The European Union (EU) funded project ‘Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy – STEP Democracy’ – supports inclusive, peaceful and credible electoral processes, and enhances the capacity of stakeholders to strengthen the democratic transition in Myanmar.
We support political parties, CSOs and sub-national governments in reform processes that are more participatory, transparent, accountable, inclusive and reflective of stakeholder needs. Our comprehensive elections program works with key electoral stakeholders, namely the national and subnational levels of the UEC, political parties, CSOs, sub-national governments and voters and first-time voters.
To contribute to the development of a democratic society founded on broad engagement in democratic institutions and processes.
What we do:
(1) Support to the Union Election Commission (UEC)
STEP Democracy works to improve capacities of the UEC to contribute to consultative and evidence-based reform processes and to improve legal and regulatory frameworks (including laws, by-laws, regulations, procedures and practices). STEP Democracy also strives to enhance capacities of the UEC to successfully manage the electoral cycle per international good practice and standards.
In order to ensure the administration of credible elections and the development of a sustainable election management body, we support the development of the technical expertise and confidence of staff at the Union and sub-commission levels together with support to enhance organizational and human resource development, strategic communications, outreach and electoral administration.
(2) Work with Civic Society Organizations (CSOs)
STEP Democracy has provided long-term support to the active participation of CSOs to observe the electoral process, advocate for improved electoral frameworks and educate on important electoral and civic rights, particularly in remote areas. Our work continues to strengthen the ability of CSOs to become more recognized as authoritative technical resource to decision-makers through support to strategic planning of advocacy campaigns, comparative research on reform and effective planning and delivery strategies for civic education.
(3) Strengthening Political Parties
STEP Democracy’s work with political parties takes on a two-fold approach. Through our technical support, we work to build the capacity of political parties to advocate for national electoral reforms and to institutionalise transparency in order to support party programmes and polices that increase their connection with voters. STEP Democracy also works with parties to support their identification of barriers to participation within them while building capacity of women and youth in order to support their active and effective participation within their parties.
(4) Support to Subnational Governments
In order to ensure that democratic reforms are reflective of local needs, STEP Democracy provides direct technical support to sub-national government bodies and election commissions. We also work to support multi-party and multi-stakeholder dialogues at this level in order to enhance and entrench democratic debates more widely.
(5) Development and implementation of Civic and Voter Education Training
In order to increase knowledge about Myanmar’s democratic institutions and processes, STEP Democracy conducts regular civic and voter education trainings across the country. Our civic education work particularly targets women and first-time voters in remote areas and areas of concern for the 2020 elections. A second civic education programme targets students between the ages of 13-16 so they can explore notions of democracy and how democratic principles and values are practiced, not only at the national level but also within their immediate communities – including their homes and villages. Through these programmes STEP Democracy hopes to ensure voters - including first-time voters, voters in remote areas and voters belonging to underrepresented groups - will be more aware of their civil and political rights and empowered to ensure the effective enjoyment of these rights and become more engaged in the democratic process.