#InclusiveDemTalk: Strategies for Maintaining Inclusive Political Processes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Disability Inclusive Voter Education (DIVE) mobile app in Pakistan was designed with accessibility features for users with disabilities.

On Friday, April 24, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) hosted a Twitter chat on inclusive political and electoral participation. The hourlong chat provided IFES teams and partners, civil society leaders, policy advocates, donors, development organizations and practitioners with an opportunity to share experiences, best practices and lessons learned for empowering marginalized groups such as youth, women, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and displaced persons in political life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The #InclusiveDemTalk Twitter chat was organized as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) #DemocracyIs communication campaign, which highlights the impact of practitioners and advocates worldwide. IFES joined USAID’s campaign to celebrate the themes of “Inclusion and Empowerment” and “Free and Fair Elections.” Participants joined the conversation from countries around the world including Canada, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and the U.S.

During the chat, participants shared strategies to overcome barriers to participating in political and public life as a result of COVID-19. Participants noted country-specific recommendations for working with local and national governments and tweeted about ways in which marginalized groups are taking the lead to combat disinformation by only sharing accurate and credible information about COVID-19 with their peers and family members, communities and networks.

The conversation covered key issues related to ensuring democratic principles and rights during COVID-19, as outlined in USAID’s paper on COVID-19: Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Issues and Potential USAID Responses. See below for some important takeaways from the conversation and, in case you missed it, you can access the full #InclusiveDemTalk. Thank you to everyone who participated – your efforts to maintain inclusive political practices during this pandemic and beyond are inspiring and critical to building democracies that deliver for all. Be sure to follow @IFES1987, @IFESYouth, @IFESDisability and @IFESGender to stay current on IFES’ inclusion programming!

Learn more about IFES' work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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