DRL initiatives in Azerbaijan support regional information centers, legal advocacy, public education and training for journalists on the relationship between Democracy and Islam, and independent journalism.
One DRL program will carry out a public awareness campaign on Democracy and Islam that encompasses television, radio, and print media. Specific activities in the media campaign include televised discussions among religious, civil society, and government leaders on topics such as religious tolerance, gender equality, and good governance and live call-in radio shows on similar topics. These activities will be supplemented with a series of town hall meetings involving religious leaders, scholars, government officials, civil society activists, and youth in carefully chosen regions. The program will also fund the production and distribution of locally-produced literature and analysis on this topic through a quarterly bulletin, a website, and support for policy fellows to publish papers on this topic.
Another partner organization supports a Legal Advocacy Center. The Center provides pro bono legal services, and operates under the supervision of a pro-bono American attorney. The Center supports two full-time licensed attorneys who oversee 15 young lawyers/fellows. The Center acts as a training ground for young lawyers to gain the requisite 3-years experience to take the bar exam and become fully licensed in Azerbaijan.
One partner organization seeks to strengthen political parties and civic groups, enabling them to participate more actively in the country's short and long term electoral and political processes. Activities include: regional political party support; nonpartisan election observing (including recruiting and training observers and post-election analysis); support for long and short-term election observation efforts; seminars between Belarusian political and civic activists, as well as with their former Soviet Union and Eastern European counterparts; and assistance to increase women's political participation.
Another implementer seeks to form a consortium of established Belarusian NGOs by providing support to existing pro-democracy groups and expanding the movement's support base with outreach to new sectors, including women and youth. The program will include training sessions and seminars on human rights; public outreach to engage new NGOs in the democracy movement; youth leadership training; and democracy training.
DRL's partner organization provides training to enable minority populations to more effectively advocate for their rights. Through the provision of advocacy, organizational management, and media and public relations training for the Roma Council and 15 Romani Associations, the program targets institutional weaknesses that have hindered these bodies from effectively advocating on behalf of the disadvantaged Roma population. This program seeks to hold the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina more accountable to national and international legal frameworks that protect minority rights.
The DRL program works in eight regions in Georgia, including the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to increase the quality of journalism on conflict, human rights, and development issues. Both print and radio journalists will participate in thematic and practical training modules. Select participants will embark on trips to other regions within Georgia, where they will receive training on related topics such as minority rights, to enable the production of more inclusive and professional reports on regional issues. Throughout the program, participating journalists will produce reports on these issues, with the intent of publication in Georgian newspapers, and coverage by a weekly radio show that addresses regional and minority issues.
One DRL program implementer assists in the growth of a vibrant civil society in the Northern Caucasus: featuring organizations able to effectively serve their communities, undertake influential advocacy, and act as promoters of good governance, democratization, and human rights. The implementer complements the support of overt public advocacy by direct 'human rights' agencies through integrating capacity building support for peace-building, promotion of good governance, and increasing rights awareness across its programs and partnerships.
Another DRL program supports NGO advocacy training. This program operates in multiple regions throughout Russia, training local civil society organizations on topics such as garnering civic participation, planning and executing effective advocacy campaigns, utilizing the media to generate interest and debate on relevant issues, and developing strong relationships with other civil society, private, and public actors. Training for representatives from civil society organizations will be supplemented by a smaller sub-grants program to support network-building advocacy campaigns and build capacity for civil society organizations.
DRL's program in Serbia provides youth-focused democracy programming, including forging connections to youth of other countries in the region. Working throughout Serbia, DRL's program implementer and its local partner will conduct training workshops for youth on argumentation and debate, human rights, and advocacy. The program will also train teachers on developing appropriate curricula on these topics for use in Serbian classrooms. Following the workshops, students will prepare and organize public debates and debate tournaments on human rights issues. Some debates may be aired on national TV. A regional youth forum will provide the opportunity for Serbian students to interact with students from other countries in the region to receive training and engage in an interethnic dialogue.