Ghana is a stable multiparty democracy in West Africa, albeit one that sometimes faces charges of democratic backsliding and complaints about inclusion. IRI supports Ghanaians by working across the country on election monitoring, voter education, and by promoting the political participation of marginalized groups.

People gather to watch the count of ballots at a polling station

IRI supports the political participation of women, youth, and people with disabilities by assessing and eliminating barriers to their engagement.  IRI has done pre-election analysis that highlights the hurdles women face as both voters and political candidates. This analysis was done in partnership with Women in Law and Development in Africa-Ghana (WiLDAF-Ghana), and revealed challenges to women in Ghanaian politics, despite the high turnout from women in the last election cycle.

IRI is focusing on inclusion and opportunities for women in politics and held focus group discussions with Ghanaian women who serve as party members and as politicians, as well as women in civil society. IRI then organized cross-party talks and planning sessions on how best to empower female political party members to push their parties on practical steps for including women as decision-makers. The talks also served to present women’s participation in politics as a non-partisan issue.

IRI held an inter-faith summit before the last election cycle, bringing together religious leaders from Muslim and Christian communities to discuss peace keeping in northern Ghana. IRI provided participants with the tools and resources needed to focus on key issues facing the country, come up with solutions, and build a consensus. This summit was critical in contributing to the peaceful conduct of elections where political leaders often incite violence and manipulate religious differences to influence voting.

IRI is also working to reinforce Ghana’s role as a leader in West Africa, encouraging its neighbors to support democratic governance. IRI and its partners continue to pressure stakeholders within Ghana to organize free, fair, and credible elections. IRI has collaborated with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on virtual pre-election assessment missions, and IRI and NDI’s teams have examined Ghana’s legal framework, media environment, state of election administration, and the threat of malign foreign interference. At the end of the assessment, IRI and NDI released a report recommending improvements to Ghana’s electoral process. IRI and NDI also held a series of webinars providing a chance to highlight issues facing stakeholders and the challenges and gaps in election preparations.

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