‘‘Supporting Democracy’’ is an EIDHR-funded technical assistance programme working with EU Delegations (EUDs) to strengthen the role of local civil society in advocating and monitoring democratic accountability. Our core team is based in Brussels and works with a large international pool of thematic experts. The programme is implemented by a consortium composed of Democracy Reporting International (DRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Sofreco


In response to EUD requests, we deploy international and local experts specialising in: • transparency, representativeness and participation • increased accountability of public authorities (national and local) • sustainability of democratic processes • constitutional and legal reform • citizen/domestic election observation training and support • public finance management • mainstreaming ‘‘democracy with a small d’’ in other development programmes, e.g. trade, infrastructure, urban development, etc.

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Upon the request of EU Delegations, our experts approach CSOs and carry out fact-finding missions and feasibility surveys. They also provide handson advice on development programmes, strategic analysis on opportunities for civil society support, stakeholder consultations, training for EU personnel and/or civil society representatives, legal reviews, etc.


Citizen Voice Initiative (CVI) is a thematic dialogue mechanism that brings together civil society, local authorities, and other relevant partners to advocate, monitor and follow up on the implementation of selected priorities. CVI is primarily intended to support the EU Delegations participating (since 2015) in the second-generation EU Democracy Pilot Exercise in implementing their ‘‘Democracy Action Plans’’ (DAPs). However, the CVI approach can also be adapted to any other EUD that wishes to strengthen its support to democracy advocates through reinforced dialogue. We can help set up a CVI mechanism wherever an EUD requests it — at the national or local level.


In addition to organising the 2016 Second Forum of Citizen Observers, we work with citizen observers throughout the electoral cycle and especially during the challenging inter-election period, when it is difficult to focus attention on electoral reform. To assist citizen observer groups and EU Delegations with this task, we have a toolkit for citizen observers with a step-by-step guide on how they can advocate for and monitor the progress of implementation of election recommendations. We provide assistance to EUDs in working with citizen observers on these issues.

Download our Guide for Citizen Observers on Electoral Reform


We launch research initiatives, field surveys, and consultations with academics and practitioners on various democracy support topics, focusing on new forms of civic activism, such as citizen movements and community-level forums. We look into how the EU can provide a more coherent and effective response to the restrictions being imposed on civil society worldwide. We also work with leading experts to develop innovative tools and approaches to democracy promotion that can be tested through country pilot activities and can serve as good practice models for other EU delegations.


We promote experience sharing between EUDs and local civil society organisations: in order to strengthen synergies at sub-regional level and foster cross-learning, we offer support on how to work with regional civil society platforms, such as citizen observer networks and initiatives for transparency. This may include comparative surveys on public accountability, organising regional training seminars, etc.

At the request of EU Delegations, our experts have carried out missions in Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Peru, Somalia, Tanzania and Tunisia.