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Posts from the ‘Malawi’ Category

DIPD’s Work on Youth in Politics Is Rated as Promising Practice

In an independent review of more than 76 global programmes in support of youth, DIPD’s engagement in promoting youth in politics is considered promising practice that can inspire both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and other organisations.

The Danish MFA undertook the review to inform the Ministry on how to optimize and operationalise Denmark’s new development cooperation strategy and its particular focus on youth.

In the new strategy Denmark has committed to give young people “… the opportunity to enhance their participation and influence in society as involved, committed and equal actors with the ability and opportunity to take developments into their own hands.” The strategy outlines that these objectives are to be achieved through various measures within policy, programme and partnerships. The review was undertaken in view of these two main strands.

Minister for Development, Ulla Tørnæs, presents a review of MFA’a youth engagements.

While DIPD’s youth programmes are not directly part of the MFA’s youth portfolio, DIPD’s method of work was included by the review team, discussed by the international youth panel involved in the review and rated as promising practice:

Promising practice: Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD); strengthening youth involvement in the political parties through inspiration and exchange between political parties’ youth wings.

DIPD supports democracy through support to political parties in developing countries with funding from Danida, partly through the Danish political parties and partly through direct support to multi-party democracy initiatives. DIPD has identified the strengthening of youth involvement and participation within the political parties in developing countries as one of a limited number of areas where Danish support can add specific value. In cooperation between DUF and DIPD, a guideline on ‘how to build a youth wing’ has been developed by young Danish youth wing members, used as training and inspiration material. Exchange activities between the young members from Denmark and Egypt, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, Palestine, Myanmar, Bhutan, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and Bolivia has been implemented. DIPD has both directly implemented and funded a number of projects, through Danish political parties, their youth wings and youth members in developing countries to increase focus on and strengthen youth as political actors. A recent evaluation found that ‘project activities gave the young participants new skills and self-esteem, particularly among young women in traditionalist societies’.

Extracts from: Youth Leading the World 2030: A review of Danida’s Youth- Related Engagements, Final Report, 2017, p. 12

Danish and Egyptian youth share experiences on the Nile.

DIPD employs a systemic approach to working with youth in politics that engages party leadership and agenda setting through advocacy, focuses on party structures and processes that facilitates or hinders youth engagement, and finally capacitates youth and facilitates multiparty youth dialogues and platforms.

With this approach the institute and the Danish political parties together with youth and partners are very well placed to initiate and facilitate change relating to several of the main recommendations in the review. The recommendations, which DIPD can make a particular contribution to, are listed below:

  • Unleashing young people’s agency – Support formal and informal youth-led organisations, networks and movements to lead, initiate, design and implement their own initiatives – Several of DIPD’s programmes are supporting leadership development of youth and the establishment of youth wings or youth platforms that can take independent action and agency.
  • Prioritise youth-to-youth exchanges between Denmark and developing countries, particular between youth-led organisations and movements. In DIPD’s work exchange between party youth in cooperation countries and party youth in Denmark is a center piece. Mutual learning and peer dialogue has taken place with youth in Egypt, Malawi, Kenya, Myanmar and Palestine – just to mention a few.
  • Support linkages between youth and gender movements, and promote the nexus of the two – In several of DIPD’s programmes – for example in Malawi and Myanmar – the strategies on youth involvement interact with measures to involve more women in political parties. Often the agenda setting work is focused on both youth and gender.
  • Champion Youth priorities in National Policy Dialogues with Governments in Priority Countries – while it takes time and concerted action to facilitate youth dialogues on national policies, it also takes national opportunities for policy input to make it fly. In Myanmar the current formulation process of the National Youth Policy is an ideal opportunity for DIPD to facilitate input from the youth through the DIPD supported Multiparty Youth Dialogue Platforms. In several other countries, such as Kenya and Malawi, similar processes are or have been underway.

In DIPD’s updated Global Strategy for 2018-2021 Youth in Politics will continue to figure prominently.

Danida report on youth engagements.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s youth engagement in Myanmar.

Read more about DIPD’s youth engagement in Egypt and watch FUTURE DEMOCRATS – a film about the Danish-Egyptian Youth Network.

Read more about The Socialist People’s Party and the Liberal Party’s joint partnership in Malawi.

Contact Project Coordinator at DIPD, Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal:


To friends and partners of DIPD


DEPPYN: Maiken Kristensen (LAU), Mahmoud Said (Egypt Freedom) & Ahmed El-Sayed (Egypt Freedom)

Dear friends and partners of DIPD.

Among many inspiring events during 2016, we would like to mention a few highlight: Danish youth politicians visited Myanmar; two regional Women in Politics seminars in Myanmar and Nepal; politicians from Danish municipalities conducted trainings in Kathmandu; party representatives from Palestine, Swaziland, Bhutan, Tanzania and Bolivia visited Denmark.

However, it has been a year of much suffering around the world. The Nordic and Global Political Party Peer Meeting took place at Utøya, where 69 young people meeting in the Social Democratic youth wing were killed in 2011. Welcoming us, the former Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre, stressed the importance of protecting the democratic space and values that underpin our work.

Let that be a reminder to all of us that we are part of a global community committed to finding peaceful and democratic solutions to the challenges facing societies and humanity.

On behalf of the DIPD Team, I wish you an enjoyable and peaceful holiday period!


Cooperating for a democratic future

In late November 2016, a cross-political delegation with representatives from the Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s party (SF) and their youth organizations travelled to Malawi to meet with the five parties represented in Malawi’s parliament. This is Vice-Chairman in SF Tonni Hansen’s report from the visit.

This article is written by Vice-Chairman in the Socialist People’s Party (SF) Tonni Hansen.

Being politically active has provided me with many joys and challenges. But that I might have been involved in the rewriting of a nation’s history, is something that I never imagined.

The Liberal Party (Venstre) and the Socialist People’s Party (SF) have joined forces to establish a democracy partnership in Malawi. It is one of the world’s poorest countries, with a democracy formed as recently as 1994.

From Denmark, Benedikte Ask Skotte (Liberal Party), Anders Bach Hellerøe (Liberal Youth), Anja Søndergaard (SF Youth) and Marianne Victor Hansen (project leader at SF) joined me on a trip to Malawi, where we had the chance to share how we have developed political youth organizations, and how closely the mother and youth parties now cooperate, while the youth still maintain control of their own political work.

SF Vice-Chairman Tonni Hansen sharing experiences in Malawi.

SF Vice-Chairman Tonni Hansen sharing experiences in Malawi.

In Malawi, we had the chance to meet all five parties represented in Parliament and their young members. We “grown-ups” shared how the Liberal Youth and SF Youth are organized and how they work. We shared how our mother parties approach the collaboration with the youth and the benefits we see in having strong and independent youth parties. Afterwards, the participants formed groups on which they shared challenges and worked together on suggestions for solutions. We finished the day with us “grown-ups” arranging a mock press conference, where we interviewed the party leaders on how they and their party leaderships will take action on the issues the youth had brought up during the day.

Considering that most of the participants are either born or raised in a dictatorship-like one-party system, it was fantastic to experience the commitment they show for developing their own democracy.

Anja Søndergaard (SF Youth) & Anders Bach Hellerøe (Liberal Youth) during visit to Malawi.

Anja Søndergaard (SF Youth) & Anders Bach Hellerøe (Liberal Youth) during visit to Malawi.

Malawi’s young politicians are highly impressive: they defy the structures, the history and their predefined prospects. They have both the will and the ability to form their own future, and they bear the impatience of youth.

After our 3-day “road show”, we were left encouraged by our meeting with the people of this friendly and accommodating country. On our last joint meeting with the party leaderships, we established a forward-looking dialogue on the importance of including youth in democracy.

On the last day of our visit, we participated in a “Youth Camp”, where the participants practiced writing party statutes.

The Liberal Party and the Socialist People's Party together with their partners in Malawi.

The Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party together with their partners in Malawi.

Every part of the visit went way beyond my expectations. We were told that we contributed to the rewriting of history in Malawi and that the five political parties’ youth organizations will be established within the next year with inspiration from the Danish experiences, we shared. The parties were so happy with our work, that they invited us back in August or September 2017, so they could show us their progress and we could continue our dialogue on how to involve youth in politics in Malawi.

Even though Malawi is far from Denmark, the wish for democracy is universal and therefor equally relevant wherever in the world you are. And even though Benedikte and Anders represented a different ideology than Anja and myself, we still had a fantastic trip in each other’s company, as we are all formed by a shared understanding of the value of a well-functioning democracy.

Tonni Hansen, Vice-Chairman, Socialist People’s Party

YOUTH WINGS: Working together to strengthen youth involvement.

YOUTH WING: Working together to strengthen youth involvement.

More information

Read more about the Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party’s ongoing partnership with CMD Malawi and the five political parties.

Contact project leader at SF, Marianne Victor Hansen:

Contact programme manager at the Liberal Party, Bent Nicolajsen:

Contact Project Coordinator at DIPD, Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal:

Malawian party leaders and young Malawians call for youth wings

Report by Kristian Lausten Madsen, Venstres Ungdom, VU (Danish Liberal Youth) and Anja Katrine Søndergaard, Socialistisk Folkepartis Ungdom, SFU (Socialist People’s Party’s Youth).

The democracy of Malawi is just about as old as us: it was born in 1994, and most of the 5 parties in parliament are even younger. When meeting the party members – old as well as young – you sense an eagerness to develop and build capacity, especially when it comes to involving the Malawian youth in party politics in a meaningful way.


Kristian Lausten Madsen, Danish Liberal Youth, with members of Malawi’s youth wings.

The Danish Socialist People’s Party & the Liberal Party only agree on few things, but the fact that youth wings are valuable and meaningful is one of them. Now the two parties have joined forces in a partnership with the Malawian Centre for Multiparty Democracy, together with their respective youth wings. The focus of the partnership is on youth and the involvement of young people in Malawian politics in a constructive way.

The Malawian political parties at a pre-appraisal seminar unanimously pointed out involvement of youth as the key issue in 2015, where an assessment of needs within the political parties was carried out. Now the project has started in Malawi with a visit by representatives of the Danish Liberal Youth and Socialist People’s Parties Youth.

We took part in bilateral discussions with each of the respective five parties on youth involvement and facilitated two workshops: one with the party leaders and one with the young members of the parties. Among other issues, we introduced young party members to “How to build” and “How to run a youth wing”.


Anja Katrine Søndergaard, Socialist People’s Party’s Youth, discussing involvement of youth in politics.

Furthermore, we went through the concept of having an organizational structure with local branches including having a general assembly and organizing an annual congress. Finally, we went through the issue of policy development. Here it struck us: Malawian party leaders and party members struggle to identify policies where their party could differ from the rest. Malawian parties are simply more geographically based and dependent on their respective history and powerful party leader. Ideologies and visions are hard to track, and it seems that many Malawians vote according to ethnicity, what their family do or where they come from. In fact, it was stated in the manifesto of the current government party (DPP), that “The DPP believes that we in Malawi will not resolve our economic and social development problems by using borrowed ideas and concepts. We must pull ourselves up by the boot strings” (From chapter 4: Creating New Wealth).

This is the reason we arranged a workshop with the party members in which they were given the task of reflecting on their ideology and political agenda. Additionally we conducted a simulation of a democratic policy development process, where every party member has the possibility of suggesting an amendment to a political position. It was very inspiring to experience, how the young Malawians were discussing and proposing amendments to the policy paper.

Annual Report 2015 – Postcards from the Field

Postcards are not long and detailed, but they highlight the excitement you feel when experiencing something unusual and memorable. This year we asked all our partners to tell one brief story for the Annual Report, to get a sense of what they think has made a difference.

Read more