Since 2013, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has developed a broad, integrated approach to generate demand for better governance among key stakeholders as well as the general public in Bangladesh. IFES has engaged in programming designed to tackle the following challenges in Bangladesh:
- Restricted space for political dialogue;
- Lack of coordination around electoral reform;
- Acceptance of violence as part of the electoral process;
- Lack of knowledge or widely accepted model of nonviolent means to address electoral conflict; and
- Absence of leaders equipped to promote peaceful electoral and political processes.
A key outcome of IFES’ activities has been the development of the People Against Violence in Elections (PAVE) training and peacebuilding program, which is to help participants better understand the root causes of violence, learn how to deal with conflict in society through a nonviolent electoral process, foster dialogue between opposing groups and link these efforts with tangible initiatives to mitigate electoral violence. To date, IFES has trained over 450 participants in PAVE both directly and through a local civil society partner. Additionally, IFES works directly with local partners to increase their knowledge on electoral topics, such as political finance, to equip them to engage in constructive conversation on these technical issues to promote a stronger electoral process.