Beginning in 2011, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has supported Maldivian civil society organizations (CSOs) and independent institutions to improve the electoral process, enhance civic education, and promote women’s political participation. This has included assisting the Elections Commission of the Maldives by training their Media Unit and Election Complaints Bureaus, conducting an organizational assessment and supporting the development of their 2011-2015 strategic plan, implementing a national survey to measure the prevalence of vote-buying in the country, and facilitating multi-stakeholder electoral reform discussions to inform wide-ranging election law revisions.
IFES has partnered with local CSOs to develop an electoral violence monitoring system, conduct civic forums to resolve community issues, and educate youth to increase their role in civic engagement. IFES supported women’s political participation by conducting studies that focused on identifying key barriers and opportunities for women’s political participation; conducting a Women’s Leadership Training; and implementing gender sensitization training for senior representatives of all major political parties and leading journalists.
Key IFES program achievements include:
- Initiation of a multi-stakeholder electoral reform process leading to a draft electoral law with new regulations to combat vote-buying and reform campaign finance;
- Introduction of innovative approaches to enhance citizen participation in local governance;
- Provision of civic education to over 580 youth between the ages 14 of 18 on democratic principles, human rights, and civic engagement;
- Establishing baseline data through field-based research on democracy, electoral integrity, human rights education and women’s participation in the political process; and
- Raising awareness on the need for greater women’s representation in politics and government.