Ever more countries are working to build plural democratic polities. For many building demoracy is synomous with rebuilding their socities after protracted periods of conflict. The challenge for most often is to (re)build economies and governmental structures that are accountable and responsive to the needs of their citizens, with very limited domestic technical and political capacity. The Forum for Freedom and Democracy seeks to assist these countries by providing countries in transition with access to comparative experiences on democracy building and fostering partnerships to promote participation, accountability and effectiveness at all levels. We do this by offering programming in the following areas:
FFD seeks to promote credible and transparent electoral processesas the foundation of building a sustaining democratic polity. We provide independent expertise to strengthen electoral systems by supporting local institutions and CSO groups with strategic engagement with electoral stakeholders to promote political party reform; legal reform involving the legislature; civic education; election monitoring and observation; and gender mainstreaming in the electoral process.
Checkout the CANEOM website for information on recent bilateral election observation missions organized by the Forum: www.caneom.ca
Empowering Women’s participation in Democratic Governance
We aim to support women’s empowerment and political participation through supporting political parties to strengthen internal processes geared to advancing the role of women within the party structures; training women to organize and mobilize public support for their election to public office; and supporting elected women to become effective role models and drivers of change to promote affirmative action and address gender gaps especially in public institutions.
Political Party training
Political parties are an essential part of any democracy. They are often the key vehicle for political representation, as well as the key channel for democratic accountability. Institutionalization of the political parties is therefore essential for the building of a stable and responsive political system. Training of political parties therefore is focused on helping parties in emerging democracies improve their performance as the main medium of popular expression, which includes helping them on organizational issues such as internal democracy, transparency and outreach.
Constitutions are the foundation on which democratic institutions are built. While each constitution is a product of a country’s own social, political and historic context, facilitating access to comparative lessons learnt provides actors have more options to consider. FFD is therefore committed to providing technical assistance to stakeholders engaged in processes of constitution building, and provide access to resources that allows all stakeholders the opportunity to strengthen their participation in the processes of constitution building.
Media Capacity Building
Independent media serve as an important vehicle for public and voter education and also a check on capricious government policy. They are a necessary element of democratization, particularly in newly democratizing and post-conflict societies. FFD works with local partners to build to build domestic capacity to report in a professional, transparent and unbiased manner.
CSO Capacity Building in States in transition
Vibrant civil society is vital to building pluralist democratic polities. The CSO sector is usually very weak in countries undergoing transition to democracy or in post-conflict societies. FFD programming in the area of CSO capacity building aims to strengthen the skills, competencies and abilities of people and communities in developing societies so they can overcome the causes of their exclusion and marginalization. The program aims to support organizational development, not only within organizations but also the management of relationships between the different organizations and sectors.
Reflecting Public Opinion Research to Foster Responsive Governments
Utilizing data, research and analysis to track government performance is an important tool in measuring outcomes, providing policy advice and holding governments accountable. As government transitions towards democracy statistical analysis and public opinion polling data gage government performance and provide valuable feed-back of its policy orientation and impact. Providing impartial indicators and statistical analysis will assist governments assessing its performance in democratic transition, increasing responsiveness and transparency.
Rule of Law
The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, and not arbitrary decisions by individual government officials. The authority of law within the context of a democratic polity should act as a constraint upon capricious behavior of government officials. FFD’s programming in this area identifies best practices, and offers training programs for policymakers and practitioners to understand and promote the rule of law.