Strengthening citizen rights and participation in Nicaragua


SDC and other like-minded donors are engaged in enhancing the democratic and public policy processes in Nicaragua. A strong civil society is essential to the quality and sustainability of this effort. The current political context drastically reduces public policy dialogues spaces. The proposed programme will promote citizen participation, strengthen capacities among Civil Society Organizations and foster informed policy dialogue.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Nicaragua
Governance
Human rights
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
01.08.2016 - 31.12.2020
CHF 4'395'000
Background

The vigour of Nicaraguan civil society has been eroded over the past few years. Opposition parties are a   minority in the National Assembly (parliament) and other state branches such as Judiciary and Electoral lack independence. At national level, the spaces for civil society voices who are interested in public policies have been reduced. However, there are think tanks which develop concepts for critical reflection and do so with relative success. Also at local level there are social actors and spaces for citizen participation that can be strengthened. This programme proposes to focus on the following windows of opportunity: i) cooperation with think tanks that enjoy legitimacy due to their high degree of thematic expertise; and ii) cooperation with civil society organizations (CSOs) that have no party ties but exert influence at local and national levels.

Objectives

Political spaces are maintained and strengthened in Nicaragua, within which an informed and empowered civil society is able to effectively articulate its rights and exert influence on the public policy dialogue, leading to development at national and local levels.

Target groups

Direct: Professionals of Civil society organisations and think tanks.

Indirect: Women, indigenous people, afro-descendants and rural population. Human rights defenders, through the civil society organisations receiving support.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1. Critical analysis and informed debate are strengthened in Nicaragua, and civil society takes an active role regarding reforms related to the efficacy of public management, the reduction of violence against women and sustainable environmental management. 

Outcome 2. Rights holders, in particular women, indigenous and afro-descendant groups, know their rights and are empowered to exert influence on public policies at national and local levels.

Results

Expected results:  

  1. Special studies on sectoral public policies and context monitoring.
  2. Civil society violence observatories work in a coordinated manner.
  3. Citizen budgeting exercises take place at national and municipal levels.
  4. Functional alliances between think tanks and CSOs on prioritised issues.
  5. The performance of civil society organisations is strengthened at the sub-national and thematic levels.
  6. Empowerment of rights holders and consolidation of the organisation’s constituencies.


Results from previous phases:  

There is a common understanding with Luxembourg and the European Union (EU) on the situation regarding civil society and its priorities.

There is agreement on a joint mechanism by which to issue calls to tender and compete for funding. These resources will be made available to civil society in the framework of joint planning with the EU.

Key issues were identified based on the Universal Periodical Review and broad-based consultation with civil society organisations.

To work in networks and alliances is fundamental. More collaborative work is necessary for the purpose of strengthening citizen’s voices. 

In order to further a more effective policy dialogue and advocacy, it is key to improve the communications strategies of think tanks and civil society organisations. 


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign Non-Governmental Organization
Other International Organization
Private sector
  • Other OI
  • Foreign private sector South/East


Other partners

European Union, Luxembourg

Coordination with other projects and actors

Regional programme for Central America: Studies on poverty evolution are an integral part of monitoring the context and provide independent information for many public and private stakeholders.

Spheres of activity:

Sphere 1: Monitoring of the economic context and the dynamics of the business sector and labour market serves as feedback to SDC programmes in   vocational / professional training and economic development.

Sphere 2: Citizen budgeting observatories complement SDC’s programme for Direct Support to Municipal Investments.  

Sphere 3: Complements the DRR and adaptation to climate change programmes.

Regional sphere: Feedback to the gender and environment programmes currently being formulated.

OTHERS: Synergies with other donors supporting think tanks.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   4'395'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   3'845'799
Project phases Phase 99 01.08.2020 - 31.12.2024   (Active) Phase 1 01.08.2016 - 31.12.2020   (Current phase)