Though Kosovo has a dynamic political scene, the country’s political parties still need support in their efforts to respond to citizens’ needs with new and effective policies. IRI works with political parties to help them better understand, communicate, and incorporate public opinion into their policies and platforms.
IRI is working to raise political parties’ understanding of citizens’ concerns and priorities. To that end, IRI works with its partner Democracy Plus (D+) to expand and update its elections results portal (www.elections.dplus.org). This portal is the only website in Kosovo that displays election results over multiple election cycles, and this information helps parties identify the specific municipalities where they need to revise campaign strategies and messaging.
To help political leaders better understand Kosovars’ policy needs, IRI trains parties on public opinion research methods. IRI also trains parties on how to use a free software application for informal survey research, and equips them with the skills to respond to these research findings. By combining this information with skills developed in IRI-led training, political parties have been able to craft substantive and responsive policies and platforms.
IRI trains parties on how to best communicate with their constituents, and on how to design policies that are responsive to both gender and youth concerns. Additionally, IRI teaches the political skills necessary to advance internal party reforms.
Additional support for political parties continue through a program that provides them with tools to measure voter engagement programs. Through the program, political parties have learned about behavioral science and how they can use its principles to drive voter turnout.
Information exchanges for Kosovo’s members of parliament, organized under the House Democracy Partnership, are another key element of legislative strengthening. MPs in Kosovo receive training on cybersecurity and on their roles and responsibilities, as well as a peer-to-peer exchange on how to improve the legislative process.
Further, the Kosovo Chapter of IRI’s European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) brings together young leaders in politics and civic activism from 22 countries across Europe and Eurasia to learn leadership skills, exchange experiences, and work together to advance democratic values in their home countries. Additionally, IRI’s Western Balkans Task Force includes security experts from Kosovo and its neighbors. The task force focuses on countering the rise of ethnonationalism in the region and its support from malign foreign actors.
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