About D+ and Its Initiatives

Democracy Plus (D+) was founded in 2016 by a few former observers of the Parliament of Kosovo who had become active in challenging national politicians to become better representatives and to strengthen the parliamentary democracy in Kosovo. Noticing that the power of the Parliament was constrained by certain processes that had an immediate and direct impact on people’s lives, the new organization began to look for ways it could use political process monitoring to address other accountability gaps in the country.

Over the next three years, D+ used political process monitoring techniques to monitor election campaigns, track government follow-through of promises and commitments, and track budget spending through procurement practices, in coalition with a few other organizations. At the local level, they worked with communities across Kosovo to identify and report their community complaints and priorities, and then tracked government responsiveness to such community issues.

Monitoring government follow-through became a priority focus for D+. They set out to monitor election promises and candidate pledges in election campaigns. They planned to do this by using the power of information technology and the ever-expanding internet bandwidth. Their initial aim was to use this monitoring to challenge the parties’ proposals for the next government. In TV debates, they challenged the parties in terms of the feasibility and viability of those promises. After elections, they wanted to monitor how many of those proposals were implemented by the parties that came into the government and to hold them accountable for their campaigns. D+ did this by creating a website, GovernanceNow,50 where D+ registered the 100 most-detailed campaign promises and then tracked their implementation. 

At the local level, D+ activists sought pledges from mayoral candidates to promptly address citizens’ public service complaints and integrate community priorities. In order to hold elected mayors to those commitments, they created a “fix-my-community” type of platform that allowed citizens anywhere in Kosovo to easily report a problem in their community to their local government using a mobile phone. The Fix My Community platform51 was funded by crowdsourcing, and was used to track local government responsiveness to seemingly small but urgent and vital problems for citizens. In addition, D+ worked with six different communities to prioritize a set of issues to be addressed by their local government and set up an online tracking platform52 to monitor the implementation of those community priorities.

Accountability Gap

Over the years, election campaigns in Kosovo have started to become meaningless in terms of party proposals. There were many outrageous promises — not based on any ideology, and seemingly not implementable, considering the capacities of the state (at least in some cases).

Moreover, there seemed to be no accountability of those parties for their election promises once they came into the government. Even citizens began seeing it as pointless to ask them about those problems. D+ wanted to make parties more thoughtful and realistic about their campaigns and more accountable for their election promises. D+ also wanted them to govern according to the program they campaigned on. In addition, D+ wanted the government to be more focused in campaigns on programs and projects that people wanted and cared for.

At the local level, mayoral candidates talked about how, when in office, they will work to address citizens’ complaints and priorities better than the next candidate. D+ saw it as necessary to create for the public easily accessible tools to measure this, in addition to giving citizens a space to report their complaints and priorities. These civic engagement information and communication technology (ICT) tools were designed to generate and measure local government response and increase accountability.

Monitoring the Political Process

During the campaign, D+ organized TV debates with candidates of different parties to find out what they promised they would do if elected and to challenge them on how they would implement such programs. D+ developed a monitoring tool through a spreadsheet to record, categorize and summarize those issues. Once the government was formed, D+ created a website listing 100 of the most concrete and measurable campaign projects proposed by the three parties who were now in government. D+ convened a conference in the early days of the government to showcase this website with the campaign promises that would be tracked across 10 different sectors. Subsequently, D+ used the spreadsheet from the campaign to track government planning, budget allocations, and decisions and actions on each of those promises.

Screen capture of the website (GovernanceNow, www.Qeverisjatani.org) where D+ registered the 100 most detailed campaign promises and then tracked their implementation.

Findings were communicated through press conferences and direct emails to key officials every two months. A conference with officials and civil society was held in the first month the government was in office to launch the tracking website and communicate its aim and the monitoring process, as well as to discuss the best ways for the government to make progress on the issues being monitored. At the local level, campaign pledges were drafted for a few targeted municipalities, which listed actions that mayors could take to ensure responsiveness and accountability to the voters. Parallel to that, D+ created online tools to enable citizens to address their concerns publicly and directly to local officials and track government responsiveness. Because the online tools were available to citizens and the concerns involved public institutions, citizens themselves were encouraged to become monitors and hold officials directly accountable for meeting their needs. They themselves became tools for social accountability.

Strategic Engagement of Policymakers

At the national level, the parties and governments were more alert once this website was made public. They were not directly opposed to it. However, when D+ started holding press conferences periodically to report progress on those promises, government officials began challenging some of the methodologies to discredit the monitoring work. Disagreements arose when government officials stated that a promise had been implemented fully, but D+ did not believe that to be the case, or when it was obvious that policies were not implemented to the extent that they were promised.

At times, D+ received complaints from civil society groups on why it was asking the government to implement some program that the civil society groups did not think was good for the country. D+ had to discuss with them about keeping parties accountable for what they promised in elections and for the platform on which they had won elections. In one TV debate, the Prime Minister himself tried to discredit the monitoring by arguing that the government had a list of other promises that they had already seen through. D+ had to make clear, publicly, that they only monitored promises that were concrete and measurable. As in any campaign, there are very broad election promises that cannot be measured objectively.

At the local level, mayors would occasionally try to evade responsibility by blaming contractors for delays when addressing certain public service complaints or the inability to structure administration to respond more promptly to citizen complaints. D+ activists had to discuss this constantly with mayors to address those dysfunctions. Moreover, D+ made it its duty to meet regularly with mayors and municipal directors to review progress for their municipal responsiveness to citizen complaints and pinpoint priority areas. Monthly progress reports were mailed directly to mayors and contact points in the administration. D+ also held information sessions for public officials on how to navigate the website.

Applying Technology

Building a website that was public and easily accessible to everybody was key to having an impact with this type of monitoring. The online tracking website, which was available on mobile phones, made it possible for this monitoring initiative to reach everybody: citizens all over Kosovo, journalists, civil society organizations who cared about the campaign issues, and government officials. It would not have been as effective if D+ had only published reports on this type of government follow-through. The updates were instant, whereas reports would have been more periodic — every two-to-three months or six months.

The website also became a monitoring tool, where D+ recorded new data and new information. D+ realized that, with today’s technology, integrating an ICT tool into monitoring is much more effective than making periodic monitoring reports. D+ also realized that they can be not only tools for communicating monitoring, but also monitoring tools themselves. D+ directly recorded what they had observed and tracked. However, to do this monitoring, it was key that citizens and government officials had instant and easy access to what D+ was monitoring and what the results were.

Screen capture of a map of citizen-reported issues from the Fix My Community platform (ndreqe.com).


Obviously, integrating an information technology tool was more work in the beginning, and it did have a cost. D+ had to decide how to design the online tracking website, the branding, the name of the website, and everything that goes into making a user-friendly website. It was challenging to design something that listed everything D+ was monitoring and tracking, and yet still have a site that was easy to navigate. However, this made the job of monitoring much easier down the road: D+ did not have to worry about producing monthly or periodic monitoring reports or about coordinating monitoring tools with NDI.

The Fix My Community platform (ndreqe.com) was adopted from open-source software offered to organizations by NDI. However, D+ wanted to customize it for Kosovo users by putting in an interface and cutting out a few steps for reporting. It turned out to be a larger, and longer, task than initially thought for adopting software that had already been developed. However, the app’s usability was drastically improved, and it was worth the extra hours when it came time to promote the website to communities and municipalities.

Evaluating Impact

The first impact of this campaign monitoring was that political parties began articulating their election promises better. The second, and more important, development was that parties in the government began paying more attention to their campaign programs. Third, citizens and the media had a tool to keep the government more accountable for their election campaigns. Social accountability in government was strengthened as citizens began taking on the role of watchdog directly.

Additionally, in the next election campaign, D+ noted that political parties were more careful and realistic about their promises and their platforms. This monitoring initiative generated more accountability and responsiveness by the government. It also generated more citizen participation in government affairs, as the people had the information about parties’ promises and their follow-through at the tips of their fingers.

The impact of the Fix My Community53 website ndreqe.com increasingly turned the attention of municipal officials to the needs of citizens and communities and provided a powerful tool to address their concerns and hold officials accountable. The website also became a useful tool for planning and identifying larger issues in neighborhoods, as citizen reports pinned on the municipality map pointed clearly to larger problems with waste management, degrading roads and damages to infrastructure.

Lessons Learned

Democracy Plus activists pointed out several lessons they learned during and after the monitoring process.

Invest time and effort at the beginning of the monitoring initiative to repeatedly stress the scope of the monitoring, what exactly the organization is monitoring and the objectives.

Manage media, citizen and politician expectations about the monitoring efforts. At times journalists asked why D+ was pushing politicians to move forward certain projects that some sections of society opposed. D+ had to explain the methodology and the monitoring objective of keeping politicians accountable to their campaign promises, rather than advocating certain projects.

Similarly, politicians questioned monitoring as being subjective because D+ monitored only a few of the campaign promises. D+ had to regularly explain that only “concrete and measurable” projects were being monitored precisely to be objective in their monitoring.

Create separate social media pages for the organization and the monitoring initiative to maintain focus on the initiative. D+, as a watchdog organization, had separate teams monitoring different political processes. Social media was an important communications tool. However, using the organization’s own social media pages often made it difficult to keep the audience’s focus on specific monitoring initiatives, and forced the organization to prioritize the different initiatives’ messages on social media or risk overwhelming the audience. Using separate social media pages for the different monitoring initiatives overcame these issues. Once D+ created separate pages for ndreqe.com, it began attracting citizens more interested in local governance issues, which was the focus of that monitoring initiative.

Invest in reaching citizens in their own communities to make them a part of the monitoring efforts, as well as inform and educate them better about the political processes you are monitoring. Ultimately, change and improvements in a political process occur if there is pressure from constituencies. While D+ made efforts to go into various locations across Kosovo to educate people about the importance of keeping politicians accountable and transparent and inform them about using their monitoring platforms, it was assessed as crucial that this should have been done more often and more broadly.

Democracy Plus began to put most of these lessons in practice over the course of their monitoring. The resulting impact demonstrates that monitoring is a continuous course of action for lasting change.


50 “QeverisjaTani,” Democracy Plus, accessed October 29, 2022, www.QeverisjaTani.org.

51 “ndreqe,” Democracy Plus, accessed October 29, 2022, www.ndreqe.com.

52 “Forumi Online,” Democracy Plus, accessed October 29, 2022, www.forumi.online.

53 “Fix My Community,” DemTools, updated April 4, 2022, https://dem.tools/guides-and-tools/fix-my-community.