Civil Society Engagement with Political Parties During Elections: Lessons from Ghana and Sierra Leone

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This study examines the conditions that enable civil society organizations (CSOs) to influence political parties during election campaigns. Drawing on desk reviews and the experiences of CSOs during the 2012 elections in Ghana and Sierra Leone, the study found that, for CSOs to have their demands incorporated into party programmes, qualities such as political neutrality, evidence-based data gathering, and consistency in judgments are critical. Furthermore, applying methods such as lobbying and strategic use of media were found to be very effective in engaging political actors. The study recommends that CSOs should be innovative in their strategies with political parties, in order to inject fresh momentum in the way political parties respond to CSOs.