Nepal’s 2022 elections offer an opportunity for Nepali citizens, including approximately three million first-time youth voters, to capitalize on the opportunity to elect leaders at the local, provincial and federal levels through the decentralized, federal system established under the 2015 Constitution. IFES is partnering with civil society organizations and the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) to support the facilitation of free and fair elections and support marginalized groups to serve as leaders in their communities and advocate for inclusive political processes. IFES has been supporting the implementation of inclusive elections, building capacity of election professionals and strengthening the integrity of the electoral process in Nepal since 1999.
In 2022, the ECN will implement three tiers of elections. However, factors including political in-fighting, corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to extensive dissatisfaction with political leadership which could lead to voter apathy. IFES’ activities in Nepal to strengthen the electoral process and promote political inclusion include:
- Civic and voter education outreach, including civic engagement events, mock polls and voter education outreach, reaching over 1.5 million people since the 2017 elections.
- Trainings for elected women representatives in local government on their roles as government officials, leadership skills and the importance of women’s political participation and campaign skills, engaging 1,100 elected women through IFES’ She Leads program.
- Trainings for election officials in technical areas, including election management, cybersecurity, strengthening information, communications and technology systems and gender and disability inclusion.
- Supporting Nepali youth, women with disabilities and other marginalized groups in leadership and advocacy skills to develop advocacy policy platforms on youth inclusion, gender equality, disability access and inclusion and inclusive COVID-19 responses, reaching over 2,800 government officials and elected representatives.
Since 1999, IFES has reached over five million people in Nepal through voter education initiatives and supported trainings for over 350,000 ECN staff and poll workers. IFES has supported the ECN to develop civic and voter education programs and advised on the formation of the ECN’s Gender and Social Inclusion Unit and a gender inclusion policy. IFES also works with the ECN to combat new and emerging threats to democracy through enhancing their cybersecurity and countering election-related hate speech, disinformation and misinformation. To date, IFES has partnered with over 40 civil society organizations through civic and voter education campaigns, voter registration support and leadership and advocacy programs. Additionally, IFES is implementing the She Leads program in Nepal, which trains elected women at the local government level to strengthen their leadership skills and knowledge about their roles as local officials.
IFES’ programs in Nepal are supported by the United States Agency for International Development through the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening, the Australian Government and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.