Strengthening democratic infrastructure

Strengthening democratic infrastructure

Our Goals

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.

Our Approach

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 in impartial and inclusive, with the aim of bringing people together across ideological divides.

Find out more about our training initiatives on our Democracy Education page

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.

Find out more about these initiatives on our Dialogue page

Meet the Team

Femke Lee
Programme & Knowledge Advisor

Femke Lee is NIMD’s Programme & Knowledge Advisor working on supporting responsive political actors.