Cultivating Democracy

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Issues in Colombia

In Colombia, the Issues DemTool is being used to allow political candidates to present their positions on key issues via recorded online videos, and citizens the opportunity to ask candidates questions about their political platform.

In Colombia, NDI’s Issues DemTool is allowing political candidates to go beyond traditional town hall meetings and media appearances to more widely share their positions on key issues. Through online videos, leaders reach their constituents directly on matters like quality of life, infrastructure and development. In turn, citizens have the opportunity to ask candidates questions specifically about their political platform, such as disability rights, mining projects, legislative transparency, and public health. 

Though the Issues DemTool was originally intended for candidates, NDI recently launched the Ciudadanía y Congresistas (Citizen and Legislators) platform in Colombia, which leverages the online video and open question format of the Issues DemTool to bridge the communication gap between between citizens and their already elected members of Congress. By nurturing dialogue and sharing statements via social media, Ciudadanía y Congresistas opens new avenues for  transparency and accountability. NDI customized the Issues DemTool to enhance the platform's usability. With a newly redesigned layout and workflow of content, infographics and educational materials that supplement video conversations between legislators and citizens, and the seamless integration of social media platforms like YouTube, the Issues DemTool addresses the specific needs and priorities of NDI’s program in Colombia.

Working alongside 14 national legislators from Bolívar, Chocó and Nariño, NDI staff has taught public officials, officials’ staff, civic leaders, and university students how to film and upload video responses to the Ciudadanía y Congresistas platform. Legislators have responded by answering dozens of previously unanswered questions, from public health issues to economic development. As NDI-Colombia Program Officer Andrés Osorio told Colombian news outlet HSB Noticias in March of this year, the Ciudadanía y Congresistas platform is strengthening relations between members of congress and citizens. Anyone with internet access in Colombia is now able to find out what their legislators are doing and make sure they hear the voices of the people who elected them.