Democracy and Human Rights

Human rights and democratic participation are crucial, inextricably linked elements of modern societies. On the one hand, the safeguarding and enforcement of human rights requires democratic processes. On the other, equal political participation is not possible without fundamental political rights such as freedom of expression.

In the field of democracy and human rights, we collaborate with partners who work to protect minorities against racist attacks and structural discrimination. In addition to this, our work focuses on societal strategies for combatting all forms of group-focused enmity, as well as on competency development for preventing and eliminating right-wing extremism.

Collaboratively-developed, integrated action plans that pool locally available resources have proven to be an effective means in the fight against right-wing extremism and racism. In Germany, such local alliances for the promotion of democracy have been supported by the federal government for several years. One such example is the federal program “Live Democracy!”. In process evaluations of this program and its predecessors, which we have been conducting since 2008, we verified the effectiveness of this approach. This assessment has been further supported by our experiences both evaluating the City of Munich’s action plan against right-wing extremism, racism, and group-focused enmity, and monitoring the implementation of an integrated action plan against right-wing extremism and racism in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Our approach to our work with clients and partners is characterized by methodological diversity and a wide range of perspectives. Among other methods, we employ structured interviews, surveys, Qualitative-Comparative Analyses (QCA), web-based monitoring, expert-based valuation procedures, and workshops. With these tools, we assess impact and evaluate processes.

Furthermore, we believe that it is important to strengthen societal resources and develop the competencies of people across various sectors of society, such as in local politics, rural civil society, and sports. One of our partners in this is the federal program “Zusammenhalt durch Teilhabe” (Cohesion Through Participation). We supported grantees of this program in quality development by creating a conceptual framework and quality standards for counselling in clubs and associations, and producing guidelines and manuals that contained materials and instruments for quality development. All these products were the result of numerous workshops with program stakeholders.The importance of developing quality standards and ensuring their application was evident in other evaluations we have conducted in this area of work as well. Examples include the federal program “kompetent. für Demokratie” (Competent for Democracy) (2008 to 2011), which promoted consulting networks against right-wing extremism, and the quality development of state-level networks in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt.

In addition to our local work, we also deal with questions of basic human rights, such as food security, access to education, political participation, and access to natural resources on a global scale. One example of our work in this field includes our evaluation of the human rights funding division of Bread for the World, which implements approximately 300 projects in more than 60 countries.