Save Democracy International (SDI) works with and supports all democratic institutions around the world to improve their effectiveness in ensuring responsive governments, active civil society, vibrant political parties and active engagement of citizens in democratic processes. It is aimed to achieve a stable, peaceful and democratic society. SDI is committed to provide expertise, technical support, advocacy and lobbying services for a wide range of institutions dedicated to democratization of post-conflict settings.
Since its inception, SDI has established partnerships with 10 local democratic institutions in Afghanistan. The goal of this partnership is to work together to improve the capacity of these institutions and their impact on the local and national level democratic processes. This includes sharing expertise and experiences as well as exploring a variety of models and practices of democracy worldwide that could be adapted to the context of Afghanistan. SDI is committed to the core principles of democracy (i.e. equity, freedom, justice and representation) and believes that, despite differences in practices, all societies share the belief and need for these democratic principles.
SDI works with governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), political parties, active citizens and all other stakeholders to improve their performance and promote viable and responsive democratic practices in their societies. This includes, but is not limited to, accountable and good governance, sustainable and vibrant civil society, actively engaged political parties, rule of law, citizens participation in democratic processes (e.g. elections), transparent elections, human rights, peace and effective advocacy.
SDI is dedicated to work in post-conflict settings and in countries where courageous democrats strive to save democratic systems from a wide range of threats (such as terrorism, totalitarian systems, corruption, war, etc.). In partnership with United States Agency for International Development, United Nations, National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute and many more, SDI is committed to engage in their efforts and investments made in low-resource contexts to promote, strengthen and support democratic institutions. Although different societies – e.g. post conflict countries, new or developing democracies in particular - struggle with problems such as eradication of corruption, poverty and ethnic divisions as well as ensuring rule of law, accountability, peace and responsiveness of the system to citizen’s needs, SDI believes that democracy is the key to achieving a peaceful and prosperous world.
Every country is uniquely different from the rest and faces different types of problems, which are different from others. There is no single democratic practice that fits the needs and culture of all societies. It is SDI’s belief that a democratic system is sustainable if it emerges and evolves from within the society, fits the culture and traditions and is responsive to the needs of all individual citizens. Thus, SDI is committed to using a contextualized, bottom-up and systemic approach to improving the effectiveness of democratic institutions and democratic systems around the world. SDI promotes a dynamic and sustainable cross-sector partnership and network among all players in a democratic society to ensure rule of law, peace, human rights, accountability, active political parties, vibrant civil society and independent media. SDI believes that all of the above players share some goals and interests that bring them together to share ideas and provide mutual support that would results in promoting a responsive and sustainable democratic system in the country. SDI believes that every citizen and institution play a crucial role in shaping the culture and society; regardless of their faith, gender, political belief, race or age. This includes citizens’ role in ensuring the rule of law, economic development, peace and holding the government accountable to its commitments and duties. SDI is committed to support all players, including individual active citizens, in their effort to promote and safeguard democracy in their societies.
Haroon Balwa is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Save Democracy International (SDI). Mr. Balwa’s vision and dedication has led civil society, educational institutions, political parties, communities, and media groups to improved democratic processes in Afghanistan.
Mr. Balwa has contributed in the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and learning of various civil society, non-formal education, higher education, community support, capacity building, institutional development and policy development at different capacities for over fifteen years. Mr. Balwa believes in collective efforts of states, civil society, private sector and the communities for a well-democratic functioning society where human universal and basic rights are well protected for a sustainable and functioning democracy.
Mr. Noorullah Noori is Chief Operating and Program Officer and Co-founder of Save Democracy International (SDI). Mr. Noori is graduated from the University of Massachusetts (UMass, Amherst) with a Master’s degree in Educational Policy, Research and Administration. Mr. Noori is experienced and an expert in various areas particularly in policy development, policy analysis, community mobilization, civil society empowerment, institutional development, program and project management, curriculum development, teacher training, research, monitoring and evaluation. Mr. Noori is inquisitive, dedicated and has a large experience of working in post and in-conflict settings.
Mr. Noori has worked for the University of Massachusetts, United States Agency for International Development, Aga Khan Foundation, and Academy for Educational Development, Creative Associates International Inc., Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and Afghan local civil society organizations (CSOs) during the past two decades. Mr. Noori also worked as Chief Executive Director for the Collective Transformation Organization, Chief Executive Officer for the Afghan Collective Transformation and Country Program Manager for the National Development Support Organization. Mr. Noori designed, led and evaluated Partnering for Public Good, Enabling Environment for Civil Society and Thematic Cross-Learning, CSO Certification Program that supports CSOs in Afghanistan.
Mr. Spinghar is Program Director and Co-founder of Save Democracy International (SDI). He has ten years of leadership and management experience that includes working with a variety of Afghanistan governmental and non-government organizations as well as human rights commission. He has strong experience in analysis, research and assessment of electoral, political, and institutional developments. Mr. Spinghar’s expertise is on elections and electoral issues. He is a well-recognized character among media outlets for his expertise on electoral reforms, parliamentary and election observation, civil society organizations and political parties. He has plenty of publications on politics, elections, corruption and peace.
Mr. Spinghar is received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Law and Political Science. He has worked as the former CEO for Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) (2007-2014) and CEO for Election Watch Organization of Afghanistan (EWA). He has also served as chairman for Afghanistan Civil Society Election Network (ACSEN), which is a network of more than 150 civil society organizations in Afghanistan.
Rafi Nejat is Business Development Director and Co-founder of Save Democracy International (SDI). As Business Development Director, he uses SDI’s resources more efficiently to create business opportunities ensuring long, mid and short terms business partnership with government agencies, private sectors, civil society organizations and individual experts.
Mr. Nejat has created great values to SDI by bringing in a real-life experience of development from Afghanistan context. His outstanding program and project management expertise in economic growth, education and governance with USAID, U.S Department of State, Academy for Education Development (AED), Creative Associate International Inc. (CAII), Afghanistan public and private sectors enriches business development portfolio and ensures organization successes.
Mr. Nejat always focuses on quality improvement, risk management, project and program alignments, business intelligence, cost control, time management and effective project and program design and management. Mr. Nejat has MBA with concentration of project management from Keller Graduate School of Management.