In 2017, Westminster Foundation for Democracy launched a two-year programme to support research and information management in the Parliament of Botswana, while improving methods to engage citizens with the parliaments work. Working with parliamentary staff from the Research and Library, Hansard, Public Relations, ICT departments and who support Committees, the programme will lead to improved and informed policies; and increased citizen participation in legislation and policy-making. The programme closed in 2019.
Parliaments are at their core information institutions. The technical capacity of parliamentary staff to support MPs in receiving clear, non-biased and accurate information is vital for MPs to provide effective review of 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 with citizens is critical to strengthening public participation in the legislative 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 deliver better and effective communications. Through this work, it aimed for the Parliament of Botswana to be better equipped to provide effective research support to Members 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 institutional barriers affecting the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups including young people, women and persons with disabilities.