In this August issue we feature ActionAid Kenya’s work with partners in promoting good governance and accountability of State and State Institutions in delivering quality services. Media reports across the country have recently carried increased public outcry against pervasive corruption in all levels of government. In deed it seems the dominant narrative in Kenya today, but is there a different narrative that can be told?
Evidence from our work points to the centrality of citizen’s participation in securing rights. The need for community –led change plans is imperative and citizen’s leadership in setting the agenda is crucial. In Mombasa, through Reflect Processes, there is evidence of women successfully influencing development priorities and resource allocation towards the water sector by the Coast Development Authority. In Taita Taveta citizens with support from Coast Land Non-State Actors have been able to reverse unfair detention of Human Rights Defenders and secure their freedom. The social action study done by the leadership of education stakeholders continues to inform elements of reforms in the education sector in Kenya. In the recent few months, the role of social media in augmenting citizen led accountability within national and international spaces has featured prominently. With support from youth led-digital activism Activistas , ActionAid Kenya has positioned itself to tap into this opportunity to promote a speedy social justice system for communities living in poverty and exclusion. Activistas are amplifying voices of communities who are yet to tap into opportunities presented by digital revolution.
ActionAid Kenya’s work on accountability is grounded on the broader foundation that anchors public participation in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Under this framework legal provisions falling under i. participation ii. Transparency and iii. Accountability provide the frame for citizen engagement in public policy, laws and legislation process, planning and budgeting processes, and in management of programme and projects. It is important to contemplate this within the expanded governance structures.
There is need to develop alternative models for citizens to hold governments to account. Will this alternative models be led by women and citizens? Compelling evidence seems to point in this direction.