Kenya inequalities: SID first citizen engagement forum

In efforts to disseminate Kenya Inequalities report findings to critical stakeholders and policy makers, SID approached the Executive Committee of County Assemblies Forum (CAF) through the Member Services Committee to seek a partnership that would facilitate the SID research data and the needs CAF to build the capacities of county assemblies in their role of providing oversight over county executive.

In summary the project aims at providing a platform for ward representatives to engage meaningfully with the citizens they represent for improved social development, to deepen strategic engagement between SID, CAF and MCAs at County level, facilitate interaction between ward representatives and citizens in the identification of legislative gaps and possible interventions.

The project is designed to be carried out in phases and in clusters that would make it possible to reach both officers and citizens in the 47 counties.
Phase one targeted critical officers in the county assemblies including the budget committee chair, two budget committee members, the budget committee clerk and the fiscal analyst. These were selected based on their offices being charged to provide support to county assemblies in their role of providing oversight over the county executives especially in regards to resource allocation and county budgeting. Through six clusters encompassing the entire 47 counties, six forums were held through which the inequalities data was disseminated and valuable feedback received.

Phase two, which started on 20th April, 2015, aims at involving citizen engagement forums in 10 focus counties: Nairobi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kakamega, Migori, Bomet, Baringo, Siaya, Isiolo, Nyeri, and Kilifi. Representatives of 4 wards in each focus county have been identified to  participate to the fora where citizens, members of the civil society and media would engage on county specific inequalities data and narratives. The main participants in this phase would be 10 members of the public drawn from each of the 4 wards and thus for each of the 10 counties that would be covered, one meeting would consist of 40 members of the public together with four Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) from each of the 4 wards.

First county citizen engagement Forum - Elgeyo Marakwet

The first county citizen engagement forum was held in the town of Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet County some 329 KM from the capital city Nairobi. The participants were drawn from four selected wards of the county which were; Arror, Kamariny, Kaptarakwa and Endoo. These wards also represented the four constituencies in the county; Marakwet East, Marakwet West, Keiyo North and Keiyo South Constituencies. Present also were two MCAs Hon. Kibor Chemosong from Arror Ward and Hon. Festus Kiprop representing Endoo Ward.

Among areas of issues that came up in the forum included but were not limited to education, access to water and retrogressive cultural practices.  It was noted that education in the county was still a challenge as a shown by the small percentage of the county's population having attained at least secondary education level. With devolution it was noted that there was increased efforts by the county to setup Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centres.

Poor education was noted to be a contributing factor to resistant cultural practices such as FGM and weak support for girl child education. As noted by the chief from Kapkenda location in Kaptarakwa ward, these practices which saw young girls being married off early and thus lead to high school dropout rates needed to be addressed speedily. Kamariny ward appears much affected by poor access to water since most of the water is from wells and springs. This situation is replicated in Arror ward which depends on river Arror and other streams, Kaptarakwa ward use of streams and wells while Endoo ward relies on Embobut river for supply. The construction of a large capacity water supply facility in Embobut ward is an initiative to remedy the situation by the county government.