The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) is a national, independent, non-governmental institution working to ensure that democratic processes are implemented transparently through networking, citizen participation and good governance. It was established in May of 2004 by a coalition of civil society organizations for the purposes of:
- Monitoring elections to ensure they are free and fair
- Promoting democracy in the country
- Promoting public participation in public and electoral affairs
- Advancing the consolidation of public trust and faith in democracy and elections
FEFA’s vision for Afghanistan is to contribute to the formation of a peaceful, democratic and well-governed society where all citizens have equal rights and opportunities for participation in the public life of their country.
FEFA was registered with the Ministry of Justice on 12 June 2004 and is both an organization and a network. Its membership includes 15 domestic civil society organizations committed to strengthening the participation of Afghan citizens in public life and democratic processes, and an additional 16 organizations partner with FEFA during elections.
Since its founding 6 year ago, FEFA remains the only Afghan organization with a nationwide presence to have observed all three of Afghanistan’s elections.
FEFA’s first initiative was to observe the October 2004 presidential elections, during which it deployed observers in 100 districts inside the country and in Pakistan for out-of-country voting. One year later, during the parliamentary elections, FEFA sent volunteer observers to 217 districts, covering 65 percent of all polling centers nationwide.
Over the course of the next 4 years, FEFA undertook a series of research projects to help educate the Afghan public on issues related to the conduct of free and fair elections.
In 2008, FEFA conducted a series of consultations with civil society in 4 regions on potential amendments to the Electoral Law. FEFA also conducted a study on behalf of International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) on the state of political financing in Afghanistan.
During the 2009 presidential and provincial council elections, FEFA launched its third observation mission, deploying 7,137 election monitors to polling stations in 34 provinces, covering 60 percent of polling stations in the country. FEFA’s final report on the elections, released in January 2010, detailed election law violations and contributed to the robust and impartial auditing of the 2009 electoral process.
In advance of Election Day 2010, FEFA has begun its fourth observation mission. It will have 400 long term observers deployed throughout Afghanistan during the campaigns and an additional 6,600 monitoring voting and tallying on Election Day. The observation mission, the largest in the country this election year, is made possible through the generous support of the governments of Germany and Denmark.
The findings of FEFA’s earlier IFES study formed the basis for a campaign finance monitoring pilot project FEFA is now implementing, through its partnership with IFES, concurrently with its primary observation mission. This monitoring project, the first of its kind in Afghanistan, aims to increase awareness of political finance issues in the parliamentary elections, recommend reforms, and establish campaign finance monitoring mechanisms for future Afghan elections.
Technical and financial assistance to help build FEFA’s organizational capacity to participate in political processes in between and during future elections is being provided by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a long-term supporter of FEFA.