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Understanding Democracy: A Guide to the Principles of Democracy

Publication Date
Publication Date: 
March 1, 2011

Produced by The Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID), this guide is designed to serve as a resource for developing civic education curriculums in schools, as well as to be used as manual for formal and informal civic education programmes in institutions of learning, by civil society organisations, and within society as a whole. NID produced this publication under the auspices of the Education for Democratic Citizenship in Namibia (EDCIN) Alliance, which was founded following the Education for Democracy Conference, held in October 2007 in Windhoek. At this conference, the need for a broader effort to promote and implement civic education for school-aged Namibian youth was identified.

This booklet consists of six chapters. The first covers basic democratic principles and concepts, such as defining what a political system is and exploring the essential features of a democracy. The second chapter discusses the rule of law, including the definition and application of rule of law in various states. The third chapter explores elections, including different ways in which such representatives are elected. The fourth looks at individual rights and their defense, mentioning that a strength of a real democracy depends on certain fundamental rights and freedoms. The fifth chapter discusses the role of civil society, which the publication proposes to be "a check, a monitor, but also a vital partner in the quest for a positive relationship between the democratic state and its citizens." The last chapter specifically explores the political system in Namibia.

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