Bosnia and Herzegovina 1997 IFES Voter and Civic Education Project
This 1997 Voter Education Project was, in essence, an unexpected continuation of a successful, albeit brief, project inaugurated in the summer of 1996. That exercise ran for ten weeks, concluding with the 1996 elections on September 14-15. At that time all elective offices were filled except the municipal, locally known as opchina, councils whose elections were postponed until 1997.
Due to the impact of the effort in 1996, IFES was invited to return to assist with the 1997 election and expand its area of responsibility (AOR) from the two central Bosnia cantons of Middle Bosnia and Zenica-Doboj to include the Una-Sana Canton in northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, its trainers also covered the canton of Posavina, north of Republika Srpska, on the Sava River. The population of the 1998 AOR was upwards of one million people, constituting approximately one-fourth of the pre-war census of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In terms of geography, the area also approximated 25% of the total land area of BiH.
This year's project was initially authorized to run for twenty weeks doubling the period in 1996. However, that was increased to thirty weeks under two no-cost extensions, due to postelection activity authorized to assist in assuring election results implementation within the two central Bosnia cantons in our initial 1996 AOR.
On the day the contract was signed, Thursday, April 24, 1997, Ed Morgan, the Project Director, and Igor Beros, the Administrative Officer, immediately departed from Split, Croatia, and arrived in Zenica. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that same evening to meet with some of the staff from the previous year. Four days later Steve Connolly, the Washington-based IFES Contract Manager, arrived and by the next day when Foster Tucker, the Bihac Resource Center Manager, and Billie Day, the Training of Trainers Specialist, arrived all logistics for the Zenica based operation were in place in the Hotel Rudar. Within the first five days meetings were also held with USAID officials and the relevant OSCE election authorities in Sarajevo and Zenica.