Vision: Our vision is a world in which strong democratic institutions empower citizens to have a voice in the way they are governed.

Mission: The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) supports citizens’ rights to participate in free and fair elections. Our independent expertise strengthens electoral systems and builds local capacity to deliver sustainable solutions.

As the global leader in democracy promotion, we advance good governance and democratic rights by:

  • Providing technical assistance to election officials
  • Empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process
  • Applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle

Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 145 countries – from developing democracies, to mature democracies.

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Representation and empowerment of persons with disabilities
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in partnership with the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), will establish a regional network to empower people with disabilities to participate in elections and political processes. The network will draw on lessons learned and good practices from other regional networks, such as the General Election Network for Disability Access in Southeast Asia (AGENDA).

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: IFES, PDF and PIF intend to begin collaborating on this network in 2019.

Theme: Eliminate Stigma and Discrimination
Year: 2018

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will partner with Gallaudet University’ MA Program in International Development and Department of Linguistics to develop an American Sign Language (ASL) translation of IFES’ English-language electoral lexicon for The lexicon will include common political participation terminology. It will also include videos from electoral sign language lexicons developed in the following countries: Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe. 

Timeframe and/or implementation plan
A graduate student from Gallaudet will join IFES for a practicum in September 2018 to begin work on the translation of the electoral lexicon. Interdisciplinary Gallaudet faculty will supervise the student’s output. It is expected that the lexicon will be finalized in early 2019.

Theme: Harnessing Technology and Innovation
Year: 2018

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will systematically integrate disability into its Violence against Women in Elections(VAWIE) assessment framework. The framework identifies and addresses the unique issues related to gender-based election violence. Recognizing that women with disabilities experience additional and/or different security barriers, IFES will develop new questions and guidance to ensure that women with disabilities are included in every VAWIE analysis, including online sentiment analysis.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: 
A pilot will be conducted in late 2018, with additional implementations in 2019.

Theme: Women and Girls with Disabilities
Year: 2018

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will become a member the US International Council on Disability (USICD), a network of organizations that promotes inclusion of disability perspectives in US foreign policy and aid.

Theme: Other
Year: 2018

Amending legal frameworks
We commit to advocate for economic and legal empowerment as well as comprehensive measures to equip women with the tools, legal and economic independence needed and reduce their risk of HIV as well as to increase the health and quality of life of those living with HIV. This includes developing and increasing comprehensive programmes and initiatives aimed at ensuring that women living with HIV have independent income-generation through providing access to grants, incentives and subsidies and credit to women and women’s groups

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: Ongoing and dependent on country.

We commit to advocating for government’s definition of reasonable accommodation in the workplace extend to persons living with HIV, so they are not discriminated against on the grounds of health and/or disability.

Theme: Routes to Economic Empowerment
Year: 2018

We commit to advocating for disability-disaggregated data to include people living with HIV as well as LGBTI populations

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: Ongoing.

Theme: Data Disaggregation
Year: 2018

We commit to ask policy makers to address gender-based violence, including sexual violence and violence on the basis of sexual orientation or greater identity, by ensuring appropriate medical and psychological support, implementing effective security measures, training public officials responsible for implementing a strong and effective legal system as well as laws and policies; also recognising that gender-based violence increases the risk of HIV transmission and acquisition, and vice versa.

Timeframe and/or implementation plan: Ongoing.

We commit to ask policy makers to address structural barriers to accessing sexual reproductive health services and the realisation of those rights, including through approaches to transform gender norms and attitudes. This includes community-based education campaigns to change harmful norms, practices and behaviours, with the aim of reducing both risk for HIV infection and gender discrimination.

Theme: Women and Girls with Disabilities
Year: 2018