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Democracy and Governance

Strengthening systems of democratic governance to ensure accountability, justice, and inclusion

At Chemonics, we believe that those who have the least, deserve our best. And from our decades of experience working in nearly 150 countries around the world, we know that effective governance and accountable institutions are critical to alleviating poverty and achieving sustainable results in all sectors. So we partner with governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), the independent media, and local communities to strengthen democratic governance systems. We help prevent crime and violence in Mexico by improving government capacity at the federal, state, and municipal levels. And we ensure governance participation of women, people with disabilities, and youth in Nigeria. Our programs pursue a higher standard of transparency and accountability of leaders and institutions, and they protect and promote universal human rights.  


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Chemonics uses tools and innovative approaches tailored to the specific country context and needs of our beneficiaries. Our approach aims to foster an environment that respects individual liberty, guarantees transparent government institutions, and gives individuals a voice regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, family ties, political affiliation, personal opinion, or economic status.
Anti-Corruption: The prevention of corruption cuts across all of our programs. Our partners in these efforts include government, civil society, media outlets, and international organizations. We support efforts to improve education, government transparency, access to information, reforms, and national anti-corruption strategies.
Civil Society, Civic Engagement, and Independent Media: Our approach uses grants and capacity building to ensure that community-based and civil society organizations receive the support they need. We provide support on effective advocacy and networking, monitoring and evaluation, public awareness, gender empowerment, youth involvement, volunteerism, and legal aid to build demand for democratic reforms. We also promote citizen awareness and action.
Electoral Process Strengthening: We build sustainable democracies by supporting public voter education campaigns, youth awareness of political platforms and government functions, and women’s political participation.
Executive Branch Strengthening: We build the capacity of officials and institutions to implement laws, develop and oversee budgets, and hold other branches of government accountable. Our efforts streamline the laws, regulations, and policies that guide interaction with government institutions and design independent oversight mechanisms.
Human Rights: We work with governments and civil society to address structural human rights challenges by implementing more effective strategies and policy reforms. Our programs also support civil society groups in their efforts to raise awareness of and advocate against human rights violations.
Legislative Strengthening: We work with legislators to design programs that give citizens a better voice in how they are governed and support economic growth and development by shaping laws, budgets, and policies to that end. Our programs address issues such as constituent relations, policy analysis, and gender equity.
Local Governance and Decentralization: We build the capacity of local governments on service delivery, income generation, economic development, citizen participation. We also strengthen community-based and civil society organizations (CSOs) at the local level.
Rule of Law and Security Sector Strengthening: We promote the rule of law by improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and accessibility of justice systems and relying on capacity building, training, expert analysis, and process streamlining. We work with the private and nonprofit sectors to improve accountability and ethics and public confidence in courts. We also provide technical support for alternative dispute resolution, justice sector reforms, and case management systems, as well as in assessment and design of security sector governance projects.
Violence Prevention: To prevent violence and improve security, we work with governments and civil society on implementing comprehensive approaches through multi-sectorial collaboration and technical support to institutions on addressing youth crime and violence as well as community policing efforts.

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    Sharon Van PeltSharon Van Pelt brings 25 years of experience in policy dialogue, transparency, local governance, civil society, conflict and violence prevention, and peace building. In 2002 she received the USAID Meritorious Honor Award for advancing policy dialogue and reform on decentralization and transparency in a difficult political environment. Ms. Van Pelt has previously worked in Guatemala, Moldova, and Sri Lanka on policy reform as well as for USAID and UNDP, as well as chief of party for a civil society and media project in Moldova. She has also directed governance and peace building efforts worldwide, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. In 2012, she was designated as a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) from the International Society for Performance Improvement. Read more

    Michael GeertsonCurrently a director in the Europe and Eurasia region, Michael Geertson is a democracy and governance and conflict mitigation specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the management and technical direction of USAID programs. He has led design and implementation teams in more than a dozen countries around the world. Prior to his current role, Mr. Geertson was responsible for home-office oversight of a project to help the Haitian government and communities recover from the January 2010 earthquake. Mr. Geertson also has experience on governance efforts in Honduras, Mongolia, and Uganda, as well as law and civil society reforms in Albania, Armenia, and West Bank and Gaza. Mr. Geertson holds an M.P.A. from Virginia Tech's Center for Public Administration. Read more

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