What we do
NIMD has worked in Colombia since 2010, and we provide technical assistance for the organizational and programmatic strengthening of political parties and movements, and public bodies and institutions across the country.
While the National Government of Colombia and the militant FARC signed a Peace Agreement in 2016, challenges remain, including a lack of public faith in government institutions, widespread poverty and inequality, problems with organized crime, and recurring episodes of political violence.
NIMD Colombia helps address these challenges through support to the implementation of the peace agreement, the strengthening of the democratic capacities and cooperation between national authorities and political parties, and the promotion of women, young people and other underrepresented groups in politics. Our approaches include democracy training, research, advocacy, dialogue interventions, and technical assistance.
In 2021, we launched a new five-year strategy, The Promise of Democracy, which is focused on strengthening democracy in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda, because without progress on peace, justice and strong institutions, it will be impossible to achieve its goals. The Promise of Democracy also works to address the growing disconnect between representatives and the people. Voters often do not feel heard or represented by politicians, and the growth of democracy has not led to social justice and equal opportunities for all.
Our strategy responds to this situation with three combined approaches:
- Innovation in democracy: we use technology and innovative methodologies to transform political processes under the principles of the open government agenda: transparency, participation, integrity, inclusion, accountability.
- Peacebuilding: we focus our interventions in the territories deeply affected by the conflict, which also have low rates of political participation of women and youth.
- Gender equity: we work to build equal, inclusive, intersectional and violence-free political spaces that recognize the value of women in decision-making and integrate their agendas and interests.
NIMD Colombia is committed to supporting women in politics and implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We are a proud member of the LEAP4Peace Consortium, an international initiative that seeks to promote the full and meaningful inclusion of women in political and decision-making processes as a condition for maintaining peace.
We work directly with female politicians in Burundi, Colombia and Myanmar, providing mentorship, technical training, and networking opportunities, as well as seminars and online learning platforms on gender equity, inclusivity, and political parity.
In this way, we ensure that women can work for the consolidation of peace by participating in public decision-making.
We are also implementing our Gender Roadmap for Inclusive Political Parties (GRIPP), a five-step process that promotes non-discrimination, equal political rights and the participation of women and men in political parties and movements.
And we are seeing progress, with the number of women MPs in Columbia rising with each election, and women appointed to more senior positions. Political institutions are also increasingly sensitive to the threat violence against women poses to political inclusivity and are taking steps to address this. To help achieve this aim, NIMD Colombia established the Observatory on Violence Against Women in Politics, a network of experts and NGOs working in this space
NIMD Colombia runs Democracy Schools in some of the most volatile regions in the country, where activists frequently face violence and abuse. But by coming together and sharing their experiences, a new generation of Colombian leaders are building their strength, knowledge, and skills.
With funding from the European Union, NIMD runs Democracy Schools across Colombia, welcoming civil society organizations and aspiring politicians from all parties in regions most affected by the conflict.
The curriculum included topics such as democratic theory, political reconciliation, debating skills, and enhancing women and marginalized groups’ participation in politics. By providing a safe and open space for politicians to train and debate, NIMD sought to bolster reconciliation between the once-warring groups within the country.
And in 2021, NIMD Colombia and Colombia’s Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) launched their first ever School for Dialogue, Innovation and Leadership, bringing together political journalists and social, political and community leaders for training in leadership, political innovation and open governance.