Operating in Kyrgyzstan since 1994, 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 as well as 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 Summer Camps, 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 two decades, IFES has guided 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 major strides in competency, professionalism and transparency.
Since beginning a new, five-year program in 2016, IFES continues to support Kyrgyzstan in building a solid democratic foundation. Through an array of assistance activities to the CEC, promoting inclusion through support for persons with disabilities, youth civic education work, women’s empowerment activities, ongoing initiatives for voter registration reform, and coordination with local and international partners, IFES is contributing to Kyrgyzstan’s democratic consolidation and example-setting for the region.