Since 2001, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has been a key partner in strengthening the development of Timor-Leste’s electoral sector. IFES election experts were posted in Timor-Leste to support the National Elections Commission (CNE) and Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) as they organized some of Timor-Leste’s earliest elections. For example, IFES provided the STAE with voter registration and information technology support for the 2004-2005 Suco (local) elections. In later election cycles, IFES provided support for the development of electoral dispute resolution mechanisms and the nation’s electoral legal framework.

Through the “Strengthening Inclusive Elections and Political Process” (SIEPP) program supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, IFES, as part of the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), is currently working to enhance the capacities of the election management and oversight bodies to develop and implement effective and inclusive voter and civic education strategies ahead of the 2017 elections. CEPPS/IFES will assist in developing a civic education curriculum emphasizing an inclusive approach to encouraging citizen participation before, during, and after the elections. IFES and CEPPS associate partner Search for Common Ground (SFCG) will develop an innovative dissemination campaign based on the CNE curriculum.

CEPPS/IFES will also work with the STAE to enhance its capacity to conduct civic and voter education through an inclusive process that targets the participation of rural and remote communities, women, youth and persons with disabilities in the electoral process. CEPPS/IFES will support local civil society organizations.

CEPPS/IFES and SFCG will help the CNE establish a 2017 elections media center within the CNE headquarters. Staffed by CNE personnel working with an experienced media engagement adviser, the media center will help the CNE organize press events and actively engage media as partners in disseminating voter information.