The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) promotes democratic stability by providing technical assistance and applying field-based research to the electoral cycle worldwide to enhance citizen participation and strengthen civil societies, governance and transparency.
Every IFES project is staffed by national and international staff while partnering with local organizations. This homegrown approach ensures that the expertise offered by IFES fits the needs of the country or client and the benefit of assistance outlasts the life of the project. Our work is nonpartisan and also includes projects that:
-Help citizens participate in their democracies
-Increase politicians' accountability to the electorate
-Strengthen government institutions
Since its founding in 1987, IFES has worked in more than 100 countries - from developing democracies such as Liberia, to mature democracies such as the United States.
IFES is registered in the United States as a 501(c)3 organization.
HOW WE WORK
IFES is a development organization. Like other international groups, such as CARE or Save the Children, our goal is not to do things on behalf of others, but rather to develop and strengthen the capacities of local organizations to conduct their own affairs competently and fairly. We are careful to avoid imposing solutions, but instead offer our partners a range of well-conceived options based on over two decades of electoral experience.
HOW WE DO IT
As our name makes clear, what we add to the democracy agenda is our strength in electoral work. However, we define elections broadly, often using the term "elections plus" to describe the whole gamut of activities needed to make them genuine and representative. These include:
- Electoral law design
- Party & candidate registration
- Political finance reform
- Boundary delimitation
- E-day operations
- Disputes resolution
- Media development
- Inclusion of marginalized groups
- Civic and voter education
- Commission & poll worker training
- Results tabulation & transmission
It's important to remember that what IFES can help provide – a well conducted election – although essential, is but one piece of the democracy puzzle. Other critical components include strong parliaments, mature political parties, an effective opposition, the rule of law, active civil society and a free media.
WHERE WE WORK
Since its founding in 1987, IFES has provided assistance to over 100 countries worldwide and currently carries out programs in some 25 different countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
WHO DOES OUR WORK
IFES employs 174 international staff, and many hundreds of consultants and national staff. In addition, of course, we work with a wide range of local actors including electoral management bodies, civil society groups, political parties, judiciaries, human rights groups, media outlets and so on.
WHO SUPPORTS OUR WORK
IFES' annual budget is approximately $70 million, much of which comes from our main donor, the US government. However, we also receive funding from the UN, European Union, and a variety of bilateral development agencies such as the UK’s DfiD, CIDA etc.
Where is International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)