At the International Institute for Justice and Development, we emphasize institutional reform, good governance and promote capacity-building at the community-based or grassroots level.
Our development program has two interdependent components: the Democratic Governance - Political Process and Legislative Reforms Initiative, and the Civil Society Strengthening and Citizen Participation Initiative. All these components, while different in approach, work to improve quality of life to allow a vibrant civil society and effective development solutions. Through the work of the Development Program, Communities are involved in creating specific and well-designed solutions to poverty which, in turn, empower them and allow them to become more active participants in their local governments.
Political Processes and Legislative Reform
Democratic governance requires a political process and legislative reforms that establish accountability and increase citizen participation in the management of public affairs and resources. In many countries, institutional reform that allows for a legitimate and fair political process is needed to make governance sufficiently participatory and leaders accountable to their constituents. The focus of the IIJD is to assist in establishing institutions that can sustain democracy and guarantee peaceful political processes, as well as to help draft and review laws that strengthen democratic development. Legislative reform projects assist in the process of drafting new laws that create and/or maintain efficient structures and institutions that effectively foster development. The central aim is to build the capacity of people engaged in the process of drafting and implementing legislation so they can translate policies into clear and precise laws consonant with democratic governance.
Civil Society Strengthening and Citizen Participation
At the heart of the first two components of the development program is the fundamental need to promote, increase and support citizen’s capacity to participate in institutional reform process and participate in the management of their country's or community's affairs.
The civil society strengthening, and citizen participation initiative is designed to help people not only participate in the management of public affairs and resources, but also increase their standard of living.
The IIJD works with organizations on both ends of the organizational spectrum to increase their capacity and effectiveness in addressing their communities’ problems. This partnership spans from small groups of people in rural communities or groups living abroad to well-established national and international NGOs. The IIJD focuses its partnerships on groups working to address community problems that impede citizens’ abilities to take part in the wellbeing of their society and government. The IIJD also acts as an intermediary organization to facilitate interaction between funding sources and their beneficiaries and enhance expertise and networking among its partners.
These initiatives offer important skill sets to NGOs and local community leaders. Ultimately, through these initiatives, we aim to strengthen the civil society of African countries, encourage and increase women’s participation by ensuring that they are represented in all phases of sponsored projects and reduce local tensions by enhancing collaboration between different cultural groups. All these elements are built into our innovative platform: the African Spiders Webs’ Initiative (ASWIN).