Since the 2018 Velvet Revolution, Armenia has taken significant strides toward building an accountable, representative democracy to promote transparency in decision-making, build a competitive election process, and rid itself of endemic corruption. While Armenia’s newfound democracy remains fragile due to pressures exerted through external conflict and the lingering influence of elites from the previous regime, it has withstood difficult challenges and is in position to make real progress in its democratic development while balancing geopolitical realities. Implementing assistance activities in the country to support this process, IFES partners with local and international organizations to build the capacity of election management bodies, enhance electoral legislation through a collaborative approach, increase inclusivity in the elections, promote transparency in campaign and political finance, and educate Armenia’s youngest voters through an interactive civic education program.
Under the seven-year U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Strengthening Elections and Political Processes in Armenia (SEPPA) program (2018-2025), IFES supports multi-stakeholder consultative processes to review the institutional and legal framework governing the elections, encouraging invaluable inputs from civil society and political parties. IFES is also working with key state bodies, including the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, and the National Assembly, to build direct engagement of citizens and increase public confidence in the reforms under consideration. IFES has also launched an interactive civic education course titled Engaged Citizen for university students, offered in universities in Armenia’s capital and across its regions. IFES also works closely with the CEC, municipal governments, and local organizations for persons with disabilities to implement tools and measures to make Armenian elections more accessible to persons with disabilities. Through these and other strategic interventions, IFES supports Armenian stakeholders by holding credible and inclusive elections and engaging citizens to actively participate in political processes to build a sustainable and resilient democracy.
IFES also receives support from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) funded Supporting Safeguards of Democracy in Armenia (SSDA) program (2023 – 2025). Under SSDA, IFES strengthens the capacity of the CEC to withstand cyber-attacks and bolster its cybersecurity crisis management response. IFES also supports local CSOs and other stakeholders in strengthening their capacity to monitor and oversee political and campaign finance as well as abuse of state resources. Finally, IFES is expanding support to local institutions on civic education by adapting the Engaged Citizen civic education course for use at vocational training schools. Under SSDA, IFES will also develop a network of local civic education teacher trainers to promote local ownership and capacity of Armenian institutions to train and empower new generations of civic educators.