Since 2011, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has supported stakeholders in the Maldives to build more transparent, engaged and inclusive political processes. IFES works with the Elections Commission of the Maldives (ECM), civil society organizations and other electoral stakeholders to strengthen democratic processes and foster inclusive civic engagement.
IFES supported the ECM to develop its 2011-15 strategic plan and is providing technical assistance to draft its next five-year strategic plan for 2022-26. To strengthen civic and voter engagement, IFES works with the ECM to develop and disseminate outreach materials, including developing voter education videos demonstrating COVID-19 safety measures during polling, explaining the local elections’ gender quota and encouraging voters to vote ahead of the 2021 Local Council and Women’s Development Committee elections.
Women’s Electoral Participation
IFES promotes women’s political participation and representation. The “Vaane” (Women Can) campaign, based on IFES’ assessment of perceptions about women’s participation in public life in the Maldives, has reached over 350,000 people nationwide. The campaign promotes women’s participation and leadership in political and public life and encourages men to be allies for women’s rights.
Youth Engagement and Civic Education
IFES has worked with local civil society and governmental partners to implement youth camps and public awareness campaign that promote young people’s agency in identifying meaningful opportunities to contribute to their communities. To date, IFES’ youth-focused civic education has reached over 580 young people, and nearly 90 percent of participants in IFES’ Democracy Youth Camps have completed community service projects.
IFES supports research to strengthen electoral systems and enhance accountability of government bodies, including through production of a national survey on the prevalence of vote buying, which led to a draft electoral law with campaign finance reforms, and a research paper on effective tools for parliamentary oversight of constitutional bodies. IFES’ research helped inform past civil society efforts to introduce reforms to the Maldives electoral legal framework, resulting in submission of at least 33 legislative amendments to the attorney general.
IFES’ programs in the Maldives are supported by the United States Agency for International Development.