Since 1999, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has worked to strengthen the electoral management capacity of the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN), promote inclusive electoral reform, strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and mobilize citizens to participate in democratic politics.
IFES’ key achievements in Nepal have included:
- Providing technical support to the ECN in its successful management of the last six major elections since the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war. Support has included production of over 120 million electoral ballots and training for over 10,000 election officials on polling and counting, voter outreach strategies, media and elections and ballot production.
- Expanding political participation of marginalized groups in Nepal – including women, youth, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities – by working with over 44 local CSOs to deliver voter education and provide voter registration support to these communities. To date, IFES’ assistance has enabled more than 547,000 Nepalis from marginalized communities to register to vote, over 72,000 to obtain their citizenship certificate and the production of civic education materials in eight different regional languages, braille, and sign language.
- Assisting the ECN to develop over a 54 electoral administration procedures, regulations, directives and legal instruments by providing technical support throughout the drafting of nine post-constitution electoral laws, recommendations for achieving the constitutional elections timeline, increasing transparency in political finance reporting, and documenting and remedying election complaints and disputes.
- Working with the ECN to establish a Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) Unit that aims to strengthen gender mainstreaming and increase women’s representation throughout Nepal’s electoral process. IFES also developed “Gender Equality & Election Management Bodies: A Best Practices Guide” to promote effective integration of the GESI Unit’s priorities throughout the ECN’s work.
- Engaging disabled persons’ organizations and other community groups to collaboratively advocate for the civic and political rights of persons with disabilities. This work was recognized internationally by the Zero Project as one of the world’s innovative practices on independent living and political participation in 2015. IFES has also facilitated two election access observation missions for the 2013 and 2017 legislative elections, training over 240 persons with disabilities and their family members to document the accessibility the electoral process.