Group of Friends of Sustainable Cities

The Group of Friends for Sustainable Cities, co-chaired by Sweden and Singapore, is a group of 29 countries leading the global dialogue regarding the critical role of cities and the importance of sustainable urban development in achieving sustainable development at-large. In May 2012, the Group of Friends collaborated with United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)…

The Good Governance Learning Network

The Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) is a network of South African NGOs promoting participation, accountability, and good governance at the local level. GGLN provides “… an interface for civil society organisations working on issues of local governance and citizen participation to network and share information towards strengthening local democracy in South Africa.” GGLN hosts…

The Citizenry Component

Any external analysis of the relationship between citizens and their government is constrained by access to information about rules and policies of the participatory process and nuances in power and decision-making. Our community scorecard attempts to reveal the effects of these factors and other less tangible challenges by reflecting the perceptions of locals, whether or…

Consultation in Capetown, South Africa

The latest in our UN Democracy Fund Consultations on Participatory Local Democracy was hosted by the Isandla Institute  in Cape Town, South Africa, on the day following their own local governance meeting – “Speaking Truth to Power.” South Africa has adopted strong approaches to participatory local governance, but participants emphasized the constraints faced in implementation.…

The Political Component of Participatory Democracy

We’re holding consultations around the world to create a scorecard to evaluate the State of Participatory Democracy. Over the next month we’ll outline each of the components of the scorecard— why it is important in a participatory democracy, why we are including it in the scorecard, and some of the feedback we’ve heard around the…

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 1,000 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries. NED fosters the growth of a wide…

Decentralizing Education

Improving access to primary education remains a key aspect of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Still, many children, especially girls, face many obstacles to attending school daily.  On a mission to improve access to education, policymakers and organizations have employed a variety of innovative tactics ranging from radio programs to interactive tools. However, they also look to innovations…

National Democratic Institute (NDI)

For more than 20 years, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has conducted programs to activate and empower citizens and civic groups, has established strong civic cultures, and has achieved an appropriate balance of power between citizens and government. The NDI works throughout the world creating safe spaces for citizens to learn, train and engage on…

Modern Day Community Engagement: Origins

Modern day community engagement, specifically through organizing, is often embodied by the work of Saul Alinsky. Alinksy began organizing in Chicago in the 1930’s in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, of notorious acclaim for its horrific working conditions. Alinksy also organized the Eastern European immigrant community to go on strike against the meatpacking plants.…

Pólis -The Institute for Research, Training and Consulting in Social Policies

Founded in 1987, Pólis is a non-profit research organization specializing in citizen participation and urban governance. Anchored on the principles of participation and the fight against social exclusion and poverty, Pólis works closely with civil society organizations, local governments, and academic institutions in areas of public policy and local development. Its current focus areas include the…