First engaging in Kyrgyzstan in the mid-1990s, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has worked with a variety of local partners to support the development and sustainability of democratic institutions and practices in elections and civic engagement. IFES has helped build and improve the capacity of electoral administration and legislation, strengthened civil society, and provided civic education opportunities to high school students through in-class learning and extracurricular activities.
Since 2000, IFES has addressed civic education for young persons, developing a high school civics textbook and conducting a number of projects such as Democracy Camps, Student Local Government Days, Student Action Committees and University Conversation Clubs designed to broaden students’ understanding and interest in government, volunteerism and active civic participation, substantially increasing the civic knowledge and engagement of Kyrgyzstan’s youth. Over the last three decades IFES has guided local stakeholders in Kyrgyzstan through an intensive period of electoral reform and political transition by assisting in the development of professional electoral institutions, led by the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the State Registry Service (SRS). Direct training and engagement has resulted in the CEC and SRS achieving notable strides in competency, professionalism and transparency.
Under the current “Kyrgyz Republic Political Process Program” (KPPP), IFES works with local civil society organizations, disabled persons organizations, student groups, universities, schools, the media and government officials from the CEC and Jogorku Kenesh (parliament) to help build sustainable democratic practices, foster political competition and promote an inclusive political environment.
IFES’ past programs in Kyrgyzstan have been made possible by support from the United States government. IFES’ current programming is funded under the under the Global Elections and Political Transitions mechanism sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development.