IED’S Identity and Institutional Journey

IED was founded originally as “Education Institute of Democracy” (EID) in 1993 following the disbandment of National Election Monitoring Unit (NEMU).  NEMU was disbanded after its task was over and its mandate accomplished, as it had been temporarily constituted for the sole purpose of monitoring and observing the 1992 general elections in Kenya and to prepare a report at the end of the exercise.

The need to monitor the democratic process and systems, to continue with the process of election monitoring and observation and to provide civic education however, remained. It was to fill this gap and to realise these goals that IED was founded. The initial objective of EID was to pursue the challenge of democratisation through election monitoring and civic education.

Since its inception, IED has sought to provide non-partisan leadership in monitoring the democratic process in Kenya and Africa through programmes in the electoral process, voter education, research and provision of technical assistance. It is committed to a non-partisan approach to issues and promotes the view that an informed citizenry is an empowered citizenry that can take part in the development of their country. IED is not affiliated to any political party, pressure group or religious organization. It seeks to achieve its mandate through: -

  • Promotion of the evolution of a democratic ethic and culture in the management of national affairs
  • Provision of information and skills related to positive political behaviour, thus enabling the development of positive attitudes about the general electorate's own abilities to contribute to the development of policies and the form of government which they deem desirable for the country
  • Support to the evolution and growth of an institutional framework that will motivate people to voluntarily participate and share in the election of their political leaders and in the formulation of public policy; and
  • The upholding and recognition of gender, ethnic and religious diversities amongst its target group to promote peaceful co-existence and development.

The first phase of EID’s development was devoted to institution building and clarifying its strategic direction. To achieve this goal it held its first strategic planning workshop in Naivasha in 1993.  The purpose for this meeting was to discuss the technicalities and the modalities of the setting up of the Institute, its goals and objectives and its expected characteristics. EID changed its name to “Institute for Education in Democracy” (IED).

The second strategic meeting was held in early 1996 and its purpose was to discuss ways of consolidating the work IED had begun. The main recommendation of the meeting was IED set up various management systems and seek institutional autonomy. This meeting also sought to review IED’s policies, programmes, and structures to make them more appropriate to its overall objective and attempt to respond to its external environment.

In 1997, IED began a management and development process where an institutional framework was established and was to be reviewed periodically and measured against the Institute’s annual goals. During the management and development of a framework process, it became necessary for IED to refocus and review its Vision, Mission and Goals (VMG) in order to chart a new direction for itself. This process was conducted through a brainstorming workshop where a strategy was adopted that IED would have a rolling period in which to discuss its organizational and programme strategy, using retrospective and prospective approaches for a period of two to three years.

1997 was a year of reflection for the Institute in which it discovered its strengths in a number of issues. This had the immediate impact of building institutional capacity to effectively implement its mandate. It was also hoped that diversifying funding sources would result in a sustainable base for the Institute enabling it to move away from total donor dependency.

A strategic planning process resulted in the Strategic Plan for the period 1998 – 2003, which set out IED’s institutional and programmatic strategic priorities. This Plan was developed after five years of IED’s existence during which it had carried out a range of activities in the discharge of its set tasks and had already: -

  • Built up an excellent reputation as a research, training and advocacy institution
  • Created a fairly strong publication and outreach record, including the development and dissemination of IEC materials
  • Created an impressive goodwill amongst its partners, collaborators, and donor agencies both at home and overseas
  • Established membership in an international network of respectable election monitoring organizations
  • Marshalled an extensive network amongst organizations with similar mandate locally; and
  • Nurtured an environment that recognizes the potential of men and women in building democracy.

IED’s remarkable growth and expansion has been facilitated by financial support and the goodwill of its traditional donors specifically, the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE), the Department for International Development (DFID), and other donors who include United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Bilance (now CORDAID), particularly in relation to its capital and administrative costs. This support and goodwill was absolutely critical to IED’s growth and survival.

Another five years have lapsed and IED has grown even more with critical support and goodwill from its traditional donors, RNE and DFID, and additional pool of donors that IED diversified its fundraising efforts to incorporate, the Ford Foundation, AUSAID, UNDP, FES and the Swiss Embassy (comprehensive list of all IED donors appears on page xx of this strategic plan). This process of growth has continued throughout the life of IED, with objectives, scope of activities and corresponding structure evolving all the time in response to both external and internal challenges and environment.

These aspects have conditioned its modus operandi. IED’s leadership has been alert to new opportunities all the time and has typically seized on them with remarkable success to ensure both its institutional and programmatic growth. It was therefore with the aim of seizing new opportunities that IED embarked on a strategic planning process in July 2002, which culminated to this Strategic Plan.

IED’s journey over time maybe reflected through the different projects it has conducted over the many years, and these include the following that are a selection from the many projects: -

  • Women’s Empowerment for Political Participation
  • Youths’ Participation in the Electoral Process
  • Capacity Building of IED and Electoral Environment, where outputs included: -
  • Radio and TV programmes with messages addressing voting procedure, information on the importance of the voting process and on secrecy of the ballot and special messages for disadvantaged groups
  • Electoral Monitoring infrastructure incorporating a publication on constituency profiles published
  • Development of Voter Education Materials
  • A publication on constituencies and their profile
  • A publication of the National Electoral Data Book 1963-1997
  • A publication on Political Parties Management: An Audit
  • Training manual for Election Observers
  • An Election Observation Manual
  • Monitoring the Voter Registration Exercise
  • Pre-elections opinion polls.   
  • Monitoring and observing the 1997 general elections and publishing a report on the same.
  • Monitoring and observing the By-elections between 1993-1997, and 11 1998-2001
    Youth Peer Educators Projects (I & II).
  • Needs Assessment Survey in ASAL and semi-ASAL areas in Kenya.
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) developed and produced profiling constituency database and maps.
  • Civic Education in Marginalized Groups in Turkana and Marsabit.
  • People’s Participation in Constitution-Making: Initiating Dialogue through Community-Based Hearings.
  • Good Governance for Poverty Eradication Programme – Voter Education component.
  • Setting Grounds for Effective Electoral Administration and Management by Strengthening the role of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) (Phase I & II) incorporating the training of over 160 ECK trainers, and the development of materials.
  • Auditing of the National Voters’/Electors’ Register following the registration exercise in 2002.
  • Kenya Domestic Observation Programme (K-DOP).
  • Media Debates for Political Parties.
  • Establishment of IED’s Website.