Joint projects are run by two or more party-associated organizations (PAO) in Sweden together with at least two different cooperating parties in the receiving country. A part of those funds set aside by the government for PAO activities are reserved for such joint projects (10.8 million SEK of a total of 75 million in 2007).
Joint projects are aimed at promoting the growth of a smoothly functioning party system and a representative democratic form of government in developing countries and in Central and Eastern Europe through support for individual parties’ development. For VIF, it is important that joint projects not contribute to erasing ideological dividing lines or creating a special “political class,” because the parties’ ability to channel and represent peoples varied views and interests are fundamental in a democracy.
VIF participates, or has participated, in the following joint projects:
The goal of the joint Western Sahara project was to support Polisario in the work of developing the discussions concerning what a future democratic Western Sahara could look like. Another important aspect of the project was to achieve dialog and political unity in Sweden with regard to the struggle for an independent Western Sahara.
The central feature of the project was a series of seminars in the Saharan refugee camps concerning important issues for Polisario. In May of 2007 representatives of the Left Party took part in a delegation that visited the camps in order to take part in these seminars.
Within the framework of the project, a seminar about Western Sahara was carried out in the European Parliament across party lines in April of 2007, and Left Party members participated in the European Conference of Coordination and Support for the Saharawian People (EUCOCO) in Rome and the Polisario congress later that year. The project was started in 2006 and was run jointly with the CIS (of the Center Party), the Palme Center (of the Social Democrats) and SILC (of the Liberal People’s Party).
The “Young Leadership for Democracy Building” project was carried out between 2002 and 2007.Its purpose was to strengthen the possibilities for young people to participate in the political life of Guatemala, in the hope of having more young candidates in the 2007 general elections. The main component of the project was a three-year-long training program in the form of weekend courses for some 300 young people from different parties and social movements.
Another part of the project was an exchange program between politically active young people in Sweden and Guatemala. During the period of the project, 16 Swedish youths visited Guatemala and 32 young people from Guatemala visited Sweden, in order to learn firsthand from each other and exchage experiences. The project was carried out together with CIS (of the Center Party), Green Forum (of the Green Party), KIC (of the Christian Democrats)), the Palme Center (of the Social Democrats) and SILC (of the Liberal People’s Party). The cooperating organizations in Guatemala were INGEP (Instituto de Gerencia Política), an educational institute connected to the Political Science Department at Rafael Landivar University. The Guatemalan young people who participated came from a variety of political parties.
During 2006 and 2007 the Palme Center (Social Democrats) and VIF ran a joint project in Nepal, for the purpose of supporting the democratic process leading up to the election of the constitutional assembly. The cooperating organizations in Nepal were Nepali Congress party (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist/CPN-UML), but the projects activities were also directed at other member parties of the seven-party alliance founded in response to King Gyanendras coup d’état in 2005. As part of the project, two conferences entitled “Inclusive Democracy” and “Organizing of the Nepali State and the Federal System” were carried out, as well as a study tour to Sweden with six Nepalese politicians from different parties.
In 2009 VIF and Green Forum (the Green Party) conducted an exchange program with the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) and Palestinian National Initiative (PNI). The goal of the project was to support the development of democracy, independent media and human rights in Palestine.
The Palestinian political parties are facing a great challenge: to defend the social, economic and cultural rights of the people, and see that the country has functioning, democratic institutions. PPP and PNI both represent a third way in Palestinian politics, for sustainable peace, functioning institutions and democratic elections. The project was meant to support and strengthen their capacity to work for human rights, equal rights, the environment and a democratic development in Palestine. For this reason, in 2009, exchange visits were carried out between Sweden and Palestine, and meetings were arranged with, among others, political and social organizations in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
West Africa/Burkina Faso
In the autumn of 2007 a workshop was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in which a number of political parties from the country took part. Participants from Sweden were delegates from CIS (for the Center Party), KIC (for the Christian Democrats), Green Forum (for the Green Party) and VIF. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss a joint project in support of party development in West Africa. Local administration of the project was provided by Centre pour le Gouvernance Democratique in Burkina Faso. Workshops have also been arranged in several of Burkina Faso’s neighboring countries.