Strengthening democratic infrastructure
A democracy is only as strong as the infrastructure that supports it, and there are many building blocks needed to ensure a truly inclusive and responsive political landscape.
At NIMD, we help politicians and political actors connect with and strengthen all the pillars of society and government that implement and improve the checks and balances of democracies. Because for a democracy to thrive, political parties, politicians, parliaments, and local elected bodies must be responsive to the needs of their citizens and party members.
This means being receptive to the media, the judicial systems, the electoral bodies, and all other elements of the democratic infrastructure. It means that decision-making in parliaments and legislatures must be open and transparent to citizens. It means strengthening the structure and procedures within political parties so their positions on key policy and legislation are substantiated. And it means ensuring that peace and reconciliation processes are inclusive, to prevent countries continuing down the path of polarization.
NIMD has extensive experiences working at all levels of political processes, from training electoral officials to supporting peace processes, and our flexible approach means we have the knowledge and expertise to tailor our programmes and assistance to specific contexts.
Supporting responsive political actors
Within a society, people have different needs, depending on multiple factors, and in some cases these can become competing interests between different groups. A thriving democracy has parties and institutions that understand the diverse needs of their people, and pass effective legislation to supports those needs.
Working as a parliamentarian, party member, or campaigner in a multiparty democracy is like every other profession – it requires specific skills and expertise to navigate the complicated landscape. And in countries where democracy is young or fragile, political actors can lack the confidence and experience needed to fulfil that role.
Having supported more than 200 political parties around the world, NIMD has a diverse and flexible approach to assisting political parties, political actors, and other institutions to develop the appropriate skills set to contribute to well-functioning democracy.
To be successful, political actors need to be able to identify and rally around common needs and issues; represent needs and interests in parliament’s legislative process; build coalitions with civic actors; and develop and present concrete policy proposals. We can provide specific support for policy analysis and offer training to help parties develop clear and realistic policy positions. We also bring parties closer to voters by helping them draft manifestos, democratize their candidate selection process, and improve the representation of women and marginalized groups.
All our work with political parties is impartial and inclusive, with the aim of bringing people together across ideological divides.
Strengthening electoral infrastructure
Free and fair elections are at the heart of every democracy. When they are held in open, transparent circumstances, they build trust between politicians and broader society, and foster collaboration between opposing political forces.
Ensuring elections meet the high standards needed to cultivate this trust is a key challenge, especially in countries with young or fragile democracies, or countries emerging from conflict where the political landscape is deeply polarized.
At NIMD, we have extensive experience in supporting electoral processes, including through tailoring training programmes for election officials, party agents, and local observers. Dialogue is also a crucial aspect of our electoral support initiatives. Creating and maintaining a safe and trusting environment for elections is important for long-lasting peace, and NIMD works to achieve this by organizing dialogue platforms between political parties throughout the election cycle.
During electoral campaigns, we also work with partners to raise awareness of important issues, for example highlighting the platforms of people from marginalized groups, or supporting campaigns to prevent political violence.
Ahead of elections in January 2021, NIMD Uganda launched the #IChoosePeace campaign, targeting individuals, groups and organizations involved in the elections and urging them to conduct themselves peacefully and shun electoral violence. Read more.
NIMD works to close the divide between politicians and people around the world, and in Colombia in 2020 we ran online training for Democracy School alumni in citizen oversight, with a particular focus on monitoring authorities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
Meet the Team
Tayuh Ngenge is NIMD’s Programme & Knowledge Advisor working on supporting responsive political actors. Tayuh has over 15 years of experience at HQ and field levels on democracy, human rights and rule of law assistance and promotion, with a regional focus on sub–Saharan Africa. Prior to NIMD, he worked in different roles for various organizations including Amnesty International, International IDEA and the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law. He holds postgraduate law degrees, diplomas and certificates from the University of Yaoundé, the Central European University, Emory University, KU Leuven and Leiden University.