• Africa Civil Society
NED Grants in Action
The US-Africa Civil Society Conference convened a dynamic cross-section of African leaders to discuss the challenges to good governance, transparency, and free elections.
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Across Africa, the struggle for democracy resonates like never before. In 2016, citizens in Ethiopia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Mali, and the Gambia took to the streets to demand democracy and an end to the corruption, poor governance, and repression that have robbed them of their rights and left them impoverished. Elections in South Africa, the Gambia, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Malawi, and Ghana all clearly reflected the electorate’s demand for change. Afrobarometer polling confirms that the great majority of Africans reject authoritarian rule, and NED grantees are focused on supporting this rising democratic spirit through a variety of strategic programs.

In West Africa, NDI and many of NED’s partners in Cote d’Ivoire advanced women’s rights; in Burkina Faso, CIPE encouraged the role of the business community in democratic reform, and other NED partners strengthened the participation of youth; in Guinea, NED partners trained women and youth on a range of human rights and political issues. NED partners in Mali attempted to shore up the fragile peace process there and improve governance; IRI helped to strengthen the parliament. In Liberia, the Solidarity Center supported trade unions to protect labor rights and start mobilizing members for national elections in 2017; other NED partners provided education on the elections and the upcoming constitutional referendum. NED’s 26 partners in Nigeria strove to advance the rights of marginalized communities, strengthen the rule of law, and promote government accountability. CIPE worked with business associations to promote economic reform and fight corruption in the Lagos Port system, and the Solidarity Center helped trade unions contending with the violence of Boko Haram in Borno State.

For well over a decade, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has remained NED’s top priority in Africa.

NED partners in Cameroon campaigned to lower the voting age. In Equatorial Guinea, they expanded civil society space. In Rwanda they pushed for greater freedom of expression. In Burundi they monitored ongoing human rights abuses. In Angola and Congo-Brazzaville they fought corruption and human rights abuses. NDI assisted civil society organizations in the Central African Republic with peace-building.

In the Horn of Africa, NED supported activists in Ethiopia struggling to reverse the decline in freedom of assembly and expression, even as a massive popular uprising in the Oromia region was brutally crushed. CIPE engaged with the Ethiopian business community, and the Solidarity Center worked with the trade union confederation to foster dialogue with the government. NED also supported intrepid human rights activists trying to pry open the totalitarian regime of Eritrea. In Somaliland, NED’s partners defended freedom of expression and resisted the country’s democratic backsliding. In Somalia, NED supported radio stations, think tanks, and civil society organizations to promote democratic values, fight corruption, strengthen local governance, and inform citizens and policy makers.

NED’s 15 partners in Sudan promoted national reconciliation, defended human rights, and advanced freedom of speech and assembly. Meanwhile, South Sudan plummeted further into a nightmare of massacres, atrocities, refugees, and famine. NED’s partners there struggled heroically to promote peace, human rights, and democratic norms.

NED’s partners in Kenya focused on the upcoming elections and newly devolved county government structures. As political space shrank in Uganda, NED partners worked to increase political participation and to improve governance in the legislature and local government.

NED intensified its commitment to democratic reform in Zimbabwe, supporting 16 partners who trained youth and women on political participation, fought corruption in the mining sector, promoted freedom of expression through satire and other alternative media, and began coordinating new strategies and policies for democratic transition. Partners in Swaziland strengthened civil society. At the pan-African level, NDI supported youth leadership in the African Union, IRI continued building its GenDem network of young African political leaders, the Solidarity Center fought corruption, and NED’s discretionary partners expanded various networks of human rights and youth activists. To learn more, visit the grants listings in this section by accessing the dropdown box at the top of this page.

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