AWEPA and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) are Strategic Partners of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) for their lobby and advocacy programme. The subsidy framework for this programme is called ‘Dialogue and Dissent’.
The Strategic Partnership programme aims to strengthen civil society organisations in low- and middle-income countries in their role as advocates and lobbyists. CSOs can only operate effectively if politicians are open to their input and able to translate their arguments and wishes into actual policy decisions. That is where AWEPA and NIMD come in: we work on enhancing and facilitating the dialogue between civic and political actors, whereby AWEPA focuses on capacitating the parliaments and parliamentarians in these countries and NIMD on strengthening the political parties.
The NIMD-AWEPA-MFA programme is called “Conducive Environment for Effective Policy Influencing: the role of Political Parties and Parliaments” and started in January 2016. The programme will be implemented over a period of five years (2016-2020). In addition to the NIMD-AWEPA alliance, 24 other strategic partners have been selected by the NMFA for their Strategic Partnership programme.
Parliaments, parliamentarians and political parties play an essential role in shaping the enabling environment in which sustainable policy change and inclusive development can take place and in making sure that lobby and advocacy efforts by civil society fall on fertile ground. Moreover, these political actors have a clear role in engaging citizens in this process, and to do so, they need to improve their dialogue with their electorate and other civic organisations and the broader civil society. The AWEPA-NIMD network of political and other societal actors and local partners brings these approaches together.
In the Strategic Partnership programme, AWEPA focuses on the capacity building of parliamentary staff, members and committees. This is done, for example, through public hearings, consultation mechanisms and community outreach visits between parliamentarians and civil society. AWEPA also provides legislative support in order to support law amendments that might be needed as a result of consultations with civil society.
NIMD engages in long-term partnerships with political parties in the countries where it works. NIMD invests in trust and confidence building between the parties and facilitates dialogue processes between them and between them and civic actors.
All efforts are aimed at jointly achieving sustainable change at national, local and international level. Through this process, the programme seeks to facilitate democratic changes in the political system as well as in the parties and the political context of the countries.
NIMD also carries out strategic partnership programmes in a number of other countries. These include: Ghana, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia and Myanmar.