Kenya is heading into important elections amidst constitutional challenges and a push to increase the number of parliamentarians in the country, moves that some see as an attempted power grab. In its support for Kenya’s democracy, IRI is working on improving youth participation in political and civic life and is focused on helping civil society as it promotes a peaceful election cycle.

Voters queue at a polling station

IRI has operated in Kenya since 1992, and during that time the country has made significant democratic gains. IRI‘s work in Kenya today centers around three key areas: political inclusion, citizen-centered governance, and electoral integrity.

In its work on political inclusion, IRI aims to bring marginalized groups into political and civic life. To do that, IRI provides skill- and network-building programming to Kenyan women, youth, and people with disabilities who aspire to hold office and/or work inside political parties. This work is designed to raise the political visibility and representation of these groups, which have struggled to be heard in Kenyan governance and politics.

Work on transparency and corruption is also part of IRI’s portfolio in Kenya.  In 2016, the government passed the Access to Information Act (ATI), signaling a commitment to countering corruption and promoting transparency and accountability.  In practice, however, not much has changed. Since corruption disproportionately impacts Kenya’s young people, IRI is working with youth groups to urge the government to  put transparency and accountability measures into practice.

Though Kenya has made significant democratic progress in recent decades, elections continue to be contentious and sometimes trigger violence. Kenya’s most recent elections have been marred by violence and allegations of irregularities. IRI is working to bolster the integrity of Kenya’s elections using security monitors as well as by brokering dialogue between political leaders at the county level, with a particular focus on areas prone to conflict. This work is designed to increase the credibility of elections, thereby boosting public trust in the results and, by extension, in Kenya’s democracy.

Kenya is also a hub for many of IRI’s global programming initiatives on Conflict Prevention and Stabilization, Women, Peace and Security, as well as Countering Foreign Authoritarian Influence.

Latest News & Resources

Our Experts

Up ArrowTop