September 15: International Day of Democracy: Space for Civil Society

“Globally, the role of civil society has never been more important than this year, as the world prepares to implement a new development agenda, agreed to by all the world’s Governments. However, for civil society activists and organizations in a range of countries covering every continent, space is shrinking — or even closing — as some Governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of NGOs to work or to receive funding.
That is why the theme of this year’s International Day of Democracy is “Space for Civil Society.” It is a reminder to Governments everywhere that the hallmark of successful and stable democracies is the presence of a strong and freely operating civil society — in which Government and civil society work together for common goals for a better future, and at the same time, civil society helps keep Government accountable.” – The United Nations

In honor of International Day of Democracy and its theme, “Space for Civil Society,” we’re sharing some of the inspiring work taking place around the world, supported by NED. Get to know some of our grantees and fellows.

D Day - Senegal D Day - Pakistan

Thiat, a Senegalese hip hop artist and former NED Reagan-Fascell Fellow, uses his music to inspire young people across Senegal to be socially and politically engaged in their country’s future. His music sparked a movement which resulted the country’s biggest youth voter turnout in its history for the 2012 presidential election. On #DemocracyDay 2015, NED celebrates Thiat’s commitment to democracy and youth engagement.

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Muhammad Ali Shah of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, a NED grantee, addresses reporters at a rally for peasant land rights in Sanghar, Sindh. On #DemocracyDay, NED celebrates the Forum’s success in organizing Pakistan’s fishing communities into a vibrant, non-violent social movement that successfully defends the rights of its community.

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D Day - Colombia D Day - Afghanistan

NED grantee La Silla Vacía provided media coverage for citizen protests against the Colombian government’s handling of peace talks with FARC. La Silla Vacía is transforming media in Colombia with its blend of journalistic coverage, think tank-style analysis and interactive user tools. xem bang do On #DemocracyDay, NED celebrates the Centre’s commitment to democracy and freedom of information. Learn more about their work.

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Kabul Pressistan (KP) is a vibrant member of Afghanistan’s independent media community, producing daily programming and providing media access for civil society. Tragically, in 2014, KP founder Sardar Ahmad was murdered in the terrorist attack on the Serena Hotel. With #DemocracyDay 2015, NED remembers Sardar Ahmad and honors Kabul Pressistan’s commitment to democracy and free press.

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D Day - Global D Day - Guatemala

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre uses its company response process to encourage companies around the world to address human rights concerns raised by civil society. On #DemocracyDay, NED celebrates the Centre’s commitment to democracy and human rights.

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NED grantee Guatemala Visible ensures democratic transparency by performing background checks on candidates for the Supreme Court and other government appointments, and reports to the public on their findings. On #DemocracyDay, NED celebrates their commitment to democracy and transparency.  Pictured here: Guatemala’s Supreme Court Justices Selection Commission votes on new members of the Court.

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D Day - Serbia D Day - Yemen

The Zajecar Initiative in eastern Serbia used its small-grants program to support the work of socially-conscious young artists, including a satirical play depicting anti-democratic trends facing the country. On #DemocracyDay 2015, NED celebrates the Zajecar Initiative’s commitment to democracy and positive change.

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The Basement Cultural Foundation in Yemen regularly convenes students, activists, intellectuals, and journalists to explore creative solutions to long-term, strategic challenges facing Yemen.

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