Best DemWorks Posts of 2016

In the past year, the DemWorks blog has become an established platform for sharing ideas on democratic development around the world. Since the DemWorks blog launched in February 2015, we have published over 159 posts and reached 108,000 users in 198 countries around the world.

Our subscriber list has grown from just over 400 this time last year to 2000 people who have been gracious enough to let us into your email inboxes.

NDI is an organization with one of the deepest pools of practical expertise on democracy and democratic institutions in the world. This blog is our effort to share that insight beyond the direct beneficiaries of our programming.

With that goal in mind, we’ve added two new features to the blog this year. For the first time, guest bloggers have been welcomed to share their views and our blog series -- Voices from Guatemala and Resilient Democracy -- gave readers a deep-dive understanding of these complex topics.

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Here’s the list of the most-read blog posts and series from 2016.

1) What the blockchain could mean for democracy in the digital age by Dan Swislow

A technology revolution is under way and it’s name is the blockchain. The technology that was originally invented as the backbone of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies is now being adapted to enhance good government. To speed the development of these applications, NDI joined the Bitfury Group and New America to launch the Blockchain Trust Accelerator.

2) The Role of Citizens in Democracy by Pat Merloe

Citizen engagement is the cornerstone of democracy. In fact, “there is no democracy without the engagement of citizens,” argues NDI Director of Electoral Programs Pat Merloe. Barriers to citizen participation are numerous, but government transparency and universal equal suffrage are essential ingredients to empower an active and informed citizenry.

3) Six Critical African Elections To Watch in 2016 by Paul Friesen

At the beginning of the year, Paul Friesen of NDI’s Southern and East Africa team highlighted six elections to watch in 2016. Over the course of the year, 32 of the 54 countries in Africa were scheduled to hold elections. The political situation in these countries is quite diverse, and “understanding the political background of each election allows for a richer narrative in the journey toward democratic consolidation,” Friesen writes.

4) Voices from Guatemala Series (English, Spanish)

Guatemala is a country transition. Over a series of posts in English, Spanish and indigenous Mayan languages, NDI explored the views and experiences of its local partner organizations and election observers as they navigate uncharted political territory. The series focuses on unsung heroes working to build a strong democracy in Guatemala; their hopes for their communities and country.

5) Papa said: “Set a benchmark for the women in our community” by Sehrish Naseem

Becoming involved in politics is often daunting, becoming involved in politics as a woman in Pakistan is often unthinkable. Sehrish Naseem, NDI’s 2016 Andi Parhamovich Fellow, describes her decision to stand up to traditional gender roles in Pakistan and work for women’s political empowerment.

Want more? Read the top posts from 2015.