In 2017, Westminster Foundation for Democracy launched a two-year programme to support research and information management in the Parliament of Botswana and improve methods to engage citizens with the parliament’s work. Working with parliamentary staff from the Research and Library, Hansard, Public Relations, and ICT departments as well as those who support committees, the programme aimed to foster improved, evidence-based policymaking and increase citizen participation in legislation and policymaking. The programme closed in 2019.
The ability of parliamentary staff to support MPs by providing clear, non-biased and accurate information is vital for MPs to effectively review government proposals. Access to relevant information helps parliaments to develop responsive, evidence-based public policies. An increased awareness and understanding of the role of parliament among citizens is critical to strengthening public participation in the lawmaking process. WFD worked to strengthen the National Assembly of Botswana’s procedures for the production and dissemination of research and information management, and develop the parliament’s strategy to communicate better. Through this work, it aimed for the Parliament of Botswana to be better equipped to provide effective research support to its member and to provide tailored outreach, education and engagement to citizens and stakeholders.
Under our Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) project, WFD worked with the Parliament of Botswana to address the barriers preventing the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups including young people, women and persons with disabilities.