Non-government organizations, or NGOs, have relied on grant money to further their democracy-building activities for many years. Groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy and similar organizations have supplied a lot of the grant funding these NGOs need to continue their work. Democracy has been difficult for many countries to achieve, even with all the possibilities offered in modern society. When scholars, practitioners, and activists have the resources they need, there is much they can achieve.
Funding Political Parties
Many countries facing struggles reaching or maintaining democracy lack multiple political parties to give all of their citizens more influence in the legislative process. Starting new political parties often helps give the disenfranchised more of a voice in their government. With more opportunities for citizens to engage with politicians who are representing their interests, voters are more likely to participate in the political process.
Starting Trade Unions
For many countries, lack of organized labor that can bring about changes in working conditions negatively impacts workers’ ability to provide for their families and enjoy a good quality of life. Activists often note the irony of workers in many non-democratic companies producing goods that residents of democracies often take for granted. A union presence in many of these countries can pave the way for workers to enjoy fairer wages and a better quality of life.
Setting Up Business Organizations
National Endowment for Democracy business objectives and those of similar groups include initiatives to make it easier for poorer members of society to start businesses. Being able to start a business is often a lifesaver for citizens of undeveloped countries that offer few viable job opportunities. Businesses that women start also help increase the family income, allow widows or divorcees to support themselves, allow families to have fewer children who enjoy a better quality of life and help prevent teenage marriages that put new generations of young women in poverty.
Establishing a Free Press
One of the foundational parts of a democracy is having a free press, which helps support a free society. Many countries around the world do not totally support an independent media, which restricts the information that its citizens receive. Having an independent media that can accurately report on issues affecting a country’s government and its citizens makes a difference.
Why Diversity Matters
Freedom is a universal concept that transcends nationalities, religious and ethnic groups. Even though much of the funding for NGOs that support more democratic governments comes from the United States, it is not necessary to base every model on the US or any specific country. One of the biggest strengths of a democracy is its ability to adapt to local needs.
Transparency Always Matters
One of the biggest strengths that any group involved with democracy-building will have is transparency, bipartisan support when applicable, and accountability to the public. Any group entrusted with providing important grants should always be transparent in its dealings with others. When there is any degree of government funding involved, bipartisan support is essential to ensure continued success. A group should also treat itself as being accountable to the public by making records of its financial activities available to the public.
The work of democracy-building organizations has always been and continues to be important across the globe.