We take on some of democracy’s toughest challenges with locally-centered solutions.
Currently funded by USAID’s Global Elections and Political Transitions (GEPT) award, our programs support elections and political transitions in today’s rapidly changing political landscape.
a unique approach to achieving the GEPT objectives.
locally-driven, sustainable solutions.
hand-in-hand with local and international experts on the ground.
inclusive, gender responsive and intersectional programming that promotes the empowerment of marginalized populations.
GEPT’s two foundational objectives are infused into everything we do and provide a basis for all of our programmatic objectives. We are focused closely on:
Democracy is more likely to develop and endure when all members of society are free to participate equitably in political processes and influence political outcomes without discrimination or reprisal. There is growing evidence that increased participation in political processes by traditionally marginalized groups results in concrete democratic gains, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, economic progress, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and more sustainable peace.
CEPPS sees capacity-building as a long-term process applying evidence of improved performance to strengthen individuals, organizations, institutions, and systems to function more effectively, efficiently, and sustainably. CEPPS places the development of sustainable organizational and institutional capacities within a broader understanding of how systemic change happens. In particular, CEPPS acknowledges a country’s political dynamics and the need for individuals and groups to work together to politically affect change, as well as the importance of creating and sustaining incentive structures that promote good governance and accountability.
Our Programmatic Objectives leverage both our team’s decades of combined experiences and an extensive network comprised of local and global partners.
Achieving meaningful participation from all citizens within their existing political systems allows governments more transparency, accountability, and responsiveness. Realizing this inclusiveness requires input from all members of society, including those who have traditionally been marginalized, like women, youth, LGBTI individuals, people with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous groups, and other minority groups.
CEPPS encourages citizens to organize collectively and take political action in a number of ways and through many different types of programming. Recently, many of these programs have integrated new technologies to help empower marginalized groups.
We connect global youth leaders, practitioners, and donors to identify trends and challenges impacting youth political participation and leadership with the CEPPS Youth Democracy and Governance Cross-Sectoral Initiative. Through this collaboration, they expand existing knowledge on cross-sectoral programming, identify good practices for employing intersectional approaches, and contribute to new and existing efforts to develop Positive Youth Development-informed initiatives across sectors.
We harness media and technology to expand citizens’ understanding and engagement, as well as to promote a transparent political competition.
We have offered media-specific training to local stakeholders through our work with CEPPS associate partners Internews and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) as well as local and regional partners on the ground to teach across all platforms including digital media, how to engage on mobile news apps and social media platforms.
CEPPS worked with a number of media and technology outlets to reach the public during the 2019 election. Engagements included training journalist on election-related issues in Tunisia, leading to six separate news episodes featuring election-related topics by three radio stations. They also used these platforms to broaden their social media presence and link to additional information. CEPPS also produced an electoral song titled “The Dream Never Dies” to address growing disillusionment with the democratic transition, particularly among youth.
CEPPS supports transition processes that establish positive precedents and encourages effective democratic governance. Peacefully changing leadership is one of the most challenging aspects of democracy. We believe early interventions that promote dialogue and build consensus among former political adversaries can overcome winner-takes-all politics.
We work to create positive dynamics among government and opposition officials, electoral opponents, civil society organizations, and the public. Because of our long-term relationships with local partners, we help create a network for sustaining relationships across societal and political divides.
As a result of their participation in violence mitigation events coordinated by CEPPS in Sierra Leone, youth groups committed to supporting peacebuilding efforts and collaborating with local authorities–including the police–to maintain peace in communities. Local stakeholders also shared hotlines for reporting threats to peace and local leaders of political parties encouraged the de-escalation of tensions in the interest of building stronger communities and a more cohesive society.
We promote the integrity of elections as a way for peacefully and democratically choosing leaders.
Electoral integrity means that an election follows international norms and is not subject to undue influence. Sometimes, the electoral process is compromised the misuse of resources or manipulation of the law.
That’s why CEPPS is committed to helping local partners advance electoral integrity both as an end goal and as a means for ensuring accountable governance. We do this by:
We work to ensure that the electoral rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are protected by ensuring new communities with large displaced populations have a voice in how they are governed. In Ukraine, CEPPS successfully advocated for IDPs resulting in Ukrainian lawmakers to lift legal barriers that prevented millions of Ukraine citizens from voting where they actually live and work. Since the armed conflict in Ukraine’s east and the illegal occupation of Crimea began in 2014, some 1.2 million people were displaced in Ukraine. The Ukrainian electoral management body, the Central Election Commission (CEC), has now adopted the procedures that regulate the registration of such voters, thus ensuring hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians their right to vote.
CEPPS helps politicians fulfill their responsibilities to citizens through better governance practices. Democracy is strengthened when politicians are able to do their jobs effectively.
CEPPS supports elected politicians by:
CEPPS has helped local parliamentary monitoring organizations develop a set of international norms. These norms empower local actors to improve the accountability of their government officials. We supported a coalition of more than 160 parliamentary monitoring organizations from 80 countries. They worked together to develop the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness, which has since been endorsed by a number of parliaments.
We believe competitive and representative multiparty political systems:
CEPPS supported Nicaraguan youth by offering a political leadership certificate program. Nearly 1,000 of the participants in the program have now taken on greater leadership positions in their parties and are working to implement reforms.
Democracies depend on impartial electoral and political legal frameworks. These frameworks provide the rules by which states can transfer power. They also protect fundamental rights, foster inclusive participation, and permit citizens to hold politicians accountable.
CEPPS supports these efforts is by assisting states in developing a strong electoral justice system. If the rules governing disputes are vague or don’t provide remedies, the adjudication process can be unfair. This undermines public trust.
We support justice system arbiters to enforce the law and engage the public using our Guidelines for Understanding, Adjudicating, and Resolving Disputes in Elections (GUARDE) and other proven training tools. This allows citizens with complaints around the electoral process to feel heard and know that justice will be served. We put local political parties, election management bodies, parliaments, civil society organizations, and democracy activists at the center of democratic reforms and institutions.