Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

As mandated in the QDDR, the DRG Center serves to elevate and integrate democracy, human rights and governance within the Agency’s overall development portfolio.

Learn, Serve and Influence: Leading a Global DRG Sector

As the hub of global DRG, the Center focuses its efforts on advancing policy changes, working with over 90 field missions worldwide to developing innovative programs and sponsoring cutting edge research project through a vibrant network of academic partners and implementing organizations. The Center also supports field missions in the design of new DRG strategies and field assessments, manages global mechanisms, provides technical support during periods of crisis or opportunity, and conducts evaluations of mission programs.

The DRG Center will pursue this goal through three strategic objectives:

LEARN: Increase knowledge on the global advancement of democracy, human rights and governance to determine what works and does not work.

The Learning Agenda includes:

  • The USAID Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Learning Agenda is a set of twelve research questions in priority development areas for which the DRG Center intends to organize and disseminate existing data, generate new evidence, and produce conclusions and recommendations through academic research, program evaluations, and multi-method tests of the assumptions and theories of change that guide DRG programming.
  • The Learning Agenda is intended to organize and generate evidence to inform USAID DRG strategic planning, project design, and in-service training efforts.

SERVE: Improve the quality and impact of the democracy, human rights and governance technical assistance that the Center provides to USAID Missions abroad.

The DRG Center serves the field by:

  • Providing effective technical assistance as requested by Missions.
  • Offering 14 global mechanisms that provide state-of-the art programming, expertise, and urgent funding.
  • Creating practical knowledge, through its learning agenda, to improve technical assistance at every stage of the program cycle — from assessment to design to implementation and evaluation.

INFLUENCE: Demonstrate the value DRG serves in democracy, human rights and governance in key USAID, U.S. Government, and multilateral strategies, policies and budgets.

One strategy that the Center is advancing is integrating DRG programming into other development sectors. Many of the constraints to economic growth and public service delivery relate to poor government legitimacy, weak governance capacity, and limited transparency and accountability. Improved governance can lead to greater achievement and sustainability of development gains.

The Agency Action Plan for DRG Integration will:

  • Identify key entry points for integration within Agency sectors and initiatives.
  • Build Agency capacity to integrate DRG principles, practices, and analytical tools into training and technical assistance.
  • Increase the evidence base to demonstrate the impact of integrated approaches to development.
  • Facilitate the scale-up of integrated approaches through the streamlining of Agency policy and creation of Integration guidance.

Elections and Political Processes Fund:

The Elections and Political Processes (EPP) Fund provides assistance for critical, unanticipated electoral and political processes worldwide. Since it was established in 2006, the EPP Fund has provided more than $244 million to 80 countries or regions. All USAID Missions may apply for support from the EPP Fund.

To be considered for funding, Missions’ applications must meet at least two of the three following criteria: addresses snap elections or other unanticipated needs; exploits a specific and narrow window of opportunity; and proposes innovative and creative approaches.

Global Labor Program:

With a Leader of nearly $50 million and a $20 million ceiling for Associate Awards, the five-year program (2016 - 2021) is being implemented by the Solidarity Center, and promotes labor rights and access to justice for workers. The award supports country programs in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Burma, Ukraine, Morocco, South Africa, Colombia, Mexico and regional programs in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southern Africa and Latin America that cover activities in 31 countries. The regional program in Latin America has a dedicated Central America component, housed in El Salvador. All program activities are designed to be inclusive of vulnerable populations and to promote women's empowerment. Cross-cutting regional and global activities include grassroots advocacy to address gender-based violence at work. There is also a significant global and regional set of activities to address labor migration and counter-trafficking in persons

Human Rights Grants Program

Human Rights Grants Program The Human Rights Grants Program (HRGP), which has provided $37.5 million to address human rights challenges in over 45 different country and regional missions, was established alongside the creation of the DRG Center in 2012 as a means to directly engage USAID field missions in planning and implementing activities that address fundamental challenges to the sustainability of development results. The program supports the development of human rights programs, including innovative projects that respond to urgent or unanticipated human rights needs. Engagement of and cooperation with local and regional organizations is a key aspect of the success of this work as well as enabling Missions to respond to human rights concerns through stand-alone programs or by integrating human rights objectives into current programs and those under design, regardless of sector.

Learn more about the DRG Divisions

DRG DivisionsGlobal & Regional Policy DivisionLearning DivisionCross Sectoral Programs DivisionStrategic Planning DivisionDCHA Front OffoceGovernance & Rule oF law DivisionHuman Rights DivisionDRG LeadershipElections and Political Transitions DivisionCivil Society & Media DivisionDRG Sector CouncilEmpowerment & Inclusion DivisionGender Working GroupLeadership & Training

Related Resources

Technical Publications on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance