Tetra Tech’s Democracy and Governance Sector helps developing and transitioning countries establish the systems and institutions for democratic, accountable governance that are essential for equitable economic growth, social development, protection of human rights, and security. The worldwide movement for democratic political systems and market-based economies has engendered pressing needs for governmental and institutional reforms. To be successful, though, such reforms must consider the complex factors that make each country unique. Tetra Tech conducts in-depth analysis of these factors and develops programs that facilitate transparency, accountability, decentralization, inclusion, rule of law, and civic participation. Our approach builds the skills and knowledge of our local partners to affect meaningful democratic reforms and sustainable, long-term development.
Tetra Tech works with USAID and other international donors to provide a full range of policy-relevant, analytical services used in strategic planning of Democracy and Governance programming, including assessments, surveys, and evaluations.
Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD)
Another DG sector tool that enhances many of our interventions across institutions and organizations is Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD). Tetra Tech has been improving the performance and human capacity of local organizations and institutions for the past 30 years. Lessons learned from decades of experience in organizational change and management has shown that it is essential to apply, in each context, a systematic approach that maps and assesses performance gaps as well as clear plans to measure the changes needed for organizational improvement. Tetra Tech has well-established tools and methods that when applied, maximize human resource effectiveness and ensure ownership and commitment of participating local or host country partners. Tetra Tech has successfully applied institutional capacity-building tools in legislative institutions, central government ministries, and municipal and regional government units, as well as community-based and non-governmental organizations and networks.
Tetra Tech has experience responding to the unique challenges of building democracy and systems of governance in weak and fragile states. Tetra Tech has designed, implemented, and managed programs that promote governance and community well-being and stability in conflict-prone countries, conflict zones, and post-conflict areas that are moving toward reconstruction and recovery. In addition to employing our approaches, such as community-based policing, we also focus on ensuring the rights and political participation of vulnerable and marginalized populations, who often suffer disproportionately as victims of internal conflicts. Including all stakeholders into public decision-making processes increases the resiliency of communities not just to conflict, but also to extreme weather and drought, famine and malnutrition, and disease.
Decentralization and Local Governance
Responsive, accountable local governments provide the ideal foundation for the development of a broad-based democratic culture that encourages popular participation, sustainable economic growth, and stable communities. Decentralization reduces the distance between government and the people it serves, and provides the basis for a more interactive relationship between government and citizens in a country. Tetra Tech works with local government counterparts and their communities around the world to establish the foundation for democratic, decentralized local governance by: creating the prerequisite legal framework and policies; enhancing the capacity of local government officials; building the financial and management systems and procedures; improving the delivery of public services; and strengthening mechanisms for broad citizen engagement.
Public Administration Reform
Tetra Tech’s work on decentralization and local governance is informed and enriched by our broader practice area of public administration reform. Tetra Tech works with government counterparts to design and reform inefficient bureaucracies at the national, regional, and local levels. We provide technical support, training, and IT-based transparency applications to increase the transparency and accountability of public institutions in enhancing their performance management.
Rule of Law and Human Rights
Respect for rule of law and a well-developed justice system are underpinnings of a democratic society and modern economy. Effective rule of law solves conflicts and fosters social interaction in accord with legal norms and widely accepted social values. Tetra Tech helps create the laws and policies that support the development of independent, effective judicial branches capable of functioning in a transparent, responsive, and accountable manner through the drafting of laws, training of legal professionals, and improving operations of the courts. We also work with both formal and informal justice institutions to improve access to justice and promote adherence to rule of law and the protection of human rights of all citizens.
Legislature is the point at which people can most closely engage their national government. Legislatures fulfill a number of important functions in a democracy: they represent people and groups in the policy-making process; they make laws; and they provide oversight, assuring that laws and programs are carried out according to legislative intent. Tetra Tech supports legislative development by focusing on internal administration and management, refinement of parliamentary procedures, drafting and enactment of legislation, oversight of the executive branch, budget analysis, constituency relations, and mechanisms for public participation in the law making process.
Anti-Corruption and Transparency
Corruption poses a serious development challenge: it undermines the legitimacy of government and economic development by subverting formal processes; it reduces accountability and representation in policymaking; it suspends the rule of law; and it results in the unequal provision of services. Tetra Tech provides a wide array of anticorruption services to strengthen public-sector institutions, engage the private sector and civil society in the fight against corruption, and enhance transparency and accountability in other sectoral areas, such as health and education, natural resource management, corporate governance, or into key aspects of democracy promotion, such as rule of law, legislative oversight, or local government strengthening.
An active, independent civil society serves as a check on the powers and actions of government, provides alternative institutions to represent citizens’ interests, links citizens together to address common concerns, and can help to depoliticize and decentralize activities by shifting competencies from state to civic organizations. Tetra Tech builds the capacity of civil society partners across our program areas to achieve program objectives and promote sustainability of reforms. Our assistance strengthens the institutional and financial management structures of our CSO partners; increases their ability to participate in policy development and implementation; and represents the interests of their constituencies and provides effective oversight of government institutions and processes.