LibDem International Office: Strengthening liberal democracies

GeorgiaAs an accredited party trainer I was intrigued to receive an email last week asking if I would like to provide some training for the  Republican Party in Georgia next month.

It took a moment to register that it was talking about the Georgia to the north of Turkey on the Black Sea and their Liberal party, not the one to the north of Florida and the GOP.

Now I have acted for the party in a similar capacity before, when I met the youthful members of the Liberal Democrat party in Serbia and tried to convince them that an election cannot be won entirely on the Web. Sadly I have a by-election to attend to next month so I will not be offering my services this time.

Peter Lesniak is the International Programme Officer at our HQ.  The office works through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to undertake democracy development work with sister parties around the world. As he explains:

We undertake the majority of our work with partners in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa. Throughout the year we are also involved in cross party projects with the Conservative, Labour and smaller parties.

We use our Westminster Foundation for Democracy projects to support liberal, democratic parties in these regions, to build their capacity so that their values and democratic message can be better heard and represented.  Our work is wide ranging and we have consistently delivered strategic programmes that have improved partners’ capacities to produce effective results at local, national and regional levels. Additionally we have used our resources to further the participation of women, youth and minorities in the political process. Our areas of strategic focus are:

  • Strengthening and encouraging development of liberal democratic parties – undertaken though political support, technical and operational support, training project, campaign support and skills exchange.

  • Supporting the development of active international and regional networks of liberal parties. This facilitates exchange and promotion of common ideas, skills, and policy solutions, and encourages regional and international promotion of democracy and human rights.

The International Office is seeking trainers for two projects at the moment. Although preference is given for accredited party trainers, people with experience in the field can also apply.

Georgia, Republican Party (Liberal Party)

The Liberal Democrats have been working with the Republican Party through its Westminster Foundation for Democracy programme since 2007. The party was founded in 1978 and has been a long exponent of independence, freedom, democracy and human rights in opposition to Mikheil Saakashvili’s government. This programme of support follows on from a policy development project we have already implemented with the Republican Party which led to the production of policy papers and formed the basis of the Republican Party’s election manifesto.

This project is designed to improve the capacity of the Republican Party to communicate their policy platform to the electorate, develop clear campaigning and communication strategy while being in the coalition government as well as improve leadership skills of elected officials.

Training 1: Campaigning and communication strategy (14th – 16th February)

Training 2: Leadership skills and media training (21st – 23rd February)

Moldova, Liberal Party

Following the 2009 parliamentary elections, the Liberal Party formed part of the Alliance for European Integration, the ruling coalition within Moldova with the Liberal Democrats and the Democrat Party. This coalition took over from the Communist Party, the incumbent party since 2001.  This proposal is designed to share best practice around political party identity, retaining a strong Liberal message through effective policy development, communicating that message to voters sharing the Liberal Democrat experience of coalition government. Programme is also designed to strengthen the Liberal party’s capacity for women’s participation in politics. The Liberal Party have not been part of the coalition government before so there are many useful experiences we can share around this topic in order to promote better interest articulation, leading to stronger policies and better government programmes.

Training 1: Women’s participation and targeted support for prospective parliamentary candidates (1st – 3rd March)

Training 2: Coalition governance and communication (15th – 17th March)

Contact Peter on [email protected] straightaway if you are interested in either project.  Flights, accommodation, internal/external travel, translation costs, plus a daily stipend for dinner /lunch are all covered.

* Mary Reid is the Tuesday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.

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