Skip to main content

Coordinator: European Partnership for Democracy

AHEAD Africa

This pan-African project focuses on multiple facets of the electoral cycle in the continent. It aims to empower civil society across Africa, including citizen observers, in strengthening electoral systems and processes, so as to contribute to higher levels of electoral integrity in African Union member states. 

The underlying methodology of the Action is the AHEAD approach – Action for a Holistic Electoral Approach for Democracy – which emphasises that follow-up to election observation recommendations can be a key driver for more inclusive electoral systems, building public trust and preventing conflicts. By focusing on ‘electoral follow-up’, civil society can effectively advocate for democratic accountability and play a significant role in fostering transparent and accountable electoral processes.

AHEAD Africa logo
Funded by the European Union

This will be done by:

  • strengthening the capacities of CSOs to collaborate in regional and continental networks on matters of democratic governance, particularly on election observation and follow-up;
  • reinforcing the capacity of domestic citizen observer groups to meaningfully observe electoral and democratic processes;
  • increasing the evidence base on the state of democratic governance and civic space in the African Union member states;
  • reinvigorating spaces for dialogue, coordination and collaboration on electoral observation and follow-up, between CSOs, citizen observers and other stakeholders;
  • launching, accelerating and upscaling civic initiatives on monitoring, observation, dialogue and/or advocacy, incorporating tested civic tech solutions as needed.
Subscribe to the AHEAD Africa newsletter

AHEAD Liberia

This project aims at fostering a more inclusive and transparent democracy in Liberia. Based on EPD’s specific AHEAD approach – Action for a Holistic Electoral Approach for Democracy – to work holistically on electoral components to promote wider democratic reforms, it focuses on supporting the institutional capacity of the Liberian National Election Commission (NEC) in engaging with all stakeholders engaged in the country’s 2023 elections. The project is carried out in complementarity with the UNDP-led support to the NEC.

It mainly aims to:

  • Enhance the overall NEC capacity of implementing more regular and transparent communication mechanisms for political parties, CSOs, key electoral actors and strategic partners; and
  • Facilitate a steady information flow for the wider stakeholder community through regular information mechanisms.  
Funded by the European Union

Information and Integrity (Morocco)

This project aimed at strengthening the role of civil society in promoting transparency in Morocco. By providing digital tools and creating spaces for dialogue, this project supported civil society organisations in advocating, monitoring and evaluating transparency and anti-corruption policies in cooperation with public authorities and independent institutions. In addition, it sought to raise awareness among citizens of the benefits they can gain from more effective implementation of transparency policies. The main activities included monitoring and evaluating public policy, creating civic tech solutions, facilitating dialogue and cooperation, and awareness-raising. For more information, visit the project website.

African Union Civic Tech Fund

This project aimed to foster and support initiatives seeking to strengthen citizen engagement through innovative tools and digital technologies in African Union Member States. Through the use of the African Union Civic Tech Fund it showcased effective models of citizen-led transformative action across the African continent. The Fund focused on providing small grants to NGOs providing services in civic spaces and on initiatives led by small and medium businesses with a deep civic participation objective.

African Union Civil Tech Fund

CDWB | Combatting Disinformation in the Western Balkans

Following the aftermath of COVID-19 and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, disinformation, already considered endemic throughout the Western Balkans, experienced a sharp increase. While originating from various systemic issues within these countries, specific key common factors have been identified such as polarisation, skepticism towards EU integration, lack of pluralism, and state-owned media.

While foreign actors feature prominently, a significant share of disinformation in the Western Balkans is produced and disseminated by domestic and regional actors to undermine or delegitimise their political opponents. This fuels greater polarisation, hinders cross-communal cooperation, and undermines people’s confidence in democratic processes.

The ‘Combatting Disinformation in the Western Balkans (CDWB)’ is a project focusing, precisely, on tackling foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia. The project seeks to mitigate disinformation influence in the region by:  

  1. Actively involving citizens in raising awareness campaigns, media education, assemblies deliberation, consensus-making and decision-making.
  2. Analysing disinformation patterns, the media ecosystem in which mass media operate, as well as the respect of ethical professional standards by media to inform advocacy and dialogue sessions and subsequently implement activities tailored to disinformation tactics and strategies. 
  3. Contributing to the improvement of regulation both at national and regional level, without hampering freedom of expression.,
  4. Fostering capacity-building in fact-checking skills, increasing accountability and reliability of potential print media, broadcast media and internet media. 

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Funded by the European Union

WYDE | Women and Youth in Democracy Civic Engagement

WYDE Civic Engagement, the Youth Participation in Public Affairs project of the EU’s Women and Youth in Democracy Initiative aims to improve the enfranchisement, empowerment, and inclusion of youth in all levels of democratic participation at the national, regional and global scales.

WYDE Civic Engagement’s three-pronged approach is informed by the need for youth engagement and inclusion not only at national level, but beyond and above it. With half of the world’s population being under 30, the continued survival of democracy is highly dependent on buy-in and support among its youth.

WYDE Civic Engagement

The project’s 3 pillars

Global Advocacy and Research

Pillar 1

Our global advocacy revolves around the co-coordination of the Youth Political Participation and Civic Engagement, a collaborative platform of the Global Summit for Democracy. The Cohort aims at gathering youth stakeholders to build a common understanding and  advocate on youth issues. It plans to achieve this through two types of actions: policy dialogues and advocacy grants. More information on the Youth Democracy Cohort website and contact form.

The research component includes a set of research on the role of young people in democracy conducted by young academics and published through the European Democracy Hub as well as research on the cost of politics and elections and its impact for young people.

Co-creation Youth Clusters

Pillar 2

The project will also implement 5 different projects called “Clusters”, coordinated by EPD’s members and aiming at engaging young people active in public affairs, from civil society activists to politicians in an effort to empower them to advocate for more youth inclusion in society.  Each of the clusters brings together a number of representatives from each target group and from different countries in order to build their technical capacities, strengthen their advocacy skills and develop pilot actions to put into practice their know-how and ingenuity over time.

Quick impact actions

Pillar 3

Finally, the third pillar consists of quick-impact actions that will provide strategic support to local actors working on youth political inclusion and participation, always at the request of EU delegations. This support will include technical intervention and grants to support local civil society actors on the ground.

By working simultaneously in the different areas, the participants in the activities of WYDE Civic Engagement will form a Global Network of Young People Active in Politics. Based on its own experience, EPD will provide the necessary support to institutionalise the network and set-up cooperation mechanisms amongst its members.

Contact our team

Programme Manager

Jérémy Apert

Jérémy Apert

Policy Officer

Santiago Barrail

Santiago Barrail

Communications & Events Coordinator

Gwennaëlle Joret 2

Gwennaëlle Joret

Finance and Administration Manager

Andrea Mangiagalli

Grants Officer

Laura Pénot

Programme Assistant

Alexia Regas

Political and Electoral Participation Coordinator

Domenico Tuccinardi

The programme is funded by the European Commission DG INTPA under the WYDE initiative.

EU4Accountability  

Empowered Civil Society for Increased Social Accountability in Moldova –  Supporting Moldovan CSOs as actors of governance to improve social accountability

This project empowers Moldovan civil society organisations’ (CSOs) to better perform their role as actors of governance to improve social accountability of the local and central government of Moldova. It does so by strengthening the capacity of more than grassroot organisations from 10 districts to participate in, monitor and advocate for greater public accountability and to take part in policy dialogue with the Local Public Authorities (LPAs) and the central government.  A learning-by-doing approach will allow the capacitated CSOs to establish meaningful local partnerships and alliances with LPAs that will result in change-making coalitions to close the accountability gap and respond to the needs of communities. For more information, visit the project webpage.

Djuntu pa igualdadi! (Cape Verde)

A participatory response to gender-based violence

This project aimed to contribute to the fostering of a favourable legal, institutional and social environment in Cape Verde for the promotion of women’s rights, more specifically of those of GBV victims. The project sought to promote a climate in which public authorities paid respect to their obligations and women’s socio economic inclusion and participation in public life was increased. It was implemented by a consortium of four organisations: EPD, the Associação Caboverdiana de Luta Contra Violência Baseada no Género (ACLCVBG), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and Club de Madrid (CdM) and was funded by the European Union. For more information click here.

The Charter Project Africa

Strengthening systems of democratic governance in African Union member states

This project is a pan-African initiative that aims to strengthen systems of democratic governance in African Union member states, supported by the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and enshrined in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG). At the core of this project is a focus on providing multi-level support to civic initiatives that advance digital means for enhanced collaboration between citizens and AU policymakers, empowering civil society and facilitating the monitoring and implementation of the ACDEG. Activities will include creating a digital resource hub, launching Democratic Governance Initiatives (DGIs), and conducting context analysis and policy research on the AU governance infrastructures and continental, regional, and national drivers of cooperation. For more information, visit the project website.

Exploring Worldwide Democratic Innovations

In 2019, the European Partnership for Democracy and Carnegie Europe joined forces to establish the European Democracy Hub. The Hub is a focal point for work on democracy, bringing together analysts and policymakers engaged with EU democracy support and democratic challenges in Europe to produce a series of resources made available to the large audience.

Within the project “Exploring Democratic Innovations”, EPD and Carnegie will jointly conduct a cross-country study of innovative forms of deliberative and participatory democracy around the world. The objective is to explore forms of participation that are different from innovations in the West and that may help inspire ideas for reform for European states.

Explore the project on the European Democracy Hub website.

Learn more on the new website.
Download the compilation report

Case studies

AFRICA


Ghana

This case study on Ghana puts political parties under investigative lens, exploring how the country’s two main political parties have risen to prominence by innovating their structures. The most impactful innovation has been taking place at the heart of political institutions, through the decentralisation of political parties and their rejuvenation through incorporating grassroots voices into the party structure. Much of Ghana’s thriving democracy is rooted in its active citizenship and democratic debate that happens on the background of an animated political party membership.

Read the case study

Malawi

Two different innovations implemented at the local level were explored for Malawi: the Citizen Juries and the Local Governance Barometer process used for assessing performance in different policy areas. Citizen Juries had an effective role in bettering Citizen Development Funds, by providing input and oversight over the projects implemented. The Local Governance Barometer process highlights the importance of identifying the right stakeholders and ensuring that the deliberative process is inclusive and representative, for the success of participatory and deliberative democratic innovations.

Read the case study

Nigeria

In Nigeria, democratic innovations have been applied as a means to counter political apathy, enhance citizen participation and make government more responsive. Two locally-led and applied innovations are the Open Forum and the implementation of the OGP process, both functioning as a means for citizen input into government policy. The last innovation presented is the Option 4A, which is an innovative open ballot voting system that some parties now use in their primaries to select grassroots candidates.

Read the case study

ASIA


India

This case study looks at democratic innovations in what was once considered as the world’s largest democracy. The case study addresses two different democratic innovations. One innovation consists in the “little parliament” or Gram Sabha, which brings political participation and decision-making down to the smallest administrative unit – village level and can be considered as one of the most radical exercises in direct democracy globally. The other innovation analysed in the report is the Social Audit. This is carried out through a jan sunwai ( a public hearing) and acts as a mechanism through which citizens can organise and mobilise to evaluate the government’s performance in a particular policy area.

Read the case study

South Korea

This case study explores the innovation of Gwanghwamoon 1st Street, an initiative by the President’s administration to get citizen’s ideas, opinions and suggestions on policies directly through an online platform. Next, it dives into the contest held by Icheon City for citizens to propose social distancing measures in 2020, which were then implemented at city-level. Finally, the research dives into the deliberative polling exercise to decide on Korean nuclear energy policy, leveraging a debate between randomly selected citizens and a nation-wide poll to make a difficult and controversial policy decision.

Read the case study

Taiwan

This case study shares insights from Taiwan’s civic tech and gov tech experiences, showing how civic tech transitioned from oppositional politics to a more institutionally anchored role in facilitating inclusive decision-making in Taiwan. The research dives into g0v, a community of hackers and people from the open source community who have launched various initiatives to overcome the information asymmetry with government and crowdsource knowledge from citizens. It shows the path of institutionalisation of civic tech into gov tech, and its usage in policy deliberation under the vTaiwan platform. A must-read for civic tech and democracy nerds!

Read the case study

EUROPE


Georgia

The Georgian case highlights innovations in local government, government digital platforms, and political parties using digital tools, with both their strengths and limitations. The Local Self-government Code has created a deliberative and a consultative body at town and city level, with some very successfull cases where cities took over municipality decision-making. The digitalisation of government information and public services is studied through the my.gov.ge and the ichange.gov.ge platforms. Finally the Girchi political party’s use of a digital platform for fundraising, party primaries and direct engagement with their members sheds light on the way to strengthen representative bodies using participatory platforms.

Read the case study

North Macedonia

This case study shows some innovative uses of digital platforms for making policy-processes more inclusive and creating direct lines of communication between municipalities and citizens. The Green Human City platform is something between a civic tech policy crowdsourcing tool and a political party, showing how new forms of representation can place citizens in the centre of city planning. The mZaednica platform by municipalities shows that citizens have great, small ideas for improving city planning and governance, and appreciate getting their opinions heard when municipalities then take action based on these proposals.

Read the case study

MIDDLE EAST


Lebanon

This case study focuses on innovations within Lebanon, a country renowned for its unique political landscape. The case study looks at how organisations have used democratic innovations to cut across political divides and bring about policy changes, despite gridlocks and uncertainty. It explores several democratic innovations, each concerned with bringing about change in a different policy area – electoral integrity, electoral reform, and environmental policy. This case study shows how these innovations work and why they are relevant within Lebanon’s political context, and how they actively strengthen democracy.

Read the case study

LATIN AMERICA


This regional case study explores how two types of democratic innovations have been implemented across Latin America, a region with a long standing tradition in using democratic innovations. The first type of innovation, multilevel policymaking involves participatory processes with at least two levels of deliberation, which can take place simultaneously or subsequently. The second type presented, participatory planning is a type of democratic innovation whose modus operandi also resembles a process, regardless of its degree of institutionalisation and it involves one or more spaces or occasions where participants get together to deliberate on policies or policy plans. These innovations are each accompanied by four short case studies that describe how they have been implemented.

Read the case study

The “Exploring Worldwide Democratic Innovations” project was supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

  • 1
  • 2