The European Union (EU) and its Members States are Kenya’s biggest partners in development cooperation, with the promotion of democracy, pluralism, and good governance a central pillar of this cooperation. Kenya is a key EU partner to ensure regional peace and security thanks to its leading role in peace, security, and conflict management in the Horn of Africa Region, both individually as a State, and within the frameworks of regional intergovernmental organisations, such as the African Union (AU), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the East African Community (EAC).


Through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and the European Development Fund (EDF), the EU, as well as the EU Member States, are considering potentially combining resources with the aim of supporting a joint action that capitalizes on progress made and work around conflict prevention. This project suggests concrete ways to strengthen existing workaround conflict prevention through the implementation of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s (NCIC) Road Map For Peaceful Elections in Kenya and addressing important gaps ahead of the general election scheduled to take place on 09 August 2022. 


In addition, the EU EOM of 2017 formulated a total of 29 recommendations mainly targeting: the legal framework, media, women and people with disabilities participation, voter education, electoral campaign and political parties, and civil society organisations.


This project takes on board the various experiences of the collaborating partners in working to promote peace and cohesion to prevent and mitigate conflicts and electoral related violence in Africa and to build trust, inclusion, cohesion and political space especially to support the “Road Map of Peaceful Elections 2022” published recently by NCIC.


On November 2019, the African Union Commission and Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) organised a forum on “Enhancing Participation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees in Elections: towards More Inclusive Electoral Processes in Africa” in Nairobi, Kenya, to which ECES was invited to participate. This marked the first time that, on the continent, senior electoral officials were collectively engaging with the policy issue of internal displacement, refugees and elections in Africa.

Parallel to the event, ECES set upon exploring the possibilities of developing a suitable programme for Kenya with partners in the country. In doing so, ECES interacted with the Delegation of the European Union in Nairobi and with various key Kenyan leaders and electoral stakeholders. A series of important meetings with NCIC were subsequently held at the highest levels, which led to firm commitments on the part of the Kenyan partners to a project for peacebuilding, cohesion and electoral support by ECES.


Additionally, existing cooperation was established through the INNOV-Elections project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation (MAECI) and implemented by ECES, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa (SSSA) and UNITAR. INNOV-ELECTIONS aims to provide adequate tools to address the social, economic, political and organizational challenges associated with the organization of elections in Africa in times of pandemic, with particular attention to the prevention of conflicts and violence related to consultations. The objectives of the project also include reducing the gender gap in the sector, actively involving the female component in training activities. The implementation of INNOV-ELECTION is already underway with NCIC and IEBC.


After intensified interactions with NCIC, the joint proposal was developed as a furtherance of the NCIC roadmap developed by the Commission in line with its legal mandate in the area. The team sought the concurrence of the NCIC to update and launch the newest version of the project for Kenya. The project was drafted to complement the interventions supported by other development partners to the NCIC and operating in Kenya and is focused specifically on election-related conflict and violence. In this context, coordination was sought and is ongoing with UNDP, Idea International and other relevant development actors. The activities addressed in this project to support NCIC are unique and not funded by other donors including UNDP, GiZ and others. After having been shared with EU, EU member states and other donors, a new draft of the proposal was developed targeting IcSP funding and funding from EU member states.