DEFEND RECORD YAKO
Defend record yako, a one year project (January to December 2020) that was aimed at improving attitudes and behaviours of right holders and duty bearers to uphold and defend human rights, democratic culture and gender equality in Kenya by capacity building the youth on avenues and strategies through which they could demand for responsiveness from duty bearers and hold them to account both at the national and county levels.
The project used various interventions including supporting three (3) youth leaders training on avenues through which they can engage duty bearers, three (3) strategy review meetings and twelve (12) ward based community engagement forums reaching a total of thirty (30) ward based youth. The strategies led to
1). Establishment of youth governance structure in Kericho: Through the project, we were able to train thirty youth group leaders out of which they elected twelve (6 male and 6 female) to lead the process of social accountability. They led in following up on the issues that were identified during the meetings. The committee represents all the six sub-counties and leads the process of follow up on issues identified during community engagements with respective leaders.
2) Increased engagements between youth and duty bearers: From zero (0) to six (6) correspondence including four letters, one (1) memorandum (MOU) and one (1) petition from the youth to the duty bearers. Out of which three (3) were responded to by the duty bearers while they also took action in regards to our letters.
Youth in Kericho petitioned the county assembly to allocate budget for youth programs in the current financial year. Through the petition submitted by youth in Kericho, youth programs were allocated thirty million (Ksh 30,000,000) into the current financial year from zero (Ksh 0) budget.
3) Improved levels of duty bearers responsiveness: From the correspondence, letters were seeking county police to apprehend people who were selling alcohol without observing covid-19 adherence and within three days the shops that were not observing covid-19 restrictions were closed, asking the assembly committee on implementation to investigate spending of covid-19 monies and the department responsible were sermoned to respond to the allegations. Action was taken against the people who failed to follow the procurement procedures
The duty bearers have been writing to Siasa Place to support them hold youth engagement forums within their wards. Until December, four members of the county assembly had written to Siasa Place seeking support to help them hold youth engagement forums in their wards.
4). Increased youth responsiveness to accountability issues: From the twelve (12) ward based community engagements, youth identified issues and established committees. Until then, youth committees established have been organizing accountability follow-up meetings with the respective leaders. Out of the 12 meetings, youth have organized three meetings on their own to meet leaders responsible on how they could address the issues that were identified during the meeting.
5) Improved corporation between youth and duty bearers: The forums established that the county had not created avenues for youth to prosper economically. As a result, the project supported Kericho Youth Empowerment bill 2020 which is ready to be sent to government printers.
A sixteen (16) months project (November 2019 to February 2021) aimed at promoting social accountability through the development of community based mechansims. The mechanisms included capacity building youth policy enthusiasts (Imara fellows). and county based social accountability champions as a way of ensuring sustainability, consistency and promoting collaboration. As a result, the project will generate a shadow plan which will set the standard for leaders to work towards.
Through the interventions, the project was able to realize the following:
Improved communities ability to organize social accountability forums: The program organized two sets of capacity building training workshops. Imara fellowship academy(fellows) for the twenty nine (29) youth with interest in understanding how to influence decision making to improve service delivery and training of 16 County social accountability champions with the aim of capacity building them to promote youth participation in governance and enhance social accountability. The training has started yielding results among the youth
There is increased youth involvement in governance by embracing constructive engagement with government institutions.Unlike before where youth used to complain,they now use letters, petitions and memorandums among others to engage government. For instance, we have seen youth write memorandums out of which some have yielded positive results. For example Youth in Busia presented a memorandum demanding for youth inclusion in the composition of the board in Busia County vocational training Bill 2020.
There is also improved youth responsiveness on issues of accountability. For instance,in Kericho, the County social accountability champion was able to mobilize youth to hold the executive to account for the one hundred and twenty million (Ksh 120,000,000) COVID-19 supplementary approved budget. This was after youth established that the executive had not installed six (6) hand washing water points per ward as per the approved budget prompting them to write to the assembly committee on implementation to further investigate and take action. The committee Chairperson Hon Erick Bett raised the matter on the floor of the assembly and as a result, the chief officer had to be reshuffled.
Improved the level of engagements between youth and duty bearers: We have observed improvement in use of accountability tools including letters, petitions among others. For instance when the Railway ward member of the county assembly wanted to name a public hospital after himself, Kisumu champion wrote a petition to block that as misuse of office and name was changed to reflect what the community desired. In Busia, the champion submitted a memorandum demanding inclusion of youth to be part of the board of managament of a vocational training institution as a way of increasing their ability to check management of the institution from within.
Improved youth attitudes towards seeking information: Through the training, the county social accountability champion identified that Kisumu Central national constituency development fund allocated money to already tarmark Obunga-Police post Kikomi road, he wrote a letter to the ethics and anticorruption commission and TI-Kenya helped to review the letter.
Improved analytical skills for the youth. Through their analysis, Kisumu champions were able to establish that Kudho nursery had been allocated money in three consecutive financial years without any progress. In the 2016/17 financial year the nursery was allocated 1.5 million which was the cost for construction to completion. Tender was awarded to the first contractor who worked upto the foundation and left. After follow up by the school management committee, the 2nd contractor was given the work during the financial year 2017/18 who also left. In the 2018-2019 financial year the nursery was allocated 2 million again for construction, finally nine hundred thousand (Ksh 900,000) in financial year 2020/21. The champion led the community to demand accountability from the County Executive Member for Education who visited the school and gave an undertaking to audit all the other schools to ensure they are completed however, it was not allocated any money in the financial year 2020/21.
Improved leaders responsiveness to youth issues: Due to the collaborations established during the period, leaders have improved how they engaged youth whenever called upon. In Kericho, the assembly committee on implementation has been working with the youth to share information that has helped the youth in providing oversight. For example, the committee shared with the youth the approved budget which helped the youth to audit expenditure. The committee also shared a report on the stalled project through which the youth are currently following up with respective offices responsibke. In Busia, the committee through their chair have always been receptive to the youth. For example, when the youth submitted the memorandum, he followed up with a phone call to thank the youth for submitting and expressing his commitment to support.
Improved partnership and collaborations. The program institutionalized collaboration and partnership which has since helped carry out social accountability within the counties. Through our collaboration with transparency international (Kisumu Office), the youth have been trained on how to draft a petition.
SAUTI YETU (OUR Voice)
SAUTI YETU (OUR VOICE) project was aimed at creating a platform for youth to effectively participate in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) processes and other governance processes on issues affecting young people. This is because it was observed that youth had limited information on BBI, they were unaware of the importance of their participation in decision-making or avenues to participate while governments had failed to facilitate their participation either due to lack of necessary skill, limited resources or just lack of political good will.
For the period between March 15th and September 30th 2020, the project implemented various strategies to create platforms for youth to engage in BBI process by holding six (6) county based youth barazas (meetings), nine (9) radio talk shows, one national convening to validate youth views that were previously collected and social media engagement targeting youth residing in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kirinyaga, Busia, Nakuru and Mombasa. The engagements were implemented in partnership with a total of eighty seven (87) County based youth serving organizations, five (5) radio stations, networks, movements, students groups and youth wings of political parties among others.
Consolidation of the youth voice was aimed at making it easier for the task force to track youth views and also make it easier for the youth to follow up on their recommendations which were in four. 1) As much as young people are the majority population , that was not reflected in the leadership and thus recommending the need for establishment of a Youth Ministry or National Youth Commission or National Youth Council be independent. 2) Youth joblessness and recommended the need to prioritize youth economic empowerment. 3) Runaway corruption thus recommending the need to handle corruption cases within one year and 3) underrepresentation of youth in leadership thereby recommending the need for youth to be considered for the position of the proposed prime minister. Of the four, establishment of youth commission or council was adopted when the final report was released.
The project also supported the development of youth perspective on BBI which since uploaded on the website on 27/08/2020 has been viewed by a total of 4313 and Youth Agenda, a youth serving organization based in Nairobi having asked to cite the report as their point of reference.
The project created an enabling environment for youth to participate in governance processes in that through the baraza, youth were asked on their opinion on the status of the implementation of the constitution and whether they thought there was need for a referendum. Majority felt that the government had failed to implement the constitution (79.9%) and almost uncertainty as to whether there is a need for a referendum or not with 51.8% supporting and 48.8% opposing. The survey was conducted through the use of technology (online) during county based baraza.
In addition to providing avenues for youth engagement, the project also created methods for learning for both the youth serving organizations as institutions and leaders. For instance after holding a youth baraza in Kirinyaga and Busia, the Kirinyaga County Women Representative and Busia nominated Member of the County Assembly respectively adopted the model and have also organized youth engagements forums in their respective jurisdictions hence helping to improve the level of youth involvement in governance.
DEEPENING YOUTH INCLUSION IN GOVERNANCE
The project is aimed at capacity building duty bearers (administrators and members of the county assembly) to conduct public participation, embrace collaborative development and youth to understand avenues through which they could engage duty bearers during governance decision making and implementation. The first phase had established that there were conflicts between administrators and members of the county assembly caused by either a lack of understanding among the leaders or overlaps created by law within the counties, failure by the county government to allocate resources to facilitate youth engagement within the counties and lack of good will.
The project used various interventions including capacity building of duty bearers (100 county officials from wards across 3 counties) on ways through which they could engage youth in project life within the counties and the youth (167youth leaders drawn from 100 wards, across three counties) on avenues engaging duty bearers. As a result,the project supported a total of two trainings. One for ward administrators members of the county assembly and other administrative offices that were identified as vital for youth inclusion and the other for ward based youth group ladders and ward based community engagements forums leading to the follwoing:
Improved level of youth engagement with duty bearers: From the evaluation, baraza helped youth understand the role of different leaders and how they could engage them. As a result, ten (10) youth had since visited administrators’ offices to engage them on governance issues affecting them within the ward. Ward and village administrators in Nambale (Busia county) reported to have received three (3) and four (4) youth to consult on youth issues after the baraza respectively while the administrator in Nyakach East Kisumu county received three (3).
Improved youth attitude towards enhancing engaging duty bearers on issues affecting them: Youth have started expressing interest to engage county leaders on the projects that were identified to have problems, and need follow up during public baraza. For example, Mercy Amoit from Busia county, Malaba South Ward had mobilized youth to follow up on the projects that they identified during the baraza.
Duty bearers adopting the use of alternative communication to deliver services to the locals: A ward administrator in Kisumu and acting ward administrator in Busia has established a social media (whatsapp) group to engage the youth. The administrators in Busia in collaboration with youth have started an initiative to help the vulnerable within their community by helping in washing their clothes and cleaning houses.
County officials embracing engagements with youth: Some of the government officials have started embracing engaging young people. For example Mr. Sammy Omulepu – Senior Administrative Officer, Office of the Governor; Mr. Buluma Stephen – County disability Mainstreaming Officer, Office of the Governor were helped to organize and attended both the baraza.Mr Okwach, chief officer office of the governor responding to youth sending him messages on WhatsApp and also urging ward administrators to always respond to questions from the public because that is why they are hired.