Strengthening Political Entities and Civil Society (SPECS)


  • Implementation period: July 2013 – July 2016
  • Project budget: $18 million

The Strengthening Political Entities and Civil Society project deepens democratic practices that lead to inclusive and transparent political processes. The success of Afghanistan’s democracy depends on institutions and processes that advance political stability, promote peaceful transitions of power, and reinforce government legitimacy through the informed participation of Afghan citizens in free and fair elections. The Strengthening Political Entities and Civil Society project promotes citizen engagement with political parties, coalitions, and candidates, while also assisting civil society to advocate for policy positions with politicians and elected leaders. USAID’s support to political actors and civil society fosters more opportunities for women to participate and serve as elected leaders in Afghanistan.


  • Support political parties and coalitions to develop platforms and policies, as well as increase voter outreach and engagement.
  • Train elected officials on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Improve women’s access and ability to run for office and serve as elected leaders.
  • Support watchdog civil society organizations to monitor presidential, provincial, and parliamentary election cycles, including on Election Day.
  • Support civil society networks to engage elected leaders on advocacy issues.


  • Hosted female campaign schools for over 280 provincial council candidates from 34 provinces.
  • Trained 50,000 candidate agents across 28 provinces for Election Day oversight. 
  • Fielded domestic observers at over 4,000 polling stations during the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections. 
  • Trained 470 newly-elected provincial councilors (84 of them women) from all 34 provincial councils on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Organized 93 political discussions drawing 3,429 participants from local civil society organizations, political parties, and other election stakeholders to increase cross-party dialogue.
  • Organized 114 meetings of provincial women’s policy advocacy groups which generated 110 issue-based follow-up meetings for 3,311 individuals (278 of them are males) from civil society organizations, universities, political parties, Departments of Women’s Affairs and independent women activists.
  • Trained 67 trainers from 16 political parties and coalitions on campaign skills to help parties prepare candidate campaign staff and supporters for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
  • Advanced 18 advocacy initiatives in six regions by 37 partner CSOs, bringing together civil society and elected leaders to address issues of importance in their communities.

Last updated: November 23, 2015

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