IRDP was initiated in 2001 as a peace building Institute to contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the Tutsi Genocide of 1994. IRDP’s overarching vision is to contribute to lasting peace in Rwanda and in the region. At IRDP we believe lasting peace is one which provides security, peace and complete fulfilment to the individual, the family and the community in general. We further believe that peacebuilding is a process that requires continuous adjustment to changing circumstances. To fulfil this vision, IRDP candidly assess its capacity to undertake this task as well as the ever changing environment in which its works in. IRDP is an independent and neutral space where critical and sensitive issues challenging peace are debated by all categories of Rwandans in order to influence positive change of behavior at the community and national levels and inform policies and practice on issues of national interest.
Though its independence, respect of diversity, neutrality and objectivity, IRDP’s focus on critical and sensitive topics through research and dialogue spaces to debate on topics and issues that were regarded as taboos in the Rwandan society and this approach has been hailed by both critics and supporters.
Through participatory research, active citizen participation and policy advocacy, IRDP has significantly contributed to empowering Rwandans to voice their concerns on sustained peacebuilding, socio-economic and inclusive development.
IRDP enjoys an eminent position as a national peace building institution and the go-to think tank on peacebuilding in Rwanda. This is a result of innovative and impactful previous work. To leverage this position to influence policy and practice in peacebuilding and sustainable development, IRDP continues to build on acquired good practices and its reputation. A reputation also demonstrated by the profiles of partners who have and continue to fund IRDP activities. Cognizant of the fact that peacebuilding requires commitment and participation from different actors, in particular Rwandans inside and outside the country, IRDP adopted a multi-stakeholder consultation process as an approach to inform its work. To that effect, a National Group Meetings (NDM) that brings more than 200 participants every year is conducted to identify the key challenges to Rwanda’s peace and development.
IRDP through consultative meetings (Rwanda and Diaspora) identified five themes in the last decade which form the focus of IRDP’s programme notable among them are : 1) management of the social and political conflicts in the Rwandan history ; 2) building democracy in a formally ethnically divided society ; 3) Management of the consequences of the genocide ; 4) the path to establishment of rule of law and 5) the challenges facing poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Recognition of IRDP’s work saw the institution being awarded for “outstanding contribution in policy processes over the last decade” by the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council awarded IRDP in 2011. IRDP uses these spaces to enable Rwandans to speak freely on issues regarding peace building in Rwanda. These spaces have proved to be effective tools to discuss contentious issues including those previously considered taboo.
IRDP has experienced staff, infrastructure and a network of committed resource persons and partners to undertake research and advocacy. National working groups and steering committee members are selected from the highest calibre of persons, often bearing in mind their capacity to move IRDP’s agenda and contribute to policy advocacy. More than 12 years in peacebuilding has created an accumulated and intimate knowledge on Rwanda’s peace challenges and credibility that enhances trust in the operations of the organisation. IRDP’s special relationship with the Rwandan Diaspora represents an invaluable opportunity both for fundraising and new ideas on peacebuilding.
In order to attain lasting peace in Rwanda IRDP intends to continue strengthening good governance and citizen participation and engagement in planning, implementation and monitoring for accountability and IRDP sees these as prerequisites’ to for the sustainability of Rwanda’s long term and broad based inclusive growth and development.
Dr Eric NS. NDUSHABANDI/ PhD Political Science
Director/ Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace(IRDP)