An Evaluation of Democracy Assistance Projects of Young Donors, 2013-2018

This research project was financed by National Science Centre (NCN) in Poland within SONATA program. Paulina Pospieszna was a principal investigator and Aleksandra Galus is a research assistant.

The aim of this research project was to assess the impact of democracy assistance efforts taken by young democracies that participated in the third-wave of democratization. Recently young democracies that were recipients of this type of aid not such as long time ago became active in the field of democracy promotion. These countries are establishing democracy assistance programs in their regions, and these programs are growing and being institutionalized. Much of democracy assistance work is done by civil society organizations that collaborate with partners in recipient countries within specific projects. How do these projects impact the beneficiaries of the project? How effective are these project in changing opinions and behaviors of the target groups? Finally, do they contribute to diffusing democratic ideas and behaviors? These are the questions we aim to answer within our current project. In order to answer this question we focus on young donor countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Specifically we aim to evaluate the project of Polish, Slovak, Czech, and Hungarian donors in democratizing and authoritarian states, such as Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia. Because of difficulties in measuring the impact of democracy assistance projects we chose to focus on projects that are targeted at specific target groups in partner countries, e.g. young people, women, or journalists and we useRandomized Controlled Trails (RCTs) method of impact evaluation. It is believed that this method may help solve the problem of causal attribution of specific outcomes to democracy assistance projects (about the problems with evaluating the impact of these projects – here). This has not been done in democracy assistance field yet. Therefore, with this novel method, this study may be a real breakthrough in evaluating donor-sponsored NGOs project in recipient countries, thus contributing to theory and practice.

To find out more about this past project see the website