At USAID, we believe democracy and development are integrally linked. We know democracies are more peaceful, experience higher economic growth and lower poverty rates, protect the environment, provide more clean water, have higher life expectancies, and see more equitable distribution of education. By advancing democratic development across our foreign assistance, we are ensuring that growth and prosperity lift up everyone – not just the most favored or wealthy – while protecting human rights and dignity. That is why, USAID is promoting democratic societies as a central tenet of our global mission and leveraging all our resources and influence to support democratic progress.
USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance is advancing our vision of a world where freedom is flourishing and democracy delivers for all. The mission of the DRG Bureau is to lead USAID’s efforts to invigorate democracy, enhance human rights and justice, and bolster governance that advances the public interest and delivers inclusive development. We shape policy and development agendas, generate knowledge and evidence that drives innovation, catalyze partnerships and coalitions, and mobilize cutting-edge programs and technical assistance to enable USAID’s Missions and partners to accelerate democratic development globally.
Democracies must be continually nurtured and protected. The credibility of any democracy is its willingness to accept criticism, self-correct, and embrace diverse perspectives. These core attributes set democracies apart from authoritarian states where challenges to the status quo are repressed. At this pivotal moment – when democracies are confronting serious threats from within and from outside their borders – we are advancing fairness and freedom with partners and allies around the world.
We focus on:
- Democratic Governance – Building open, responsive, and accountable institutions and processes that serve the needs and preferences of the public.
- Participation and Inclusion – Ensuring all have the opportunity to participate and have a voice in how they will be governed.
- Enabling Credible, Free and Fair, and Peaceful Elections and Transition of Power – Promoting credible and transparent political competition and periodic elections for citizens to participate in their country’s governance and have their preferences represented.
- Boosting Independent Media – Defending freedom of expression and helping journalists defend themselves against digital surveillance, censorship, and repression; partnering with countries to promote a free and open internet, and to infuse democratic values and human rights principles into the adoption of major new technologies.
- Advancing Civic Engagement – Helping countries develop and sustain effective institutions and citizen-responsive governance that can fulfill their obligations toward citizens.
- Promoting Justice and the Rule of Law – Strengthening justice and security institutions, justice and security reforms, holding institutions and people accountable to the rule of law, and providing access to justice mechanisms.
- Advancing Respect for Human Rights – Supporting efforts to prevent human rights abuses, protect human rights defenders, and respond to human rights abuses.
- Countering Resurgent Authoritarian Influence – Strengthening democratic and institutional resilience to tackle malign authoritarian influence, disinformation and digital authoritarianism.
- Addressing and Fighting Corruption – Mobilizing broad-based coalitions and partnerships; galvanizing collective action across sectors; elevating anti-corruption considerations in policy making; and catalyzing innovation and experimentation to provide cutting-edge and responsive technical leadership and programming that focuses on prevention, detection, mitigation, and accountability.
- Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility – Ensuring all are included and represented in the governance process, including protecting the most vulnerable, focusing on barriers to women’s participation in government, and preventing and responding to gender-based violence.