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NORC has extensive expertise and experience supporting evidence-based learning in the democracy and governance foreign assistance sector worldwide.

NORC has emerged as a trusted learning partner to USAID and other federal agencies in conducting and transforming complex research into practical knowledge and supporting the use of evidence to increase the impact of democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) programming.

NORC helps USAID’s DRG Center identify effective policies and successful programs through two DRG Learning, Evaluation, and Research (DRG-LER) contracts, under which we have conducted over 160 research and learning activities spanning over 65 countries. Those activities include:

  • Impact evaluations of a rule of law program in Haiti, a participatory and responsive governance program in Niger, a training program for university students in Bangladesh to counter violent extremism, and an intensive journalism training program in Tanzania
  • Performance evaluations of a civil society capacity advancement project in Georgia, a program strengthening local public authorities in Moldova, and an activity aimed at reducing violence and irregular migration to the U.S. in Guatemala
  • Countering trafficking-in-person (C-TIP) assessments in Timor Leste, Mali, and the DRC
  • An assessment framework for women’s political participation and leadership, which we piloted in Liberia, Nepal, Guatemala, and Guinea and are implementing in Colombia, Cote d’Ivorie, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, and Tanzania
  • Learning Support to USAID staff through the creation of a Social and Behavioral Change Primer and   a training video for USAID staff on creating graphics using the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset

Under our Latin America and Caribbean Learning and Rapid Response (LACLEARN) task order, NORC studies key DRG issues such as citizen security and crime and violence prevention, democratic backsliding and authoritarian resurgence, and corruption and governance. We lead a first-of-its-kind regional study of gender-based violence impunity, covering Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. 

NORC is a thought leader in the DRG sector. Recently, NORC and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame convened an expert panel on Democratic Backsliding in Latin America for development practitioners. Panelists defined backsliding and illustrated the process through the experiences of Venezuela, El Salvador, and Mexico. The group also discussed strategies that may succeed in reversing backsliding and warned against ineffective tactics.

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Democracy & Governance Experts

Highlighted Projects

Ukraine Civil Society Assessment

A post-Euromaidan examination of Ukraine’s civil sector


U.S. Agency for International Development

Evaluating USAID’s Work on Prolonged Pretrial Detention in Haiti

NORC finds that legal assistance reduced the length of incarceration before court action


U.S. Agency for International Development

Road to Tolerance Bangladesh Impact Evaluation

Assessing efforts to combat violent extremism among university students


U.S. Agency for International Development