order to familiarise senior officials with the steps, concepts and methodologies of strategic planning as a management tool.[1]

In 2019 BRIDGE was referenced by the UN Secretary-General as ‘key platforms for building electoral capacity and institutional memory and sharing knowledge at the global level’.[2] 

Last year International IDEA together with Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) and National Election Commission (CNE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) piloted a new module focuing on ‘Financing of Elections’ in Dili, Timor-Leste. The regional BRIDGE workshop was attended by more than 30 election professionals and electoral reform advocates from several South-East Asian countires looking to increase thier knowledge and undstanding of principled and effective financial planning.

During the workshop several of the participants shared their views about the value of the BRIDGE curriculum and methodology in general and the finance module in particular (please see videos bellow).

[1] For in-depth information about BRIDGE and the BRIDGE version 3 curriculum please visit the BRIDGE website via or the ACE Electoral Knowledge Website

[1] 2019 UN Secretary-General's report on electoral assistance, public UN document, A/74/285, at the following link:


For more information about BRIDGE please contact Erik Asplund

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About the authors

Erik Asplund
Senior Programme Officer, Elections and Crisis
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