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Leading the way towards the realizations of a democratic political culture, respect for human rights and the maintenance of human dignity.

The Centre for Governance and Development (CGD) is a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization. It emerged out of the realisation by leading pro-democracy reformists that the re-introduction of multi-party politics still resulted in the ruling party retaining power despite widespread popular opposition.


CGD was founded in 1993 in Nairobi at a workshop on the theme ‘Human Rights and Democratic Development,’ jointly organized by the International Commission of Jurist, Kenya Section (ICJ-K) and the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy), Canada.

This came against a backdrop of widespread concern over the 1992 multiparty election’s failure to bring significant democratization in Kenya. The one party constitutional and institutional structure was still firmly in place and was being used to launch a counter-offensive against further democratization.


The workshop elected a steering committee representing human rights and democracy organizations, political parties, and donor representatives and mandated it to conceptualize, plan and implement a comprehensive democratic initiative. The first meeting of the committee resolved to constitute itself into a Centre for Governance and Development (CGD), which later became the initiatives official name.


As part of its mandate, CGD focuses on partnership building and has facilitated the formation of and is convening a number of issues-based stakeholder coalitions/associations. These include the Kenya Producers Coalition (KEPCO), National Taxpayers’ Association (NTA), the Election Observation Group (ELOG), Coalition for Accountability and Political Financing (CAPF), and Regional Integration Civil Society Network (RECINET).


Further, it has been a lead agency in facilitating dialogue around issues of governance in the Eastern Africa region.  Since its conception, CGD has made significant strides in strengthening the pillars of good governance through opening up political spaces for civil society, building bridges between government and citizens, and advocating for transparency and accountability.

Our Mission

To empower citizens, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Government and Representative Institutions for an equitable and democratic society through partnership building, research and advocacy.

Our Vision

An informed and democratic society that is prosperous, equitable and committed to the rule of law.

Our theory of change

Our theory of change is premised on the fact that time is right for change. Advocating for democratisation and good governance in Kenya characterised by an effective and efficient and transparent and accountable ruling elite poses a significant, yet achievable, challenge for CGD.

The climate of political and socio-economic reforms and development programmes for Kenya such as Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya 2010, as well as, the importance of governance challenges facing the country, presents an opportunity for CGD to evolve and re-focus its programmes. The strategic direction of CGD’s programmes has been designed to deal with the governance challenges across sectors at local, national and regional levels.

Our Core Values & Objectives

Our Values

We are committed to growing a dynamic organizational structure that will be guided by these values:

  • Transparency and accountability: Our results-focused approach demands that we be open and hold ourselves and others accountable.
  • Professionalism: We are committed to courtesy and responsibility in our interactions.
  • Integrity: We operate with sound moral and ethical principles, honesty, and sincerity.
  • Objectivity: We make decisions without being influenced by personal emotions or prejudices
  • Gender sensitivity: We are committed to the recognition of the needs of both women and men in our ways of working.
  • Respect for human rights: We work to promote and achieve rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.

Our Objectives

Our main objectives are to:

  • Institutionalise democratic culture as a firm foundation for governance and sustainable development;
  • Undertake policy advocacy on issues of governance (economic, citizen demand and accountability, and public sector reforms)
  • Broaden women’s equitable participation at all levels of governance and national development.
  • Empower civil society, strengthen representative institutions and enhance achievement of human rights and gender equity.
  • Enhance knowledge and information on good governance and human rights.

Our Core Business

Since its inception, CGD has played a strategic role in influencing socio-economic and political transformations, working to boost governance and development reforms in Kenya. Our business is broadly classified in the following areas;


  • Citizen demand and accountability programme; where we create capacity to operationalise and institutionalize vision 2030 and the constitution at the local level.
  • Representative democracy programme; where we increase effective interactions between the people and their representatives and hold them accountable.
  • Public service reform programme; where we extend access of under-serviced groups to public services while strengthening capacity for improved service delivery.
  • Regional integration program; where we further regional integration through the adoption of policies that reaffirm commitment on issues of governance within the east, central and horn of Africa.
  • Institutional capacity building programme; where we ensure that the human resource and the organizational system are well equipped to manage delivery.