Centre Party International Foundation (CPIF)/ Centerpartiets Internationella Stiftelse (Sweden)
The Centre Party International Foundation, CPIF, is a Swedish Party-Affiliated Organisation established in 1995 by the Swedish Centre Party. It shares the same core values as the Centre Party, a social-liberal, green party with a strong emphasis on sustainability and decentralisation.
The mission of the Centre Party International Foundation is to strengthen democracy and human rights, with a focus on gender and environmental issues, in collaboration with political parties and organizations working to strengthen liberal values and local democracy, also outside large population centers.
The Centre party International Foundation is one of seven Party-Affiliated Organisations (PAOs) in Sweden. The specific objective of PAO development assistance is to promote human rights, democracy and good governance.
To achieve the overall objective of this strategy, PAO activities focus on two interdependent areas:
- Support for sister parties and affiliated political movements and organizations, with the goal of ensuring well-functioning democratic political parties.
- Support for multi-party systems, with the goal of ensuring well-functioning, democratically based multi-party systems.
In terms of the first area, Support for sister parties, CPIF currently supports one liberal sister party in Bosnia and Hercegovina, one civil rights organization in Palestine, Belarus and Burkina Faso respectively as well as seven liberal parties in the western Balkans through a regional project.
The aim of the support which is provided to our sister party in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Nasa Stranka, is capacity-building. To achieve it, CPIF implement a three-step program for political party capacity-building. Its objectives are to increase partners:
1. Institutional capacity;
2. Organizational capacity; and
3. Political and ideological capacity.
In Palestine, the objective is to see an increase in political participation and influence by women. To achieve this in a society where women are severely discriminated as result of patriarchal society structures and Israeli occupation is extremely challenging. CIS supports capacity building activities including workshops, trainings, discussion panels and opportunities from women to shadow local councilors and prepare their candidacy for local elections. CIS also supports the civil rights organization in its advocacy activities which is primarily intended to challenge the attitudes and perceptions that politicians and decision makers have regarding women in politics.
In Belarus, CIS is supporting its partner organization which is aspiring to become a political party, with advocacy and networking activities. This includes social media campaigns, newsletters and digital online learning and information tools as well as participation in regional and international events.
In Burkina Faso, the abrupt and inadequately planned government decentralisation in 2010 lead to poor local governance structures. Therefore, CIS is supporting a civil rights organisation which seeks to strengthen the coordination and linkages between local councillors and the population in one specific region. This is done mainly by supporting the coordination groups consisting of various community based stakeholders and local councillors with the objective to achieve a participatory and accountable political structure.
Through RLPA - Regional Liberal Political Academy, CIS’ aim is to supports young politicians’ increase in political participation and influence. Each year, 25 young liberal politicians from seven parties in Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia participate in a political training program which consists of three training modules, one mini-project implemented by each country team, and one annual alumni follow up event for two years after the completed training program.
In terms of the second area, Support for multi-party systems, CPIF is one of the implementers of the Program for Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA). PYPA is a ground-breaking capacity-building program aimed at young politicians in sixteen African countries. It is a true multi-party initiative, since both implementers and beneficiaries of the program come from political parties with different ideologies. It is the fruit of collaboration between four of the seven Swedish PAOs, two from the government and two from the opposition. Specifically, CPIF implements the program in Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Niger Togo, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal.
Beyond the actual activities, one of the added values for our partner organizations is the insight and access they get into the Centre Party and its affiliated organisations, such as Centre Women, Centre Students and Centre Youth. Over time, we have built a platform of mutual collaboration which supports the exchange of knowledge and experiences. It gives both sides the possibility to network and create mutual understanding for each other’s political contexts. We strongly believe that increasing knowledge and understanding is crucial when working with politics across national borders.