Deepening Democracy, the change we seek
Deepening Democracy, the change we seek
In almost all countries, no matter how poor or wealthy, serious issues with the functioning of democracy exist. Women, youth and other marginalized people are even worse off, as they are barely represented and their issues are rarely prioritized. They experience what in political science is labeled as a “disruption of the social contract’ or a “democratic deficit”.
It is important for innovative civil society organizations to join forces and enable citizens and citizens’ movements to gain more direct influence on, control over and participation in the different stages of the policy cycle, strengthen their ability to make their political representatives more responsive to their priorities and hold them accountable for their actions.
The project Deepening Democracy wishes to empower women, youth and otherwise marginalized citizens in seven countries to help them networking and forging alliances to gain more participatory and deliberative democratic rights and exercise more direct influence on the policy cycle, especially regarding:
- [Influencing the political agendas] To mobilize their fellow citizens, organize social movement, develop consensus-based citizens’ agendas, make political representatives and government officials buy into them.
- [Influencing policies and laws] To make people able to understand which policies and laws are being formulated, influence and amend the most pressing policies and laws or propose new policies and laws where these are missing.
- [Influencing the management of the public finances] To help them to be fully informed about how the government is gaining its revenues and allocating its resources, or mobilizing private investment.
We are creating a global alliance of organizations pioneering in this field in Brazil, Uganda, South Africa, Tunisia, Vietnam, Spain and the Netherlands, which will operate as a learning community and jointly develop tools, validate them and make them re-contextualizable.
All actions are structured in a 3 stages process:
- Formulating tailor made generic theories of changes in each of these three domains in all countries, according to the context-specific opportunities and challenges.
- Replicating Deepening Democracy in countries with similar backgrounds.
- Enabling the conditions for Deepening Democracy as a global alliance with a jointly agreed strategy for learning, tool development and joint advocacy.
Regular exchange meetings are held in a creative environment where democratic concepts and opportunities to influence the policy cycle are extensively discussed. By receiving inside views on how politics work in different countries we can build the way to review an change our own context.
This led to a number of unexpected outcomes and innovations with regards to the working of the tools, all of them underlining the importance of exchange workshops. For example, while in the pilot projects the tools are treated separately, the exchange workshops made clear that the tools are complementary to each other and when combined can create synergy.
The process is based on 3 lines, each presenting a test case (click to enter in the each page):
Agenda setting. The so-called “youth manifesto”
This tool originates from Uganda. It was further validated and applied to mobilize youth in Uganda, Brazil and the Netherlands to formulate their own agenda on youth unemployment and engage with political and executive officers to commit to the youth’ employment agendas. The tool proved easily adaptable and relatively effective in getting youth employment more on the agenda, in confronting political and executive officers with youth’ perspective on unemployment and in holding them afterwards accountable to take the right measures.
Policy formulation, endorsement and implementation the so-called “Follow the Law”
This tool originates from the Netherlands. It was expanded with citizens’ policy implementation monitoring tools and tailor-made to enable citizens in the Netherlands, Uganda and South Africa to follow the laws from initiation to formulation, amendment, endorsement, regulation and implementation; see which actors exercised which influence; and hold political representatives accountable for law making and executing. This proved a laborious tool to tailor-make to all contexts, but made an important political process transparent for all citizens, as they can access the tool on-line; and allowed citizens to actually know their laws and hold politicians and executive officers accountable for their effective implementation. It was seen as an added value for citizens’ participation.
Budget monitoring. The so-called “thematic budget”
A tool that originates from Brazil. It was applied in Brazil, Uganda and the Netherlands to make public budget information available on the themes of urban mobility, public health and racial equality, respectively – drawing all budget information from the different government levels and departments into an easy-to-read and understandable overview that allow citizens to see how much was allocated and spend in comparison to policy and citizens’ targets. The information was highly appreciated, as it came with a phone app that could easily be consulted and used for advocacy and accountability purposes.
World-wide development organisation that mobilizes the power of people against poverty. Around the globe, we work to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.
Network Democracy is a Dutch organization involved in democratic renewal. Network Democracy has been advocating for actual influence for citizens on political decision-making. Developing IT-platforms that increase political participation, but also transparency and accountability in the political decision-making process.
Is a consortium of 6 NGOs in Uganda which have been involved in Democratic processes, Social Accountability, Human Rights, Good governance and Livelihoods. In 2013 CEWIT joined the E-Motive family and has been active since then.
The Institute for Socioeconomic Studies – Inesc is a non-profit organization that has the purpose to contribute towards improving democracy with the aim of ensuring human rights. Created in 1979, Inesc has been working in national and international approaches based in four main action lines: Budget, Rights and Inequalities; Globalization: Development and Sustainability; Parliament, Democracy and Society; and Institutional Strengthening.
Movisie is the Dutch centre for social development. Their mission is to promote the participation and independence of citizens by supporting and advising professional organizations, volunteer organizations and government institutions. Five themes are central to Movisie's work: effectiveness; professionalisation; participation; combating and preventing domestic and sexual violence; social care. Movisie is a member of several international networks in the field of social development a.o. the International Council on Social Welfare.
The Seriti Institute strengthens community organizations for social health and local economic development. It uses large scale participatory methods, and in its systemic interventions forges partnerships involving communities, government departments, non-governmental organizations, civil society and business.
Phone number: 070 342 16 21
Phone number: +316 4184 2902