Elections, Democracy and Human Rights Training, research and support


Democracy has become the norm worldwide and elections are one of its most important elements. However, current trends add challenges to democracies, even in the so-called consolidated ones, as well on democratisation efforts. There is a pressing need to raise awareness towards democracy, elections, participation and their crucial components and concrete impact. This needs to be done by targeting key stakeholders, with important and specific roles within these processes, but also by speaking to broad audiences, therefore making democratic core values, their key principles and concrete application, understandable and effective in practice. This project aims at working at these multiple levels, disseminating and raising awareness on core democratic values and Human Rights.

The project aims at providing training, support and advice, as well as building sustainable partnerships in the fields of democracy and elections, and Human Rights in general. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness, and inform specific audiences, on democracy, elections, international standards and best practices in the field. This will be done by addressing multiple stakeholders, which might play a role within these processes, but also through dissemination actions geared towards civil society and broader audiences.

The project aims at developing advanced training and support actions, to address these dynamics. Trainings can consist in short courses, aimed at specific stakeholders. Other actions may aim at bringing together different stakeholders, fostering mutual understating, the comprehension of the needs and roles of different stakeholders, and also to find beneficial and productive ways of working together. Some of these curricula can also be the product of mutual work and cooperation, where the interveners can highlight and define the priorities and the needs regarding the actions that might better assist them on their role.

The project will be anchored in a solid theoretical background, using research and consolidated knowledge as a strong foundation for its work. Best practices, both internationally, but also at the domestic level, are a key resource to be used. The exchange of valuable experiences, developed by participants, is also an important source to carry out these endeavours. We will draw upon state of the art knowledge on these issues, addressing the theory being produced, insights from the field, exchange of best practices, all within developing international standards.

This project benefits from, and enhances participants’ background in this original and much needed methodology, to be used either for academia, practitioners, experts, civil society and broader audiences, among others. An original and necessary combination of approaches is used, bringing together different actors and stakeholders, all relevant for the electoral cycle and within the broader goals of democracy. A pool of expertise will provide a better approach and solid critical thinking for the project.

Cooperation with other institutions, namely regarding training and research, could provide another angle. The current joint work with law schools can provide fruitful outcomes addressing legal practitioners. Other partnerships can be envisaged, namely with international organisations, aiming at strengthening the international scope of the project, and reaching audiences at another level. This can combine international standards, best practices, as well as country-specific expertise, and sectorial analysis. Knowledge production in this field can also be envisaged, to be relevant for the aims of the project.

Key-words: Elections, Democracy, Human Rights, training, outreach, support