TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly|Democracy's Next Frontier

By TAI (Role at TAI)


The deadly tax protests in Kenya underscored the challenge of raising revenue in debt saddled countries and to the importance of building trust, accountability and inclusion to underpin fiscal policy. Kathleen Klaus outlines four key factors – centered around the disregard by government of the lives of ordinary Kenyans’ – as motivating the protests. Local civil society issue a statement of support for citizens demands for economic reform, while Ken Opalo argues that Ruto cannot fix finances in the country without restoring trust first.

James McKinney and Vlodomyr Tarnay offer an introduction to applying AI in public procurement, aiming to demystify the technology’s implementation in this sector.

Corporate power needs to be curbed to assure a just energy transition, and philanthropy can help argue Jana Morgan and Rachna Saxena. Governments must enact strong safeguards to ensure green industrial policies benefit people and the planet (and draw on TAI research on corporate capture in their arguments for more funder attention to the risks).

Have you heard of “governance in silico”? Researchers suggest this exploratory approach enhances public consultation and engagement in AI governance, offering a viable alternative to the often exaggerated claims of evidence-based policy.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia's restrictions on historical archives, affirming rights to freedom of expression and information for victims' relatives and researchers seeking truth about past atrocities.

As Eniola Akinkuoto explains, Nigeria considers a new bill that would further tax companies, but some worry that it will scare away even more multinational companies.

What happens when a moment of anti-corruption reform transitions to government business as usual? A new blog examines the Armenian experience offering suggestions for policymakers. 

The latest ICAIE report highlights significant transformations among transnational criminal organizations in Latin America. New alliances with extra-regional actors and support from ideologically flexible authoritarian governments pose serious threats to democratic governance.

Oxfam America aimed to persuade Chevron and other corporations to disclose more comprehensive details about their global business operations, while the International Council of Mining and Metals, representing major global mining companies, reveals its members paid a total of US$54.2 billion in taxes and royalties in 2023, 0.7% less than the previous year. 


Don't miss Casey Kelso's article on setting international standards to protect civic space and enable philanthropy. Useful reading for anyone advocating for civil society funding rights.


MacArthur Foundation: Claire Poelking, program officer in the Philanthropy Field Support Program and New Work Program, shares key changes in grantmaking practices, including reducing restrictions, enhancing transparency, and improving partnerships. 

Packard Foundation: President and CEO Nancy Lindborg explores philanthropy's innovation challenge and opportunities for bold climate action with Savanna Ferguson from Climate Breakthrough.

Ford Foundation: Martín Abregú, VP of international programs, interviews Degan Ali, Executive Director of Adeso, on transforming humanitarian aid and promoting local leadership in development.

Chandler Foundation: Highlights successful investment in beneficial ownership transparency in Malawi that leverage grant support to unlock larger financing and government commitment.


Explore why populists are gaining power globally in this episode of "What’s Wrong With Democracy?" with Ben Ansell, Lone Sorensen, and Kevin Casas-Zamora. They delve into whether populists offer viable solutions and if they fulfill their promises. Supported by TAI member Open Society Foundations.


Funders talk a lot of localization but putting talk into action is hard. USAID's update on progress toward llocalizing 25% of funds shows setbacks. Reality might be less than official figures suggest - Publish What You Fund found only 5.2% of eligible funding went to local organizations in 2023, contrasting with USAID's estimate of 9.6%.

A Share Trust study uncovered stark realities in aid localization: An international NGO imposed a 34% overhead rate, leaving local partners empty-handed. CEO Courtenay Cabot Venton underscores this as a critical issue for localization efforts.

Kaerie Ray reviews the importance of equitable and inclusive practices in grant processes, urging their application in US philanthropy that was high as $105 billion in 2022.

Jewlya Lynn and Julia Coffman see philanthropy largely failing to recognize that there are different mental models for how to change systems. Sometimes the approaches foundations use are based on competing mental models or models that are not a good fit for the systems, problems, strategies, or practices they are using.


Check out the insightful discussion hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace featuring Saskia Brechenmacher and Katherine Mann, authors of "Aiding Empowerment: Democracy Promotion and Gender Equality in Politics." Watch the session here for valuable insights.


Democracy's Next Frontier: Insights and Innovations

It is past time for a paradigm shift in democracy, rights, and governance, argues Hahrie Han, who emphasizes equipping citizens with capabilities for collective action and responding to contingencies, beyond incentivizing individual participation. Han's approach challenges traditional democratic reform targets by focusing on nurturing democratic norms and fostering spaces for democratic practice between state and society.

Josh Lerner is also looking to promote democratic innovation, advocating moving beyond defending elections to creating balanced democratic ecosystems. Amid rising anti-democratic movements globally, Lerner proposes integrating electoral, direct, deliberative, and participatory democracy to strengthen democratic resilience. He offers a  framework that seeks to address contemporary challenges and foster a more robust democratic environment.

To retain legitimacy, governments want to be seen to “deliver” but bureaucracies don’t all run smoothly. Governments worldwide are increasingly adopting behavioral science to address "sludge," which impedes public access to services and exacerbates psychological burdens. Sludge audits systematically identify and remove these barriers, aiming to enhance government efficiency and restore public trust. The Good Practice Principles from the International Sludge Academy promote integrating sludge audit methodologies into governance and service design.

For the latest state of play on democratic health, USAID's Learning Digest recaps global democracy metrics, revealing persistent declines in core democratic processes. These metrics offer comprehensive data to address ongoing democracy, human rights, and governance challenges and inform strategic interventions for bolstering democratic integrity worldwide.


Do you have views on how to use open data for anti-corruption research? The Public Integrity Research Group wants to hear from you. Phase one of the ACCORD project mapped datasets and identified barriers; now in phase two, they invite experts to participate in this survey.


Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator - UNCAC Coalition

Senior Policy Office - Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

African based Grants and Finance Manager to oversee the Defender Small Grant Fund - World Resources Initiative’s STAND Initiative

Philanthropic Partnerships Lead (UK) - Global Greengrants Fund

Consultancy Opportunity: Opening Extractives Programme in the Philippines - Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Associate, Just & Inclusive Society - Democracy Fund

Capacity building for members in Latin America and the Caribbean - WINGS

Sr. Director, Philanthropic Partnerships - Thousand Currents

Program Manager - Sequoia Climate Foundation

Executive Director - Basel Institute of Governance

Finance Officer MENA - The Hivos Digital Defenders Partnership

Policy & Advocacy Manager - Europe - Access Now

Several openings - The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) 


Need help with a participatory project? Apply for free mentorship or accelerator programs! Deadline is July 8.

Submit your nominations for the Africans Rising Activism Awards.

The Global Fund is commissioning an independent evaluation of community engagement across the grant cycle, which may interest the Open Government community.

The Digital Freedom Fund - open call for grant applications for 2024, deadline is July 23.

Learn to investigate environmental crimes in the Amazon. Free course for journalists, communicators, and those interested in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru (Spanish). (July 23-25)

Apply now for the 2024-2025 Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy. For rising foreign policy professionals in Washington, DC. Ideal for candidates from government, think tanks, media, private, and non-profit sectors. Deadline is July 24.

Grants available to investigate fossil fuel industry activities - Cross-border teams of at least two journalists and/or news outlets in Europe, deadline is July 25.

Applications Open for Targeted Universalism Community of Practice - Seed Collaborative and the Belonging Lab, in partnership with the Othering and Belonging Institute- Application deadline is July 30. 

The Safeguarding Carbon Markets Challenge is live! Apply with a 4-page concept note and budget to enhance transparency in carbon markets. Deadline is August 15.

The Changemaker Authors Cohort supports full-time movement activists and social justice practitioners to complete books that create deep, durable narrative change that restructures the way people feel, think, and respond to the world. Submission deadline: August 15, 2024

MacArthur announced the launch of a new round of its 100&Change competition deadline of August 15, 2024.

Call for Proposals for the World Bank Annual Meetings 2024 Civil Society Policy Forum is now open! Deadline is August 19.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism is accepting proposals for regular grants (up to $10,000) and seed grants (up to $2,500). Deadlines: Sept. 9 for regular grants and Sept. 20 for seed grants, both at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.


International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) Annual Conference, 3-5 July 2024

The 2024 Grantmakers Summit: Strategic Philanthropy in a Dynamic Era, 8-9 July, Nairobi 

Virtual launch of "Global Funding Trend Analysis on Indigenous Peoples Philanthropy” - 9 July, 2024

Virtual launch of “Leaders and Stewards: Global Analysis of Funding to Indigenous Women, 10 July, 2024 

Learning Webinar on Mainstreaming Participation, People Powered, OGP and TAI, 12 July, 2024 

CS Fund Seminar #3: Feminist Praxis, Jul 16, 2024 6:00 PM CEST 

Political Economy Analysis for Climate Action course starting October 2024 - The Policy Practice - Participants can register here by 20 September, 2024

América Abierta (opengovpartnership.org), 3 December 2024

We’d love to hear from you on how we can further improve TAI Weekly to better serve your needs in program management on the transparency, accountability, improved grantmaking and civic space. Please direct your feedback to [email protected] or


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