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International IDEA supports strategic planning capacities of Haitian political parties
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Six major Haitian political parties implement International IDEA Strategic Planning Tool

Six major Haitian political parties implement International IDEA Strategic Planning Tool

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From 3 to 5 May 2017, political cadres from six of the major political parties represented in the Haitian Parliament gathered at Hotel Montana to attend a three-day retreat organized by International IDEA. The purpose for each of these parties was to develop or review their strategic plans using International IDEA’s Strategic Planning Tool for Political Parties (SPT). This Tool provides a step-by-step methodology for self-reflection and dialogue about the current and desired future state of the political party.

The SPT was co-developed by International IDEA and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), on the basis of comparative global experiences of political parties and politicians in strengthening political parties’ internal organizational capacities, internal democracy and forming a shared organizational vision.

Its implementation in Haiti involved two steps. First, local experts in the area of strategic planning and intraparty dialogue facilitation were identified and trained on the methodology of this Tool from 27 to 28 April 2017. The second step for International IDEA was to organize a strategic planning retreat, attended by representatives of the six political parties. Each party had a team of three senior officials delegated to discuss and draft/review its strategic plan, and each of these teams was assigned a local expert to facilitate internal party discussions. At the end of the retreat, each political party had developed a draft strategic plan, which they will subject to extensive internal consultations and input in the coming months. It is expected that each political party will have a new/revised strategic plan before the end of 2017.

This process was successful, thanks to the collaboration between International IDEA Global Programme (Political Parties and Representation Processes team) and International IDEA Haiti Office.

Why strategic planning for political parties?

The real test of maturity for political parties is their ability to combine steering a self-chosen political and organizational course with adapting their organization to its constantly changing constitutional, electoral and societal environments. Doing so is possible if planning is based on a proper and integral self-analysis, a thorough understanding of stakeholders’ interests, needs and expectations, and a realistic and goal-oriented strategy with a concrete implementation plan.

Change is a constant for political parties in any political system, both internally and in their external surroundings. New individuals take up party leadership positions; changes may be made to national constitution or political party and electoral laws; or membership base and/or demographic composition may change. Such changes may either strengthen, weaken or even end the life of a political party. To successfully manage these transitions and turbulent political situations, political parties need solid institutional foundation, clarity of vision and strategies. Absence of a shared organizational understanding negatively affects coherence and the very existence of the party may be at risk in the medium to long-term. This lack of clarity and strategic planning within parties also makes it difficult for citizens to identify themselves with a specific party, and contributes to political apathy and/or citizens’ mistrust of political parties and politics. This is no exception in Haiti.

International IDEA has many years’ experience in producing and applying comparative knowledge and practical tools in the area of political party strengthening in general, covering a wide range of aspects including strategic planning, gender mainstreaming within political parties,  interparty dialogue, party system legal reforms and party policy development from Bolivia to Nepal, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Haiti among others. Knowledge transfer and capacity strengthening in this areas remains one of International IDEA’s priorities. From 19-21 May 2017 for instance, International IDEA will facilitate the participation of two young Haitian leaders in the First Annual Summer School for executives of the youth sections of political parties to be held in Kigali, Rwanda.

About the Author

FORMER Senior Programme Officer
Frank Kayitare

Frank Kayitare was a Senior Programme Officer within the Political Participation and Representation Programme. 

About the Author

FORMER Senior Programme Officer
Marie Doucey

Marie Doucey’s work focuses on implementing International IDEA’s programme to support democratic consolidation in Haiti. The programme aims to strengthen political parties, parliamentary structures and electoral processes. It aims to increase the political participation and representation of women, the engagement of youth and accountability to citizens.