NDI senior staff members from 58 countries came together for three days last week to discuss trends in democracy support and explore opportunities presented by new technologies and other innovations in program design, implementation and evaluation.
In addition to taking advantage of the opportunity to meet with colleagues from across the world, the 133 participants heard from outside experts from the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S Agency for International Development, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the U.S. State Department.
In a discussion of new ways to track and measure the impact of democracy programs, Macarten Humphreys, professor of political science at Columbia University, addressed some of the challenges inherent in collecting data and evaluating change in democracy and governance work. He stressed the need to test the prevailing wisdom to be sure it is, in fact, wise, and to partner with academic institutions when possible to share costs and design more scientifically sound evaluation methods.
Attendees shared case studies and examples of work the Institute is doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Uganda and Ukraine.
NDI staff discussed efforts to promote popular political participation, as well as how to strengthen democratic institutions such as parliaments and political parties in the face of new democracy movements and technologies. Other sessions focused on how to incorporate innovation as the Institute seeks to improve and strengthen its programs.
Published July 16, 2012