The McCain Institute is working to support the successful conduct of free and fair elections in North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Few countries have suffered like the Congo – from a brutal colonial occupation, to dictatorship, to local warlords, conflict, poverty and disease. National parliamentary and presidential elections have been held successfully only twice in recent years, and provincial elections never.

We believe that democracy – especially at the local level – is essential to bringing better governance to the people of the Congo, which in turn is essential to reversing the cycle of decline that has afflicted the Congo for years.

With presidential and national elections expected to take place in 2016, our goal is simple: support electoral stakeholders in North Kivu – one of the Congo’s most troubled provinces – so they can carry out a more transparent and inclusive process.

There are doubts inside and outside of the DRC about whether these elections will take place in timely manner and will be inclusive. While it is up to the Congolese government to conduct the elections, the international community plays an immensely important role.

With our local staff on the ground in North Kivu, the McCain Institute has conducted the first-ever local opinion polls, public awareness campaigns, stake-holder meetings and training of potential political candidates, in order to help promote an impartial, transparent and ultimately effective electoral environment in North Kivu province.

The McCain Institute is also working with local and international stakeholders, particularly the National Independent Electoral Commission, provincial authorities, political parties, NGOs and the media, and has served as a key convener, bringing local, national and international actors together to focus on common objectives.