To address the challenge of accountability and governance through a system-building approach across governments, markets, and people.

Our Story

The roots of the Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE) stem from decades of cutting-edge work implementing change in-country, the study of best practices and leading policy transformation in global organizations. In the 1990s, Clare Lockhart and Ashraf Ghani managed a World Bank program to improve country strategies and program implementation. It focused on building coalitions for reform, implementing large-scale policies and training the next generation of development professionals to read country context and collaborate with local actors.

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What We Do and How We Work

Underlying many of today’s challenges is a systemic crisis in accountability and effectiveness of governance. ISE seeks to address the governance gap so that governments and markets can better meet the needs of citizens.

ISE provides systematic tools and proven expertise to help states deliver more accountable and effective governance.

We work on research and development initiatives that drive innovations in concepts, policy and practice.

ISE refines and builds the know-how to equip leaders, policymakers and managers with the knowledge, skills and tools to create inclusive policies and accountable institutions.

We work with our partners to understand country context and address the implementation gap, supporting well-sequenced programs at regional and local levels that are fit for that context and harness existing assets.

The ISE engagement model places the country’s own national priorities at the center of policy development to ensure that its citizens are at the forefront of decision-making.


To catalyze the discovery of solutions
To unleash the potential of latent assets
To honor the dignity of citizens and societies
To engage with respect and humility

   ISE is proud to have a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar