Simon Osborn, NDI's resident director in Uganda, began his international career in democracy and governance with NDI in 1994, when he was invited by the Institute to take part in a round table discussion on electoral systems with various parties in Amman, Jordan. Over the years, he has headed international election observation teams in Armenia (1996), Ukraine (1999) and Guyana (2000-1); supported civic groups monitoring their own elections in Uganda (2000, 2001, 2006 and 2011), South Africa (1999) and Kenya (1997 and 2002); and has worked with parliaments and political parties in Slovakia (1997-8), Azerbaijan (1999), Ethiopia (2005) and Uganda (2007 – present).
Prior to joining NDI full time in January 2012, Mr. Osborn ran the European donors election support program for Uganda’s 2006 multi-party elections. He also designed and initially managed their Deepening Democracy program before focusing on programs supporting parliament and political parties.
Since January 2012, he has been managing the Institute's programs to enhance political participation and accountability in Uganda, such as NDI's innovative U Speak program that enables citizens to communicate directly with their MPs by text message and allows MPs to aggregate this information to improve their contribution in parliament and respond directly to citizens’ concerns. The Institute has also worked closely with the Ugandan Parliamentary Forum for Youth Affairs and youth civic groups to enhance representation of youth in parliamentary debate and increase MPs' accountability. In September 2013, NDI successfully secured funding from USAID to strengthen civil society advocacy and foster dialogue between citizens and their political representatives.