Multi-Party Office

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Multi-Party Office

In 1999, WFD helped establish a shared service to provide pooled administrative and project-management capacity to the political parties with fewer seats in the House of Commons, which would have otherwise been unable to implement international programmes. 

Since, the Multi-Party Office (MPO) has supported the Liberal Democrats, the Democratic Unionist Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to undertake international engagement and development programmes around the world. 

Programmes implemented by the smaller political parties in the UK House of Commons complement main Foundation programmes and the work of larger parties. By partnering with small opposition parties in countries dominated by one or two major political parties, Multi-Party Office programmes help build truly multi-party democracies. They share political experience that is relatable and can be adapted to local context by minority political parties campaigning on specific issues or representing a certain region or group. 

Multi-Party Office programmes are partnerships that share experiences, learning and best practice. Smaller UK parties work with their sister parties and regional networks to enhance internal party rules and procedures, strengthen party branches, improve membership outreach practices, adopt evidence based and inclusive policy development processes, and increase opportunities for participation by historically marginalised groups. 

Liberal Democrats

In 2018, the Liberal Democrats continued their work with the Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Africa’s largest affiliation of liberal political parties, with workshops and trainings throughout the year. In May 2017, the ALN and a Lib Dem consultant provided campaign training and mentoring to a female Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate and her 10-person team in Kenya in the run-up to the 2017 election. 

Find out about the ALN Women’s Leadership Programme 2020.

Building on its longstanding sister party relationship with the Democratic Alliance (DA) in South Africa, the Lib Dems undertook a two-day training in July 2017 for the DA Young Leaders’ Programme class of 2017. The training, attended by 19 participants from across South Africa, covered the areas of policy development and presentation skills. The Lib Dems supported a delegation of the top graduates from the 2017 class to attend the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Congress in Amsterdam in December 2017. A series of meetings with key European liberals and international youth organisations were arranged for the graduates, with the purpose of deepening the connection between the DA and the wider liberal family and to give these two young people a sense of the wider international context and an opening into the world of international liberalism.  

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru started a new Violence against Women in Politics project in Argentina with a three-member delegation, led by Liz Saville Roberts MP, attending a workshop on this topic in Buenos Aires in November 2017. The sessions focused on the prevalence and scale of the problem, including the online abuse of politically active women; existing mechanisms that address the issue; and gaps in the system with recommendations for strengthening structures in both countries. Plaid Cymru produced a research paper on the online abuse of UK politicians, a clear deterrent to young women considering entering politics, which was disseminated at the event.  

Recognising that violence against politically active women in politics is widespread, and that no country or political party is immune from the problem, the Multi-Party Office leveraged the support of all seven political parties in Westminster to organise a two-day international summit on Violence against Women in Politics in London in March 2018. With 54 speakers from over 20 countries, including high-profile speakers from across the UK political spectrum, as well as leading international activists, experts and academics, the objective of the event was to identify and build consensus around practical measures that bodies with authority and responsibility can take to prevent and address violence against women’s activism and leadership in politics and public life.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) launched a new project with the Conservative Party of Georgia (CPG) on the development of a credible and comprehensive disabilities policy. The CPG has created a working group to review the research report commissioned by the project and to begin focused consultations with relevant stakeholders in advance of drafting a policy document. 

The Green Party of England and Wales

The Green Party of England and Wales have been working with the Eastern Africa Greens Federation (EAGF) since 2013. Most recently, the Multi-Party Office launched the Green Talent Accelerator in partnership with the EAGF, which identifies emerging leaders and provides personalised support those seeking to hold public office, promote democratic values and contribute to the advancement of their parties and the network. Four participants took part in the programme in 2019, from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

This programme builds upon previous work with the EAGF where, in 2017, the Green Party of England and Wales organised campaign training for EAGF members in the run up to elections in Kenya and Rwanda. Political parties developed campaign strategies, pledges, key messages and communications material. The Multi-Party Office has supported the development of a regional campaign strategy on the Green Economy, a Youth Strategy and a Women’s Group Action Plan.  

Alongside the programmes in East Africa, the Young Greens of England and Wales developed the Green Academy in North Macedonia with the youth wing of the Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (DOM) party, known as MODOM. Drawing on the Young Greens’ own experience of their 30 Under 30 youth training initiative, they worked with MODOM to develop a programme focused on political activism, campaigning and public speaking skills. It included sessions on LGBTIQ+ issues and environmental sustainability, lead by representatives from the Young Greens and local civil society organisations.

Cross-party programmes

The WFD Multi-Party office leveraged the experiences and regional expertise of the UK political parties to support the decentralisation process in Ukraine through a joint project with WFD’s Research programme. A workshop was held in July 2017 in the Baranivska region of Ukraine, where WFD had been supporting the amalgamation process through the Civil Society Institute. With a new local council appointed, the MPO facilitated the sharing of UK experience of local government management and rural economic development. The local councillors and community leaders were assisted in the development of the district’s strategic plan and budget. The two Scottish delegates shared lessons on building trust and mechanisms for citizen participation; ways to increase economic activity and youth employment in a rural environment; and developing a shared community identity.  

Christine Jardine MP Christine Jardine, the Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West
"The importance of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy is not only through initiatives strengthening democracies but also in the support and inclusion of women and minority groups within these political systems. The Foundation has a profound impact because of the trust it has earned through active engagement with and commitment to over 40 nations. Especially at a time where democratisation appears to be faltering around the world, the Foundation remains of vital importance to our world and the UK's place within it."

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