Despite widespread problems on election day, Nigerians showed perseverance, creativity and discipline as millions went to the polls peacefully to elect a president and legislature on March 28, according to a statement by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), which fielded an international observation mission.
“The elections highlighted the strong and enthusiastic commitment of Nigerians to democratic processes and the possibility of determining the leadership of the country through peaceful, transparent and credible elections,” the delegation said.
The co-leaders of the NDI delegation, which included members from seven countries, were Johnnie Carson, a member of the NDI board of directors, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs and senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace; Mahamadou Danda, former prime minister of Niger Republic; Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado (U.S.); and Christopher Fomunyoh, NDI director for Central and West Africa programs. Read more »
On the eve of Nigeria's March 28 polls, the country's largest broadcasters dedicated a full day to peace programming with the goal of promoting violence-free elections.
During "National Media Peace Day," Nigerian media broadcast messages of peace throughout the country, marking the first time that a coordinated message had been so widely distributed and the first time that Nigeria’s broadcasters united behind a common theme. Read more »
To stem the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, neighbors are going door-to-door in Liberia as part of a grassroots, community-led effort to raise awareness on how to treat and prevent the disease in rural areas.
“This is the very first time a civil society organization is here to discuss and fight against Ebola with the community,” said a participant from the town of Old Sodoken in southeastern Liberia. Read more »
This year, the Madeleine K. Albright Grant will be awarded to the Worker Women Social Organization (WWSO), a group based in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Every year, the grant is presented to a new or developing grassroots organization that promotes the advancement of women and girls in politics.
WWSO will use the grant to build a core group of young women with leadership skills, civic values and democratic principles to become the next generation of Afghan political leaders.
A representative of WWSO will accept the award on behalf of the organization at the annual Madeleine K. Albright Luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 12. Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, and Afghanistan's First Lady, Rula Ghani, will also participate in the luncheon ceremony. Buy tickets »
A new round of NDI focus group research shows that citizens in Tunisia view last year's national elections as a successful step in the country’s transition to democracy. For the first time, Tunisians freely elected a parliament and president.
Responses in the January focus groups indicated that those who participated in the elections were driven by a sense of civic duty and a desire to change the country for the better. Read more »
In an op-ed in Canada's National Post, NDI highlights a recent campaign led by Yemeni youth activists to bring medical supplies and other basic necessities to civilians trapped in the besieged city of Aden.
“Despite the danger, these young people were able to help keep hospitals running and provide services to the needy in times of armed conflict,” says Jeff Fox, NDI's resident program director in Yemen, in the op-ed. Read more »
NDI offers its heartfelt condolences to the people of Nepal after Saturday's devastating earthquake. "Our hearts go out to the families of the more than 5,000 confirmed dead and the tens of thousands of Nepalis camped in the streets,” said NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright.
NDI is grateful that its staff members and their immediate families are all safe. The Institute is in close contact with them and is working to ensure they are provided for during this difficult time. Read more »
Recent NDI public opinion research reveals that Ukrainians are continuing to demand responsive government following last year's Euromaidan demonstrations.
In focus group discussions in January, respondents from Kharkiv, Odessa, Chernihiv, Lviv and Kyiv said that they wanted parties to listen and report back to voters regularly, and take actions consistent with their election platforms. Read more »
In celebration of International Roma Day, Chris Henshaw, NDI's senior resident director in Macedonia, shares a success story about a recent Roma internship project, discusses innovative work around women’s political participation and reflects on a decade of democracy work.
"After five years of our Roma internship project, we’ve seen a 100 percent success rate in those young people going on to either further employment or further education," said Henshaw. Read more »
In Morocco, citizens rarely have the opportunity to interact with their members of parliament, particularly outside of the election season.
As part of a program to help Moroccan MPs establish better connections with citizens, NDI traveled with a group of lawmakers to London in February so they could observe how the British Parliament helps its members connect with constituents. Read more »
NDI Director of Electoral Programs Pat Merloe testified at a hearing, “U.S. Election Support in Africa," on March 18 before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.
“Support for democratic elections in Africa should build longer-term democratic political dynamics that result in responsive, accountable governance,” Merloe said. “International election observation can play an important role in achieving peaceful, credible elections in Africa.” Read more »
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The National Democratic Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.