Papua New Guinea

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) first engaged in Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in 2001-2002 and later in 2011-2013 to increase the political participation and representation of women by improving women’s civil society organizations and women leaders’ capacity to influence decision-makers and advocate for equality in political processes.

Successes include:

  • Forming a ward-level Council of Women chapter;
  • Electing an executive and organizing into pairs to adopt projects;
  • Using a SMART plan to submit a proposal to Digicel Foundation, which subsequently funded an elementary school in the participants’ district; and
  • Utilizing advocacy skills to support women interested in running for district- and local-level government positions.

In addition, IFES supported the Papua New Guinea national elections in 2012 with the first ever campaign finance monitoring effort and supported the election commission to conduct an organizational assessment following the elections. IFES’ current program aims to provide technical support to the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner and the Office of the Bougainville Referendum, and to support the inclusion of women in the referendum process.