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Amplify Marginalized Voices

People who subsist on the outer edge of a community have little or no chance of being seen or heard. Without democracy, women, youth, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTI individuals, and people with disabilities are marginalized.

IRI’s work helps empower people to raise their voices to make their opinions known. In emerging democracies, we can encourage them to increase their community involvement because they know they matter and can, therefore, make a difference.

Advancing the Role of Youth

Civically engaged youth drive economic growth, democracy, and prosperity. In turn, when youth are not engaged in their country, it can lead to violence, instability and migration.

Through global programming and our flagship youth network Generation Democracy, IRI advances the role of youth in decision-making processes. We help youth and partners identify barriers and opportunities to promote active participation, connect youth with other democratically-minded leaders, co-develop tools, and test strategies. Our programs equip a generation of changemakers with the knowledge and skills to better advocate for reform, overcome barriers to meaningful political participation and promote more vibrant, resilient and inclusive democracies. To learn more about IRI’s approach to empowering and uniting youth, check out our approach HERE

Advocates for Change

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, IRI is working with a select group of young “Reconciliation Ambassadors” through the USAID-funded re:Generation program to create a documentary film that examines the legacy of the Bosnian war and advocates for positive change in the country.

Policy-Oriented Discussion

Youth Political Debates in Georgia encourage a culture of respectful policy-oriented discussion and empower a new generation of leaders. This project has been so successful that the model has been replicated in Kyrgyzstan.

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

When women participate as decision-makers, the economic and social well-being of their country grows, and more inclusive governing and peacebuilding processes take root. Yet, millions of women continue to struggle for the rights to vote, run for office or serve as leaders in public life. The International Republican Institute prioritizes the promotion of gender equality and inclusion throughout all our programs as well as through our flagship global initiative, the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN).

Connecting Women to Their Greatest Resource— Each Other

Through our Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) and our Arab Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), we connect women to their best resource: one another. With active WDN members in more than 60 countries and country chapters in 14 countries, WDN leads our efforts to empower women politically.  To learn more about WDN go to

Voice of Peace

Whether entrenched in conflict or moving forward in reconciliation, women are a voice of peace. The demands and opportunities for women’s inclusion have a profound effect in determining the successful outcome of a country’s future. IRI empowers women to seize windows of opportunity during periods of conflict and transition as well as meaningfully engage in long-term political processes. In Colombia, IRI built the capacity of female mayors of former conflict zones, helping them craft actionable recommendations for the peace agreement’s implementation that center on the needs of women and rural, indigenous communities hardest hit by the conflict.

Empowering Persons With Disabilities

Political participation plays a critical role in democratic governance, the rule of law, social inclusion and economic development. Yet, people with disabilities are routinely denied the chance to exercise their political voice.

The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 contained progressive reforms intended to bring government closer to everyday Kenyans through an aggressive form of decentralization known as devolution. However, seven years later, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to full participation in electoral and democratic processes. To address these barriers, we researched the obstacles persons with disabilities face to political participation, seeking to understand the nuances of these obstacles at the county level.

With the findings, IRI is supporting persons with disabilities to engage candidates for county office and subsequently, newly elected leaders, on issues of importance to them and to improve conditions for their political participation in the post-election period. To learn more about the work we do in Kenya, listen to the Kenya episode of our podcast “Global“ HERE.

The generous support of individuals and corporations enable IRI staff and volunteers to carry out its mission around the world. With your help, IRI will continue its mission of hope for decades to come.

IRI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible

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