International Foundation for Electoral Systems

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The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) was founded in 1987. Based in Washington DC, it fosters "democratic initiatives", extending loans and grants to various "developing" countries, and it provides "targeted technical assistance to strengthen transitional democracies". IFES notes: "the end of the Cold War in 1989 created opportunities… to respond to an overwhelming demand for technical non-partisan expertise in democracy and governance."

On its website it states:

As one of the world's premier democracy and governance assistance organizations, IFES provides targeted technical assistance to strengthen transitional democracies. Founded in 1987 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, IFES has developed and implemented comprehensive, collaborative democracy solutions in more than 100 countries.[1]

Summary of activities

On its website current in 2004 IFES stated that to date it had:

  • Established field offices in more than 35 countries
  • Conducted over 50 Pre-Election Technical Assessments
  • Carried out Poll Worker Training Programs in more than 20 countries
  • Administered more than 75 on-site Technical Assistance Programs
  • Managed election equipment and commodities procurements in over 40 countries
  • Directed Voter and Civic Education Programs in over 30 nations
  • Coordinated more than 15 Regional Networking Programs of election officials, donors, and NGO representatives
  • Overseen more than 45 Election Observation Programs
  • Built a cadre more than 1,500 democracy and governance consultants
  • Created a Center for Participatory Democracy with 6,500 items on contemporary elections and political processes to assist scholars, election practitioners, and other democracy building institutions
  • Issued more than 215 publications on democratic development worldwide.[2]

Programmes around the world

Election guide

IFES has produced a website, Election Guide (, which enables the monitoring of elections, the election process, and information about parties. The website was launched in 1998 and paid for by "a generous grant" from USAID.[3]

Contact and personnel

Handing out prizes for democracy

In October 2007, IFES, which is a private company and contractor, awarded Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza.[4]

IFES principals and staff

Board members

As of September 2009, board members of IFES are:[5]

IFES field-based senior staff

As of January 15, 2007:[6]

Other Consultants

Countries where IFES has been active

IFES states that it is active in 35 countries (inc. most of the former Soviet republics), but major activity occurred here:

Countries where IFES has major operations
Albania Angola Azerbaijan
Dominican Republic East Timor Ethiopia
Georgia Guatemala Guinea
Guyana Haiti Honduras
Indonesia Iraq Kazakhstan
Nicaragua Nigeria Pakistan
Palestinian Territories Paraguay Philippines
Tajikistan Yemen  


In 2001 IFES's "partners" were listed as follows on its website:

  • Agency for Education and Development (AED)
  • ARCO Corporation
  • Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA)
  • Association of Central and Eastern European Election Authorities(ACEEEO)
  • Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA)
  • Association of Caribbean Electoral Organizations (ACEO)
  • Australian Agency for International Development
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • CNN International
  • Coca-Cola Corporation
  • Department for International Development - U.K. (DFID)
  • Elections Canada
  • Ernst and Young
  • Eurasia Foundation
  • ExxonMobil
  • Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA)
  • Government of Japan
  • Government of Qatar
  • Government of Sweden
  • J. Walter Thompson Publishing
  • Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers (IACREOT)
  • International IDEA
  • International Human Rights Law Group
  • International Republican Institute (IRI)
  • Internews
  • National Democratic Institute (NDI)
  • Nokia Mobile Phones
  • Management Systems International (MSI)
  • Motorola, Inc.
  • Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Oxygen Media, Inc.
  • P.T. Datakom Asia
  • Research Triangle Institute (RTI)
  • Riggs Bank
  • Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
  • The Asia Foundation
  • The Carter Center
  • The Soros Foundation
  • Tinker Foundation, Inc.
  • United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Office Project Service (UNOPS)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • U.S. Department of State

In February 2003 the following organisations were listed on the IFES website as "partners" or "allied organizations":[9]

Contact, References and Resources


1101 15th Street, N.W., Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
202.828.8507, Telephone
202.452.0804, Fax



  1. About Us, ElectionGuide website, accessed 14 Sept 2009
  2. Mission and Goals, IFES website, version placed in web archive 25 Jan 2004, accessed in web archive 14 Sept 2009
  3. About Us, Election Guide website, accessed 14 Sept 2009
  4. IFES Honors OAS Secretary General Insulza With Its Annual Democracy Award, Media Newswire, 4 October 2007, accessed 14 Sept 2009
  5. About IFES: Board, IFES website, accessed 14 Sept 2009
  6. Field-based senior staff, IFES website, version archive 15 Jan 2007, accessed in web archive 14 Sept 2007
  7. Afghanistan Considers Election System Change, IFES website, 6 Sept 2007, accessed 14 Sept 2009
  8. Navbahor Imamova, Uzbekistan to Hold Presidential Elections in December, VOA News, 7 November 2007, accessed 14 Sept 2009
  9. Partners, IFES website, version placed in web archive 5 Feb 2003, accessed in web archive 14 Sept 2009