Since 2020, NDI has supported youth in the Southern and East Africa (SEA) region to enhance their political participation through the Political Party Leadership Institute (PPLI) program. Recognizing the role and impact that youth party leaders have on democracies, the program provides training support and mentoring assistance to young political party members to enhance the capacity and to implement self-initiated projects that position them to contribute to formal political party processes effectively. PPLI training modules include skills building sessions in communication strategies, stakeholder mapping, fundraising, public speaking and networking. Over two iterations of the program with participants from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia, the PPLI has trained cohorts of over 60 participants (31 young female and 30 young male) from ruling and opposition political parties. Some past participants have been appointed into key party positions following their participation in PPLI activities.
PPLI activities include a capstone regional youth symposium. The regional symposium, as a culminating PPLI activity bringings together selected PPLI participants to share experiences working on self initiated projects during the program with party leaders, civil society and policy makers. Participants' self-initiated projects cover the range of topics including women's political participation, preventing electoral violence, climate action and environmental governance, youth entrepreneurship and smallholder farmers and advocacy campaigns for inclusion of marginalized groups in political parties and political processes.