The International Development Initiative works across several key areas in support of USAID’s goals in Democracy, Rights and Governance (DRG). Mobilizing ASU faculty experts in criminology, law, journalism and more, we work to promote safer, more prosperous societies grounded in the rule of law. ASU’s work in DRG includes:

  • Justice sector strengthening: Strengthening the justice sector involves enhancing the capacity and independence of judicial institutions, promoting the rule of law and ensuring access to justice for all citizens. We work with local governments to strengthen legal systems through training for prosecutors, advocates and other justice sector workers; improve the effectiveness of law programs and legal training through university-based capacity strengthening; and provide in-country legal clinics in collaboration with community partners.
  • Crime prevention: Crime is both a cause and effect of social, economic and political challenges that hold back country development. We work with local partners to advance community-driven and evidence-based approaches to understand and address the root causes of crime; provide support and diversion for a high-risk populations; and encourage social and familial cohesion to prevent crime and support rehabilitation of offenders.
  • Eliminating gender-based violence (GBV): increasing safety and perceptions of safety for women and vulnerable groups is critical to supporting equitable, democratic societies. We advance comprehensive, community-and systems-level approaches to eliminate GBV and gender-based discrimination. ASU’s approach builds local capacity for to prevent GBV, protect women and vulnerable populations, enhance prosecution and accountability for perpetrators and create opportunities and services for GBV survivors.
  • Media and journalism: ASU experts work with in-country journalists and higher education institutions to elevate the media as a driver of accountability, transparency and freedom of expression through training for journalists and journalism educators; communication strategies to help local populations identify misinformation and disinformation; and strengthening of independent local journalist organizations’ ability to promote safer, more democratic societies.

Related projects

LibrES: for an El Salvador without gender-based violence

El Salvador

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant issue in El Salvador, affecting up to two-thirds of Salvadoran women and girls. The USAID-funded LibrES program, led by ASU in partnership with local organizations, universities and United Nations agencies, leverages individual and systemic approaches to contribute safer and more productive lives for women and vulnerable populations in El Salvador, thus decreasing the likelihood of irregular migration to the United States.

Proponte Más Secondary Violence Prevention Activity


The Proponte Más Secondary Violence Prevention Activity was a three-year, USAID-funded program to decrease violence in Honduras by identifying youth at the highest risk of violence and gang involvement by providing therapeutic and family-based interventions to reduce crime, violence and irregular migration. 

Reporting Elections Pakistan


With support from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication partnered with Media Foundation 360 to train Pakistani journalists in election coverage reporting techniques.

Making the system work (Voz de las víctimas)


Funded by U.S. Department of State International Law Enforcement and Narcotics Bureau (INL)

Discover more projects

Delve deeper into other International Development Initiative projects designed to create a safe, prosperous, equitable future for citizens around the world.