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We invest in research and innovation so that people around the world can enjoy the benefits that democracy and inclusive governance bring to everyday life. 

Our work on democracy and how countries are governed supports tangible improvements for everyone, especially women, minorities, refugees, and other groups that are denied their rightful place in civic life.

To empower people to claim their rights and shape the policies and practices that affect them, we connect communities to thought leaders in civil society organizations, universities, and think tanks in their countries and around the world. When embedded within local communities, research is not just a scientific endeavour, but also a driving force for positive action. In contexts of democratic transition and political fragility, IDRC mobilizes local researchers to build the knowledge, trust, and dialogue needed for public policy and civic engagement on issues of vital importance to democratic development.

Legal empowerment

Without fair and equitable justice, millions of people are denied the accountability they are owed for fair and transparent decision-making by governments. Big legislative or policy decisions deserve considerable scrutiny and accountability as do the smaller decisions taken by governments that have everyday impacts on ordinary people’s lives. To address the wide justice gap around the world, we focus on identifying and promoting locally driven community initiatives that make the law work for those who need its protection the most.

Digital inclusion

Digital innovations offer unprecedented opportunities — and threats — to democracy and inclusive governance. IDRC is at the forefront of research to harness the potential and mitigate the risks. To ensure the digital public sphere remains open, safe, and accessible — a tool for claiming rights and a source of trustworthy information — IDRC is building networks of expertise and action around the globe. We help policymakers, civil servants, women, gender and sexual minorities, youth, and other vulnerable groups build data-driven innovations for democratic inclusion. And we foster Southern leadership on the major digital policy challenges of our time.

Forced displacement

To address the global migration crisis, IDRC funds research that enables forcibly displaced populations as well as the communities that host them to identify workable and sustainable solutions. Our work aims to protect the rights of the forcibly displaced, improve livelihoods, increase social cohesion, and counter the negative effects of discriminatory legal status.

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