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NDI

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Liberia

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Liberia has celebrated more than ten years of peace since the end of their civil war in 2003, transitioning from a country working toward political stability to one focused on democratic transformation. Building upon Liberia’s successful transition to peace, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is implementing two programs to bolster citizen participation in the political process and consolidate democratic institutions.

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Building Citizen-Centered Political Engagement

In February 2013, NDI launched a multi-year program to strengthen citizen-centered political engagement. The program’s two main objectives are to:

  • Increase the political organization capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and develop legislative advocacy skills to influence government policy, and
  • Assist the legislature in creating more opportunities for citizen participation through forums such as meetings and public hearings.

Working With Local Partners to Build Legislative Advocacy

In an effort to build legislative advocacy networks, NDI has collaborated with three CSO partners to influence legislators in passing laws and creating policies on some of the country’s most pressing issues. With support from NDI, these partners have conducted citizen-led investigative missions, produced informative reports and policy papers, and developed a strategic lobbying agenda that includes meetings with legislators and public hearings. Some examples of initiatives taken by local partners to build legislative advocacy campaigns are:

  • The Southeastern Women’s Development Association (SEWODA) focuses on women’s empowerment and gender equity. Most recently, SEWODA compiled a citizen monitoring report on the dire state of schools in the southeast region of the country, led an investigative mission accompanied by community legislators and local government representatives, and used their findings to draw much needed attention to the challenges facing the region's schools.
  • Land rights and concession agreements are a major cause of conflict in Liberia. The Consortium on Natural Resource Management (NRM) recently completed a policy paper critiquing the current management structure of concession agreement decision-making in Liberia, and are lobbying legislators with proposed solutions for concession and land reform.
  • The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) network conducted investigative missions to examine the availability, quality, acceptability, accessibility, and affordability of sanitation and water services. WASH used this research to advocate lawmakers for a more streamlined approach to managing the country’s water and sanitation challenges.

Enable Legislature to Engage With Citizens

NDI also works with the legislature and other government ministries to host public hearings and incorporate citizen testimony into the legislative process. NDI has provided technical assistance by volunteering session topics, working with legislators to develop programmatic agendas, and encouraging witnesses and civic groups to participate in the process. As a result, the legislature has asked CSOs to provide input on policy drafting or lawmaking on 23 occasions in the program’s first two years.

To further strengthen constructive legislative advocacy, NDI is partnering with the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) and the Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), to monitor and report on the performances of individual lawmakers and the legislature on issues such as efficacy, transparency, and accountability.

NDI also supported the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI) work to produce an interactive radio program for citizens called “Legislative Spotlight.” This widely accessible radio program offered legislators a platform through which to communicate ideas directly to citizens and receive feedback. Additionally, NDI partners had the opportunity to highlight their engagement with the legislature and advocate for desired policy changes.

Strengthening Electoral Processes

A successful constitutional referendum and a credible general election in 2017 will be important steps towards bolstering citizen participation and restoring voter confidence in Liberia’s democratic governance. NDI is partnering with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in a five year program to strengthen Liberia’s capacity to manage, observe, and engage in election processes.

Engaging Civil Society Throughout the Election Process

NDI’s primary objective is to promote meaningful civil society engagement in elections. NDI is partnering with the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), a coalition of civic groups dedicated to enhancing the credibility of Liberian elections, to assist in implementing a long-term election observation mission, including activities such as:

  • Monitoring voter registration;
  • Observing the process in which parties select their candidates;
  • Implementing civic and voter education activities;
  • Monitoring and observing a potential constitutional referendum and 2017 general election; and
  • Advocating for electoral reform based on electoral observations.

The upcoming election cycle is an important opportunity for the ECC to continue its development as the country’s premier civic election monitoring coalition.

In addition, NDI will provide assistance to Liberian civil society organizations to deliver country-wide civic and voter education on critical electoral issues and events. NDI will also support CSOs that work to  foster notions of active citizenship and build relationships among diverse civil society organizations, in the hope of sparking  future collective action on issues of common concern. NDI will work with its civil society partners to 1) improve their ability to collect information and analyze barriers to the participation of marginalized citizens from the election process and 2) develop voter education strategies that incorporate targeted messaging and communication channels in order to reach these groups.

Funding

NDI’s past and current programs in Liberia have been funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Embassy of Sweden (EOS), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Humanity United.

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:

Monrovia, Liberia
Laura Nichols, Senior Resident Director
[email protected]

Washington, D.C.
Gemima Barlow, Program Director
[email protected]

Liberian Lawmakers Watch Website
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Published Publication Title Author
02/19/2016 Step­down Training Toolkit on Legislative Engagement
Training Toolkit
National Democratic Institute
08/31/2015 Monitoring Reports of the Citizen Observatories in Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee Counties, Liberia South-Eastern Women Development Association (SEWODA)
06/24/2015 Civic Updates
Civic Update
National Democratic Institute
03/06/2014 Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
02/01/2014 NDI-Liberia E-newsletters
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2013 Liberians Speak Out: Results from 14 Focus Groups
Focus Group Report
National Democratic Institute
10/23/2013 Increasing Women’s Political Participation Through Effective Training Programs: A Guide to Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Training Manual
National Democratic Institute
06/28/2013 Press Release: Meeting of the West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) on the Status of Implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in West Africa
Press Release
West Africa Election Observers Network
06/12/2013 West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) Field Guide Series
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
05/29/2013 Gender Equity in Politics (Policy Seminar, Liberia)
Report
National Democratic Institute
10/17/2012 Youth Development and Job Creation: Toward the Fulfillment or a Robust Youth Development Process in Liberia
Report
National Democratic Institute
09/19/2012 Election Law Reform: The Need for a Sustainable Democracy (Policy Seminar, Liberia)
Report
National Democratic Institute
06/27/2012 Gender Responsive Budgeting: A Social Challenge (Policy Seminar, Liberia)
Report
National Democratic Institute
05/16/2012 Decentralization: 'Which Way to Go?' (Policy Seminar, Liberia)
Report
National Democratic Institute
04/03/2012 Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and Code of Conduct for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observers and Monitors
Declaration
11/11/2011 November 2011 Liberian Presidential Runoff Statement
Statement
Elections Coordinating Committee
10/31/2011 Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women's Political Participation (Now available in Burmese)
Manual|Handbook
Julie Ballington
10/13/2011 ECC Press Release Condemning Recent Statements by Certain Politicians
Press Release
Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC)
10/12/2011 ECC Statement on the Liberian Elections
Statement
Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC)
03/16/2011 Liberia: Elections Coordinating Committee Statement on the Voter Registration Process
Statement
National Democratic Institute