Opening Doors

August 10, 2011 - IFES

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Today, 15 out of every 100 persons in the world, or 978 million people, live with a disability.

IFES works towards fostering partnerships among disabled person’s organizations (DPOs), civil society and governments. IFES strives to remove barriers which prohibit full participation of persons with disabilities as voters and candidates. When barriers are removed, voters with disabilities are afforded their full rights as citizens.

Since 1997, IFES has focused on taking a leading role to ensure persons with disabilities can cast a ballot with dignity and privacy. In 1998, IFES established the only online global resource on political and electoral rights of persons with disabilities, www.electionaccess.org.

IFES has successfully implemented disability programs in every region of the world. This includes building ramps to polling centers in Armenia, developing tactile ballot guides in Ghana, training persons with disabilities to be election observers in Bangladesh and increasing the capacity of DPOs in Guinea to educate their community on the rights of persons with disabilities.

IFES’ most recent project is on a regional scale. IFES is working to expand the leadership capacities of Indonesian DPOs so they can work with partners in Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines to ensure disability rights are on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ agenda.

A true democratic process sees each citizen, voter or candidate, participate.