Vibrant and inclusive democracies denounce racism. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) works to end racism and advance equal participation in civic and political life. Eliminating racial discrimination and repression in turn improves access to education, employment, health, housing and other human rights.

IFES strengthens the inclusion and political participation of people of all races and ethnicities through programs in the following areas:

  • Civic and voter education campaigns: IFES creates innovative civic and voter education materials and tools that are accessible and meet the needs of minority groups. IFES also works with majority communities to build and promote a more inclusive notion of citizenship and national identity.
  • Capacity building, leadership training and governmental outreach: IFES works with minority groups to raise awareness of their rights and build leadership and advocacy skills. IFES also supports local minority-led civil society organizations to improve community outreach, develop trainings on minority rights, track data on and strengthen institutional awareness of electoral violence and expand support networks.
  • Increasing capacity of state and electoral institutions: IFES works with government institutions and election management bodies to improve minority groups' awareness of and access to political and electoral processes. IFES provides technical assistance to government officials on how to implement international standards, such as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • Combating disinformation and hate speech: IFES supports electoral stakeholders to deter hate speech and disinformation against minorities while upholding international principles of free speech.

Learn more about our work by exploring the links on this page.

Recognizing that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected, the United Nations proclaimed 2015-24 the International Decade for People of African Descent.

International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024

IFES joins the United Nations and people worldwide in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21 and recognizing the International Decade for People of African Descent.

As a learning organization, IFES has an internal Knowledge Management Initiative Working Group on Minorities and Indigenous Peoples to help grow the expertise, research, tools and technical expertise we offer our partners worldwide.

IFES’ Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) addresses the effects of systemic racism by promoting employee equity, representation and inclusion within the organization, delivering programs that promote anti-racism in all IFES service lines and promoting community-based actions on racial justice outside IFES. IFES Senior Program Administrator Ericka Ward-Audena serves as ARTF chair, and Voter Education Manager Obaje Ukeh serves as co-chair.

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