Local Democracy in Action: Stories from the Field

CDDRL's Leadership Network for Change and the Center for International Private Enterprise awarded collaboration grants to six teams of alumni to foster cooperation and strengthen democratic development on a regional and global scale.
LAD Tunisia 2018

The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law’s (CDDRL) Leadership Network for Change (LNC) is an expansive group that encompasses over 2,000 up-and-coming leaders and change-makers from all corners of the globe. This diverse and widespread network is comprised of alumni of three practitioner programs based at CDDRL: the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, Leadership Academy for Development, and the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program.

Last summer LNC, in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), launched an RFP for an innovative grant program — the Local Democracy in Action Grants Initiative. These collaboration grants were designed to bring together LNC leaders and CIPE partners to work across industry, sectors, and borders to introduce local democratic approaches, analysis, research, or dialogue to improve the way in which local communities solve today’s greatest democratic challenges. 

We were pleased to award grants to six teams of alumni whose projects aimed to support democratic reform efforts, civic discourse, and the incorporation of new technology to make a wider impact on the local political and economic environment:

  • Ethiopia: Insuring Public Accountability Through Tailored E-Government
  • Georgia: Democracy Podcast Series
  • Kazakhstan: Data Protection Regulation Upgrades
  • Lebanon: Enhancing Decision Making & Transparency in the Public Procurement Process
  • Nepal: Strengthening Technology-Driven Democracy Through Robust & Digitally Secured Civic Space
  • Ukraine: Enhancing the Quality of Decisions & Creating Local Coalitions Around Key Reforms

On August 17, 2022, CIPE convened the grantees to present the culmination and impact of their work. Below you can view a recording of the event and read about each of the six projects.



Ensuring Public Accountability Through Tailored E-Government (Ethiopia)
Wondwossen Mitiku (LAD), Begashaw Tizazu (LAD), Getachew Teklemariam

LNC and CIPE alumni Wondwossen Mitiku, Begashaw Tizazu, and Getachew Teklemariam worked to strengthen the use of digital technology for public participation and accountability in Ethiopia. Through research and dialogue with e-government representatives in Estonia, South Korea, and Tunisia, the team developed local advocacy strategies that promoted greater public participation and accountability of e-government services in Ethiopia. The team developed a policy paper capturing their recommendations and organize a workshop promoting their findings.

Democracy Podcast Series (Georgia)
Nino Evgenidze (DHSF), Natia Zambakhidze (LAD)

In Georgia, the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) and Radio Liberty collaborated to organize a series of podcasts and lectures to strengthen public understanding of important issues facing Georgian society. EPRC and Radio Liberty hosted leading experts to foster discussion on a diverse set of issues facing Georgia and the wider region. Topics included democratic and economic development, economic security, democracy and technology, and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Data Protection Regulation Upgrades (Kazakhstan)
Ruslan Dairbekov (DHSF), Nino Evgenidze (DHSF)

LNC alumni Nino Evangenidze and Ruslan Daiyrbekov led a virtual study tour of Georgia’s development and implementation of the nation’s data protection regulatory regime. Evangenidze and Daiyrbekov led a group of policymakers and think tank leaders to identify data protection best practices and lessons learned from Georgia’s experience. Following the study tour, formal recommendations were developed to inform a draft data protection law in Kazakhstan.

Enhancing Decision Making and Transparency in the Public Procurement Process (Lebanon)
Rabih el Chaer (DHSF), Mohamad Najem (DHSF)

The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) collaborated with LNC alumni Mohamad Najem and Rabih El Chaer to produce policy recommendations on enhancing the e-procurement system in Lebanon. To inform their work, the team met with Ukraine’s e-procurement system administrators to learn about the country’s system and identify lessons in its development and implementation. Based on their findings, they produced a policy paper outlining their recommendations and shared it widely with policymakers, journalists, and civil society representatives in Lebanon.

Strengthening Technology-Driven Democracy Through Robust and Digitally Secured Civic Space (Nepal)
Narayan Adhikari (CIPE), Bikin Ghimire (CIPE)

The Accountability Lab Nepal (ALN) and Digital Rights Nepal (DRN) collaborated to develop a toolkit for civil society organizations to equip them with the ability to manage digital security threats and vulnerabilities while defending democracy. ALN and DRN conducted desk research, disseminated a survey, and organized workshops with key stakeholders to identify best practices and develop tips and advice to navigate the internet safely. Through their efforts, ALN and DRN helped to build a more robust and digital secure civic space in Nepal.

Enhancing the Quality of Decisions and Creating Local Coalitions Around Key Reforms (Ukraine)
Iryna Nemyrovych (LAD), Matvii Khrenov (LAD), Pavlo Kovtonyuk

The Ukrainian Healthcare Center (UHC) and LNC alumni Iryna Nemyrovych, Matvii Khrenoc, and Pavlo Kovtonyuk worked to create local coalitions in several Ukrainian municipalities to foster dialogue and promote strategies to improve the country’s healthcare systems.  Through this advocacy work, the team enhanced local democratic engagement and strengthened the transparency and quality of medical services.