This report summarises key points of development work and research conducted on democracy strengthening in Sudan. It excludes the nation-state of South Sudan, but does include some work covering the southern areas of Sudan before the secession in 2011. Most of the literature focuses on democratic elections, from voter education to election conduct, but this report also tries to include broader democracy building processes.
The four subsections are areas of key interest identified by DFID.
- Women’s and youth participation: The literature presents a high level of interest in engaging women in democracy processes, in particular focusing on the role of women as voters and political representatives. Literature notes that civil society organisations in Sudan appear to have a strong interest in women’s political participation, and have successfully increased women’s representation in parliament and influenced some policy change. Youth participation is much rarer, and the literature presents little comment on this beyond the need to improve civic education.
- Civil society oversight of electoral and political reform: The civil society literature, apart from instances of women’s activism, mainly looks at freedom of the media. There are few examples of interventions which can positively support this, due to the policy environment set by the Sudanese government. Until the repressive laws and policies are lifted, few development interventions can improve media freedom.
- Supporting political parties: Political party development has mainly focused on improving the SPLM’s legitimacy and ability to lead South Sudan, since it was South Sudan’s de facto government party pre-2011. Smaller parties are given much less attention. The SPLM is considered to have benefited from strengthening interventions and to be progressing well.
- Civic and voter education: this section shows that the focus is mainly on voter education, in preparation for Sudan’s 2010 elections. Programmes have been received extremely positively, and voter commitment to democracy is perceived as high.