Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) is a network of 43 civil society organizations and the largest national independent electoral monitoring organization working to ensure election processes are transparent and undertaken in a democratic way in compliance with rules and regulations. It works to build confidence in democracy and strengthening political participation by conducting advocacy campaigns and civic education programs. It has provided professional monitoring of the previous rounds of elections and trained thousands of electoral observers who delivered impartial observation in the past elections. Its findings reports have been largely welcomed and used as credible sources of information
TEFA has formed regional election networks in 8 regions to prepare them in order to observe from upcoming parliamentary and district council election.
TEFA is a permanent member of the Asian Network for Free Election (ANFREL) and Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM). TEFA has been a member of key civil society networks such as Civil Society Working Committee (CSWC), Afghan Civil Society Election Network (ACSEN), and Civil Society Joint Working Group (CSJ-WG). It also represents civil society in the selection committee for introducing electoral commissioners.
TEFA has represented Afghan civil society in many national and international forums including the 2014 London International Conference on Afghanistan and 2016 Brussels conference on Afghanistan. In addition, TEFA has served as an international election observer in several countries, provided professional election observation. Meanwhile, TEFA has international election expert advisor that provide online advises on election technical issues as well as represent TEFA in global election events.
TEFA has five-year strategy plan for the election in Afghanistan, which clearly explain the vision and mission of TEFA as a national organization in Afghanistan. TEFA is the only organization, which has done professional research on the assessment of awareness, willingness and ability to participate in district council election in Afghanistan. The research findings and recommendation shared with the government and other stakeholders.
TEFA has established Joint working group of Afghan civil society organizations and political parties to advocate for the electoral reform and still leads the group to insure reforms are being implemented in election structures and legal framework. TEFA has provided written recommendation for the electoral reform since the establishment of the national unity government and still has been engaged with the new commissioners in IEC and IECC. TEFA has been asked by IEC and IECC officially to observe the work proceeding of new commissioner for the purpose of transparency in election management bodies.
It works to build confidence in democracy and strengthening political participation by conducting advocacy campaigns and civic education programs. It has provided professional monitoring of the previous rounds of elections and trained thousands of electoral observers who delivered impartial observation in the past elections. Its finding reports have been largely welcomed and used as credible sources of information. TEFA’s strategic plans primarily focus on professional and targeted monitoring with consideration of increased women and civil society participation and enhancing transparency in democratic processes. Its vision is to see a sustainable democratic process including transparent and credible election processes as well as stronger role of civil society organizations in Afghanistan.
TEFA has long-term provincial coordinators and partner local civil society organizations that bring broad election knowledge and experience, which expands TEFA’s capacity to implement the projects in timely and appropriate fashion. TEFA has closely worked with community groups and local stakeholders contributing concrete recommendations to help improving electoral law and political culture. It publicly advocated among national decision and policy makers for the interests of the marginalized groups, including women and other electoral minorities to assure that their voice was heard and their interests better protected in legislation.
TEFA encourages civil society organizations to actively participate in the electoral process and stands for improving active partnership and cooperation among government institutions and civil society organizations. With majority of population living in rural areas, it invests special attention to grassroots levels that have often been ignored lacking proper attention and assistance. It also seeks opportunities to reduce over- reliance of Afghan civil society on international donors and is devoted to work for sustainability of Afghan civil society actors.
TEFA endeavors to strengthen collaboration and coordination between electoral bodies and CSOs in various levels, as it believes that a strong coordination is a key component of conducting electoral process. TEFA also leads a constructive dialogue between government institutions and civil society organizations and considers effective social partnership a crucial guarantee for a stable and prosperous Afghan society of the future.
TEFA is fully aware of the devastating impact of political corruption as it pervades all services and undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in the legislature reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking. Hence, TEFA along with other organizations continue to advocate for transparency and openness in government. Through its advocacy efforts, it creates pressure for policy reform and improved governance, as well as explicitly monitors the state’s actions for fighting corruption. It remains a vocal voice in preventing political corruption as it distorts the democratic process. It advocates for civil society organizations to be well integrated into society and not be compromised by political allegiances.
TEFA leads civil society advocacy campaigns for certain social purposes. It continues to push the government to fulfill its promises for implementing a reforming agenda. It is also committed to work for the capacity development of civil groups at the national and local levels. It currently focuses on advocacy for district council elections, supposed to be held for the first time. It raises people’s awareness about the importance of district councils, encouraging the relevant institutions to facilitate for the first district council elections by addressing existing legal and technical challenges.
TEFA understands that the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections have largely undermined the election process and had negative impact on public confidence in electoral institutions and process. As election is the major principle of a functioning democracy, there is a vital need to take essential steps in order to restore people’s confidence and to ensure election transparency. Through certain activities, TEFA attempts to restore people’s faith in elections and encourage political parties to play a more effective role in election transparency. It also works with respective institutions for the implementation of key electoral reforms prior to the next parliamentary elections.