Astha - Election Support Project

The democracy of Bangladesh will be strengthened through a fair, free, inclusive and non-violent election cycle, to which this project contributes by supporting the Bangladesh Election Commission, civil society organisations, media and marginalised communities including women and/or youth groups. The project builds on Switzerland’s democratic principles to foster good governance, at all levels, within electoral processes. 

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Partecipazione democratica e società civile
Media e libertà di informazione
01.05.2023 - 30.06.2026
CHF  5’000’000
Contesto Standing at a highly critical development juncture, Bangladesh, has announced its next national parliamentary election to be held in January 2024. Due to a polarised political environment and a restricted space for expressing diverging opinions, the coming national election might trigger widespread violence and political conflicts, as seen recently in local elections. Another threat to democratic practices is the weaknesses of state institutions, such as the Bangladesh Election Commission, and the autocratic tendencies of the current Government. A poorly managed election cycle carries many risks for Bangladesh and can harm not only the graduation process from the least developed countries category but also the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. A stable, yet democratic, Bangladesh is important for the security of the region and is in the interests of global powers, such as China, US and India. Thus, promoting democratic values and ensuring inclusive civic participation in the electoral cycle is essential for Bangladesh to sustain its recent development trajectory in a sustainable, inclusive and peaceful way. The project aims to support the Government of Bangladesh and civil society organisations in fostering the integrity of the electoral cycle according to international standard. The project builds on Switzerland’s core tradition of democracy and good governance, alongside its core value of inclusivity, including women, youth, minorities and civil society actors. With its long-standing engagement in good governance in Bangladesh, Switzerland is well positioned and credible to offer such support contributing to fostering peace, justice and more resilient institutions. 
Obiettivi By supporting the Bangladesh Election Commission, civil society organisations, media and marginalised people like women and youth groups, this project contributes to strengthen the political stability of Bangladesh, through inclusive and less violent electoral cycles. 
Gruppi target

Direct target group: 500 representatives of Bangladesh Election Commission will receive capacity building support. Around 250’000 people of Bangladesh, especially from marginalised communities, women, youth groups, and indigenous peoples will benefit. 

Indirect target group: (i) One million citizens reached through and defended by the supported civil society organisations. In focus are women, youth, and minority groups. (ii) In the long run, all Bangladeshi citizens can be counted as indirect target group, since all will benefit from a more peaceful, just, and inclusive governance system. 

Effetti a medio termine

Outcome 1: The Bangladesh Election Commission is enabled to implement and reform its own policies, is supported to build up capacity to ensure free, and fair elections and has established a complaint mechanism that is able to address conflicts. 

Outcome 2: Through the project’s support better-informed youth will demonstrate increased political participation and engagement thanks to civic education, voter mobilisation, and issue-based policy dialogues. 

Outcome 3: Active and tolerant democratic spaces promoted by civil society and media, through policy dialogue, public outreach and community, achieved by preventing pre-, during and post-electoral violence.


Risultati principali attesi:  

Output 1.1: Legal framework for electoral procedures, and dispute resolution during the electoral process is strengthened and practiced. 

Output 1.2: Accountable electoral management is ensured by ethical and accountable electoral professionals. 

Output 1.3: Election related real-time database, communication strategies and technologies to enable digital election monitoring systems are introduced. 

Output 2.1: Mass-awareness campaigns are conducted and youth voters are adequately educated to cast votes and are aware of the importance of promoting tolerance. 

Output 2.2: Media outlets disseminate electoral information to their audience. 

Output 3.1: Community-based organisations are sensitised and equipped to prevent communal and electoral violence. 

Output 3.2: Voices of women and minority groups are amplified during the electoral cycle by civil society organisations and media partners.

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile DSC
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
ONG internazionale o straniera
Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite (ONU)
  • Programma di sviluppo delle Nazioni Unite
  • UNDP and UN Women Bangladesh; International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Intl. IDEA); The Smartvote Project and Democracy Watch; Rupantar with sub-contractors

Coordinamento con altri progetti e attori
  • PACTA by Transparency International Bangladesh (Switzerland, GBR and SWE)
  • Aspire to Innovation (a2i) project (Government of Bangladesh) 
  • Aparajita - Women’s Political Empowerment (Switzerland) 
  • Nagorikata (Switzerland) 
  • EU, USAID and FCDO supported different election projects
Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF    5’000’000 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF    1’161’542
Fasi del progetto Fase 1 01.05.2023 - 30.06.2026   (Fase in corso)