WITNESSING UKRAINE'S RESILIENCE
In Bucha, Ukraine—just outside of Kyiv—children ride bicycles as their parents stroll alongside them, laughing and waving to others who pass by. Just one year ago, Russian troops killed 458 people, according to the Ukrainian government, in a brutal massacre. Borodianka, one of Bucha’s townships, suffered brutal bombardment; charred and hollowed-out buildings serve as a reminder of the human consequences of war.
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) CEO and President Tony Banbury spoke to IFES’s team worldwide from a square in Borodianka on Wednesday, in front of a polling station that is being rebuilt. “It symbolizes one way—and there’s so many ways we’ve seen this—that Ukrainian democracy is resilient, and the work of Ukrainian people and its partners over many years to build resilient democracy is paying off now,” Tony said.
The IFES Ukraine team safely remains in Kyiv while continuing the work of supporting Ukrainian democracy.
Keep up with our Instagram to watch the rest of Tony’s remarks from Ukraine.
DEMOCRACY'S HOPES IN SUDAN
As more than 100,000 people—and counting—have fled Sudan since fighting broke out two weeks ago, the warring factions agreed to a seven-day cease-fire that began on Wednesday. IFES shares the hope that efforts to bring the parties to the negotiating table in good faith will succeed as soon as possible, CEO and President Tony Banbury wrote in a statement this week.
For more context on the conflict and what the path for de-escalation and democracy now looks like, read our Q&A with IFES Board Member Jeffrey Feltman, who previously served as Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa for the U.S. Department of State from April 2021 to January 2022.
SPOTLIGHT: WOMEN BUILD COLLECTIVE RESILIENCE AGAINST ONLINE DISINFORMATION AND HATE SPEECH
Over 50 women cheered for Rani Mei Lestari as she sang on stage at a dinner in Kathmandu, Nepal, complete with a guitarist behind her. Rani was breaking out of her shell.
For Rani, a She Leads alumnus, it takes courage to voice her opinions and feelings in front of a crowd, in large part due to the barriers she faces as a person with disabilities in the political space.
Another alumnus from Myanmar finds the courage to plow forward in advocacy every day, following the 2021 coup. “After the military coup, we feel like we are isolated,” she said.
Both women attended IFES's She Leads regional conference and realized the strength, confidence, and courage they not only could spread—but draw upon—from being around other alumni from across the Asia Pacific region.
Read more about what the women learned and gained from each other.
PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS ELECTIONS
Combatting climate change requires every effort by individuals, organizations, and institutions, no matter how big or small. Prioritizing the climate while maintaining the credibility, integrity, and inclusivity of electoral processes, IFES is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote environmentally conscious elections.
“This unique, first-of-its-kind tool will be a great asset to the election sector to lead in an area that is an existential threat to democracy and human rights,” Vasu Mohan, IFES Senior Global Advisor for Conflict, Displacement, and Minority Rights, said.
Read about it here.