Despite many democratic challenges in Belarus, IRI has worked with political opposition parties and movements since 1997. Since fraudulent presidential elections in August 2020 and a subsequent democratic revolution, IRI has adapted to recognize the increasingly international character and online presence of Belarus’ democratic political parties, movements, and civil society organizations.

Thousands of people gather to rally in Minsk

IRI works with pro-democratic parties to engage citizens on important civic and political issues and present themselves as effective alternatives by developing issue-based messages that speak to the concerns of all Belarusians. Through IRI programming, these parties are able to build communications skills and find ways to reach out to citizens given Belarus’ repressive system. The Institute supports the Belarusian opposition to build more sustainable professional political organizations, draft issued-based policies and platforms, recruit and retain volunteers, increase engagement of new members, and carry out campaigns. 

Beyond its work with pro-democratic parties, IRI focuses on developing the next generation of leaders by equipping youth and women with the skills to actively engage in the political process.  It offers workshops and cross-cultural exchanges where youth can freely discuss challenging issues, build presentation skills, and network with like-minded activists throughout the region.  By working closely with women in political parties and civil society, IRI empowers them to play more active roles in party decision-making processes.

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