Strengthening Political Entities and Civil Society (SPECS)


  • Implementation period: July 2013 – July 2016
  • Project budget: $18 million

The Strengthening Political Entities and Civil Society (SPECS) project helps deepen democratic practices that lead to inclusive, transparent, and accountable political processes. The success of Afghanistan’s democracy is dependent on institutions and processes that support political stability, promote peaceful transitions of power, and reinforce legitimacy through the will of Afghan voters. SPECS promotes citizen engagement with political parties, coalitions, and candidates, while also assisting civil society to engage politicians and elected leaders. USAID’s support to political actors and civil society includes a strong focus on ensuring that women have more opportunities to participate and serve as elected leaders in Afghanistan.


  • Support parties/coalitions to develop platforms and policies, as well as increase voter outreach and engagement.
  • Train elected officials on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Improve women’s access and ability to run for office and serve as elected leaders.
  • Support watchdog civil society organizations (CSOs) to monitor presidential, provincial, and parliamentary election cycles, including on Election Day.
  • Support CSO networks to engage elected leaders on advocacy issues.


  • Hosted female campaign schools for over 280 provincial council candidates from 34 provinces.
  • Trained almost 50,000 candidate agents across 28 provinces for Election Day oversight.
  • Fielded domestic observers at over 4,000 polling stations during the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections.
  • Trained 82 newly-elected female provincial councilors on their roles and responsibilities.  
  • Trained all 34 newly-elected provincial councils on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Organized 55 monthly political discussions drawing close to 2,500 participants from local CSOs, political parties, and other election stakeholders to increase cross-party dialogue.
  • Organized 96 meetings of provincial women’s policy advocacy groups for networking and advocacy support.
  • Advanced 18 advocacy initiatives in six6 regions by 37 partner CSOs, bringing together civil society and elected leaders to address issues of importance in their communities.

Last updated: May 12, 2015

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