Since 2011, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has provided essential technical support to the High National Election Commission (HNEC) and other government stakeholders to enhance the transparency, integrity and management of electoral and political processes. IFES builds the capacity of local partners to develop credible electoral administration procedures and systems, as well as promote a culture of democracy in Libya. For example, to improve access and opportunities for women to actively engage in public affairs, IFES has worked closely with the HNEC to establish a Gender Unit within the commission. The Gender Unit will be responsible for ensuring gender equality, sensitivity and women’s empowerment in electoral processes and within HNEC’s leadership structure.
Beyond electoral support, IFES engages with local organizations to raise awareness among Libyan women, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups about the transition process to that they may be involved in decision-making processes. IFES supported the establishment of the Electoral Access Working Group, composed of members of disabled people’s organizations and disability activists, responsible for coordinating efforts to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities in Libya. The working group has implemented several ground-breaking projects in cities across Libya, including assisting the HNEC with establishing accessible polling stations; carrying out a nationwide awareness campaign, “Zaykum Zayna;” and advocating for disability rights through international treaties. Additionally, IFES has established a network of Democracy Resource Centers (DRCs) throughout Libya operated by local civic society organizations. The DRCs provide opportunities for citizens to engage effectively with electoral stakeholders and disseminate important civic and voter information on behalf of the HNEC and other transitional government bodies.
IFES regularly works to increase understanding of electoral processes and promote public awareness and civic engagement among a wide variety of election stakeholders. For example, it recently trained a cadre of journalists on mechanisms for promoting inclusive media coverage and representation in Libya and is creating a smartphone application and website that enable civic discourse, discussion and exchange of information and ideas.