The CEPPS Newsletter

Get important stories about elections around the globe. Delivered monthly.

Learning from Emerging Approaches to Party Programming


Traditionally, political party programs have focused on providing various forms of technical assistance to party activists and leaders. However, without strong incentives for change, greater organizational capacity alone rarely leads to more inclusive, responsive, and accountable political parties. As a result, assistance providers have started to supplement technical assistance to parties with interventions to incentivize more responsive, inclusive, and accountable parties. For instance, through issue-based voter education, debates, citizen platforms, and political process monitoring efforts, civic groups have tried to push political parties to: increase their focus on policies; involve citizens in policy processes; and improve service delivery. Although the theoretical foundations for these approaches appear strong, comparative lessons learned and best practices from practical experiences are limited. A deeper understanding of the efficacy of these approaches is needed to strengthen the effectiveness of political party programming.


To address these research questions, CEPPS/NDI will:

  • Conduct a literature review outlining the different types of civic interventions that have been used to incentivize more issue-based parties; existing knowledge of the strengths and limitations of each; and priorities for further research;
  • Through desk and field research, develop case studies examining selected experiences with these approaches, best practices, and lessons learned; and
  • Develop recommendations to strengthen future programming.


  • Under what conditions have civic interventions incentivized more issue-based parties?
  • Are these approaches more relevant/effective in some contexts than others?
  • What skills, strategies, and assets do civic groups need in order to be able to engage and influence political parties effectively?
  • What strategies can be used to ensure that policy processes include marginalized groups and reflect their interests?


Promoting More Policy-Focused Parties Through Civic Organizing

The final, published product examines 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.

Download Full PDF Product

Download Executive Summary

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Global EPT Leader Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-L-15-00007.
Explore More Technical Leadership