Westminster Foundation for Democracy

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) is an organisation funded by the U.K. government that works to promote democracy overseas, much like the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy.

The WFD was established in March 1992 to provide assistance in building and strengthening pluralist democratic institutions overseas.

It receives a grant-in-aid from the Government which is currently around £4 million. It accounts to Parliament for the resources through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It also undertakes selected extra-budgetary technical assistance projects, and seeks contributions from the private sector and other funding organisations. WFD is independent of the Government in setting its priorities and its choice of projects.

The three main UK political parties are each represented on the Board of Governors, and are appointed by the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs after consulting the parties. There is also a representative from the smaller political parties, and non-party figures drawn from business, the trade unions, the academic world and the non-governmental sector.

(all from [3])


Its website states that they are "in the process of moving away from being a grant funder of free standing projects and therefore will not be accepting any new project proposals for grants for the foreseeable future." Their "work will now focus on longer-term programmes aimed at strengthening parliaments and political parties in designated countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, in particular Ukraine, Georgia, Lebanon, Yemen, Mozambique and Uganda.

"Our funds are fully committed to programmes in our two specialist fields of parliamentary strengthening and political party development. In both these fields we work at national and local levels."

They currently have programme commitments in the following countries:[1]

2002 Projects


"WFD acknowledges the important role played by the media in civil society; that role is essential to the democratic process. In the last year, WFD conducted a project in partnership with the Mohamed Amin Foundation to develop the capacity of the media and improve broadcast journalism in east Africa. The aim of the project was to raise awareness of political and electoral issues, which was particularly relevant in the context of the Tanzanian and Kenyan elections and constitutional review process in Uganda."[2]

"Promoting democracy"

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy is similar in nature to the National Endowment for Democracy. William Robinson (1996) suggests that such organizations are involved in "the promotion of polyarchy as a transnational project reflecting globalization" (Robinson, 1996, p. 363)

"This process is taking place through the development at two distinct levels of transnational mechanisms for promoting and instutionalizing a polyarchic global political system. The first level is that of other Northern countries. These countries have set up their own government-linked "democracy promotion" agencies and launched programs to intervene in the political systems and civil socities of the Third World, in coordination with US programs. By the early 1990s: the British government had established a quasi-private foundation similar to the NED, the Westminster Foundation; the Canadian government had established a similar International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development; Sweden, Japan, and France were expected to develop their own foundations; and several German foundations which have been active in limited "political aid" programs overseas since the 1970s, began to expand these programs and to coordinate them with the NED." (Robinson, 1996, p. 364) The Australian government has also established the Australian Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI).


The Foundation notes that: "In Cairo in March 2006, for example, we brought together for two days of consultation representatives of the Egyptian government, leaders of secular opposition parties, civil society activists, academics, leaders of the free media and parliamentarians affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood. The result was real dialogue between divergent and opposing opinions focused on strengthening the role of Egypt’s parliament, something which rarely takes place without the role of catalyst that we were able to provide...

"Subsequently, plans were finalised to establish a steering group in Cairo which would enable WFD to develop its parliamentary strengthening programme with direction and advice from a body with wide-ranging local knowledge and experience. The work of the steering group will ensure that this initiative continues to be rooted in the realities of Egyptian parliamentary life. It will also provide a link to WFD’s thematic programme in the MENA [Middle East & North Africa] region." [3]

Governors and patrons

Accessed July 2010: [4]



People (2008)

Governors and patrons as of June 2008: [5]

Staff as of June 2008:




2002/2003 Staff:

Europe Team

Africa Team

Finance Team

Political Parties



The Speaker of the House of Commons

Contact details

Westminster Foundation for Democracy
Artillery House
11/19 Artillery Row
London SW1P 1RT
Tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1311
Email: wfd AT wfd.org
Web: www.wfd.org

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. What we do, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, accessed June 2008.
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. Governors and patrons, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, accessed July 19, 2010.
  5. Governors and patrons/Staff, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, accessed June 2008.
  6. About BASIC, , accessed August 14, 2007.
  7. 2002/2003 Annual Report

External links