Engaging with politics: Towards smarter international support to revitalise democracy

In collaboration with ODI

Wednesday 30 March, 14:00 – 16:00 (BST)

This event has now ended. Please watch the recording now, and read the follow-up blog post – Politically smart support to democracy: staying the course in the long road.

 What does more effective, politically smart democracy assistance look like, and are international organisations fit for purpose? This webinar explored different examples of innovative efforts across themes and areas of engagement in democracy strengthening to tease out key lessons and insights about what is needed to enable more effective international policy and practice in this area. 

Alina Rocha Menocal, and Samuel Sharp from ODI have written a follow-up blog post summarising key findings from the event which you can read here – Politically smart support to democracy: staying the course in the long road

Panellists included: 


Alina Rocha Menocal, Principal Research Fellow, Politics and Governance, ODI, and Director, Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice 

Her areas of expertise include: governance and institutional transformation; state- and peace-building and (post-)conflict trajectories; conflict and fragility; political settlements and the politics of inclusion; corruption and anti-corruption efforts; democracy/democratisation and the challenges of multiple dimensions of institutional transformation; political economy analysis/Thinking and Working Politically. Previously, Alina worked as Senior Democracy Fellow on Applied Political Economy at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (2016-2020) and as a Senior Research Fellow of the Developmental Leadership Program at the University of Birmingham (2014-2016). She holds a BA from Yale University in political science, and a MIA on Economic and Political Development and a MPhil in Political Science/Comparative Politics from Columbia University.

The Speakers:

Helena Bjuremalm, Deputy Head of the Democracy and Human Rights Unit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Helena has more than 20 years of experience of democracy and human rights-oriented development cooperation work including ten years with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and tenures in East Africa. At Sida, Helena currently focuses on support to political party and media development. Prior to joining Sida, Helena headed the Democracy and Development Team of International IDEA for five years.

Clare Castillejo, ODI Research Associate (on women’s political participation)

Clare Castillejo is an expert on gender, rights and inclusion in fragile and conflict affected contexts, with 25 years’ experience of research, policy advice and programming in these areas. She is currently a Research Associate with ODI and has previously worked for bilateral development partners, UN agencies, think tanks and INGOs. Clare’s work covers a broad range of themes including women’s political and economic empowerment, conflict and peacebuilding, political reform, human rights, social development and migration. Her recent research has focused on politically informed and adaptive approaches to gender equality and human rights programming in conflict affected contexts, as well as on advancing women’s voice and participation in post-conflict reform.

Thomas Carothers, Harvey V. Fineberg Chari for Democracy Studies, Senior Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Thomas Carothers is the senior vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In that capacity he oversees all of the research programs at Carnegie.  He also co-directs the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program and carries out research and writing on democracy-related issues. He has worked on democracy assistance projects for many organizations and carried out extensive field research on aid efforts around the world and is the author or editor of ten critically acclaimed books. He is a leading authority on international support for democracy, human rights, governance, the rule of law, and civil society.

Joseph Munyangabo, Uganda Country Representative, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD)

Joseph Munyangabo leads the overall strategic direction and management of WFD’s program portfolio in Uganda. He is a democracy and good governance specialist who has managed a range of democracy strengthening projects focused on parliamentary and political party strengthening, youth and gender inclusion, people with disabilities (PWD) participation, campaign planning and management, public affairs, conflict resolution, civil society coordination and subnational governance among others.

Laura Pavlovic, Deputy Director, Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

Laura Pavlovich is Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance at USAID. She has over twenty years’ experience working at USAID, including working as the Director for the General Development Office in Bangkok, the Director at the Office of Democratic and Economic Growth at USAID Serbia, and has had postings in Washington, Ukraine, and Burundi.

Andrei Rusanovschi, NDI Moldova, Deputy Country Director (on mayors dialogues with citizens)

Andrei Rusanovschi has been an active designer and implementer of democratic development initiatives in Moldova and Eastern Europe, since 2007. The main thrust of Andrei’s work focused on adapting Western democratic models and practices to the Eastern European context and culture. Andrei graduated from the American University in Bulgaria (BA in Journalism and Business Administration) and Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, Romania (MA in Regional Development). Both prior and during his career at NDI he worked as a civic activist, political trainer and journalism teacher and practitioner. Andrei co-authored a series of practical guides on political and civic outreach, election monitoring and strategic communication.

Nic van der Jagt, Evaluation and Learning Advisor, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)

Nic is an international development professional with 20 years of experience in monitoring and evaluation of youth employment, enterprise development, and governance programmes.  Since 2014, Nic has worked for the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) where he is responsible for results measurement strategy, evaluation, and learning in the field of democracy assistance.