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News / October 23, 2020

Promoting More Policy-Focused Parties Through Civic Organizing


CEPPS is proud to release our technical leadership project on Promoting More Policy-Focused Parties Through Civic Organizing. You can find the full guidance note on our website!


Executive Summary

In democratic systems, political parties should provide opportunities for citizens to oversee or influence their government. In many places, however, political parties are too weak, too personality-driven, too constrained by oppressive governments or too out of touch to play this critical role in democratic governance. Developing more vibrant and inclusive democracies requires citizen-centered approaches that help people increase their engagement with and influence over political parties. While the theoretical foundations for this approach appear strong, analysis of lessons learned from practical experiences are limited.

Under the Global Elections and Political Transitions Leader with Associates grant, technical leadership activities help enhance USAID and partner capacities to conduct elections and political transition programming worldwide. As part of its technical leadership initiatives, the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) recently examined the conditions under which civic organizing – such as anti-vote buying campaigns, citizen policy platforms, and other forms of advocacy – can help promote more policy-focused, citizen-centered political parties.

As part of the initiative, CEPPS:

  • Conducted a literature review;
  • Held a peer review roundtable discussion with democracy and governance practitioners, academics and transparency/accountability professionals;
  • Conducted desk research (Belarus, Slovakia) and field research (Liberia, Uganda) to identify lessons learned from four programs; and
  • Developed a guidance note based on the literature review and case studies.

Highlights of the guidance note include the following:

  • A theory of change for using civic organizing to promote more policy-focused parties.
  • A framework for considering different contextual factors that could have implications for programming: political space; institutional and structural factors; political party capacities and interests; and civil society dynamics.
  • Four recommendations for strengthening future program design and implementation.


To learn more about Promoting More Policy-Focused Parties Through Civic Organizing, visit our technical leadership page!


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