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TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR AN END OF PROJECT EVALUATION

ABOUT SIASA PLACE
Siasa Place (SP) is a registered not for profit, non-governmental organization under the NGOs Act in Kenya established in 2015 to encourage young people (aged 18 to 34) to engage more effectively in public participation as mandated and envisaged by the 2010 Constitution. The focus of our programs is summed up into 3: People, Policy and Public Participation. We currently have 250 registered members, and Siasa Place leads (ambassadors) in 10 counties where their primary role is to organize regular public participation forums among the youth every month and foster a culture of participation, social accountability, and collaborative partnership with the County government.

We focus on building the capacity of young people to be able to take an active role on issues of governance and decision making, specifically civic education on public participation and accountability. Secondly, focus on training young people on legislative processes, the importance of participating in legislative processes and how they can take part in the process. This also includes methods of advocacy and opportunities in public service. Thirdly, the importance of data and information. We encourage young people to develop an interest in collecting information and forming strategies and solutions based on factual data. We support youth focused research, e.g. social audits, which we utilize to formulate and push for policies on the same.

PROJECT BACKGROUND
The organization runs a policy program titled Imara Africa Leadership program in partnership with Africa Youth Leadership Forum (AYLF) and Mark Appeal. Additionally, the fellowship is in collaboration with the County Government of Kisumu, Kericho and Busia to develop youth economic empowerment, technical training and public participation policies respectively. IMARA Africa Leadership Fellowship is a project that is aimed at promoting social accountability through the development of community based mechanisms. The mechanisms included capacity building youth policy enthusiasts (Imara Fellows) and Social accountability champions based in the counties as a way of ensuring sustainability, consistency and promoting collaboration. As a result, the project will generate a shadow plan which will set the standards for leaders to work together.

The long term goal of the Imara Africa Leadership program is to develop a network of dedicated young leaders who will influence leadership through direct engagement and indirect participation as social influencers, community organizers, political players and policy designers and implementers. The program activities included capacity building training for the fellows (youth with interest in policy), community mapping for social accountability, county reflection meetings, online courses and community forum ‘Barazas’.

The second phase of the IMARA Fellowship was informed by results from the first phase of its implementation and the objectives of the program are;

  • Develop community centered follow up mechanisms. This serves as a mechanism for feedback, follow up as well as collaboration with various stakeholders. As a result, the project will generate a shadow plan which will set the standard for leaders to work towards. The set standard will require all those involved to continuously work with the community or abide by pressure that will be generated by the community in demanding service delivery.
  • Community to start organizing social accountability meetings. Change in attitude from passive to being more engaged and taking initiative when it comes to demanding information and accountability. The community meetings are to question the implementation of active projects in the County.
  • The project will focus on supporting the community to lead the process by looking inwardly on the contribution of each of the stakeholders involved and mapping social accountability groups. Imara will utilize the network of youth organizations based within these counties to develop and implement program activities.
  • Develop researched documents that will influence existing policy.

EVALUATION PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES:
The objective and purpose of this evaluation is to generate information that will assist the project management team to determine the level of success, identify weakness and recommend improvement for project efficiency and effectiveness towards the achievement of its goals and objectives. Specifically, this evaluation aims to:

  1. Determine the relevancy of the interventions, lessons learned, track key outcomes and impacts related to the different project components, assessing whether the objectives, aims and goals were achieved
  2. Determine the prudency in resource utilization (Value for money)
  3. Demonstrate that programme efforts have had a measurable impact on expected outcomes and have been implemented effectively.
  4. Assess gaps and opportunities including the approach used in execution.
  5. Assess the impact of the project to the beneficiary community

SPECIFIC TASKS OF THE CONSULTANCY
Under the general guidance of the Executive Director and direct supervision of the Program Manager and other key colleagues, the Consultant will be responsible for developing evaluation tools, administering the tools and generating the report.
In particular he/she will;

  1. Develop and administer tools for evaluation
  2. Provide expert guidance to the entire evaluation process
  3. Conduct an analysis of the data collected and generate a report of the findings

CORE DELIVERABLES

  1. Inception brief, inclusive of proposed methodology and proposed work plan.
  2. First draft shared before validation and thereafter incorporates inputs from the validation. 
  3. A final and comprehensive evaluation report by 15th June 2021
  4. A PowerPoint presentation of the findings

QUALIFICATION AND COMPETENCIES REQUIRED

Interested consultant(s) should have expertise in the following areas:

  1. Extensive knowledge in project management, monitoring and evaluation.
  2. Proven wealth of previous experiences in evaluation work with written recommendation letters & recommender’s contacts.
  3. Excellent drafting ability (English) and analytical skills.
  4. At least three years of knowledge and experience in practical program evaluation in either governance, public participation  and  devolution
  5. Good understanding of public participation with demonstrated practical working experience around the same.
  6. Good spoken and written communication skills in English. 
  7. Ability to meet deadlines.
  8. Must possess at least a degree in Social Sciences, Development Studies, Public/government Economics.

SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
Interested and eligible applicants can submit a short outline methodology of how they would conduct the evaluation, both on a theoretical and practical basis (not more than 2 pages), proposed work plan, detailed CVs of lead consultant, a link of your past work on a similar task via support@siasaplace.com and quotation for the work. The deadline for application will be on 31st May 2021. If you do not receive a response from Siasa Place by 2nd June 2021, kindly consider your application unsuccessful.

Youth Participation in Governance – By Christopher Mokaya

 

It has often been said that if the youth are not on the table, then they are on the menu. This dictum has elicited mixed reactions from both the youth and older members of our society. In matters of governance and politics, the youth have always been in motion from the frying pan to the fire!

Is it not still vivid in our collective minds as citizens of Kenya how the political class has always abused the kindness of the youth who come out in their numbers to support various political causes? Most of the victims of police brutality during post-election chaos are always the youth. Rights organizations have done little to arrest this situation. This is why the youth in Mathare, Kibera, Dandora, and other informal settlements always live in apprehension especially during the electioneering period.

Is there a way in which the situation can find a remedy? Can the youth of Kenya and Africa meaningfully participate in governance and politics? Do they really have what it takes to participate in this game of thrones?

Well, as a young person who has witnessed first-hand the challenges of youth participation in governance, I must admit that it is not a walk in the park. The youth must be willing and ready to sacrifice their comfort, time, and resources to meaningfully and successfully participate in politics and governance at the county level and at the national level.

Martin Luther King Jr aptly sums up what it takes: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”

I believe when the youth step out of their comfort zones and stake a legitimate claim on the governance of their nation, change begins to happen. It is this change that is desired by the society that looks up to young people to offer fresh ideas and spark innovation to transform the nation.

The youth also need to find inspiration from history. In Burkina Faso, a young revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara fought for participatory democracy, justice, anti-corruption, and the liberation of Africa (Harsch, 2013).  Sankara believed in the ability of Burkinabés to develop their country, modernize it and build a strong economy. He succeeded in becoming the president of his nation. Personally, I believe I can be the “Sankara” of Kenya and I have already taken the very first steps towards seeking support as the next president of our nation.

There is so much hope for youth participation in governance. This hope lies in the need for the youth of Kenya and Africa at large to start where they are, to do what they can with what they have as Theodore Roosevelt asserted. Time is ripe for youth participation in governance.

The article was written by Christopher Alvin Mokaya a selfless servant leader, currently an aspirant for President of Kenya 2022. He serves as the Deputy East Africa Regional Associate for Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development (YALDA).

Twitter: @PresidentMokaya

Positives of Youth Engagement in Governance – By Elizabeth Mueni.

The United Nations uses the term youth to refer to people between the age of 18-35 years. This definition does not however apply to all the states. According to the United Nations, 25% of the total population in Kenya is made up of the youth. The survey also shows that 7.24% of that population is made up of unemployed youth. It has been noted that the participation of youth in governance has been picking up in recent years and especially after the occurrence of devolved governance. The Kenyan youth have been active recently in government rallies, political seats, and even ministerial positions. But just how have the youth been involved?

According to Social Media Lab, 40% of social media users in Kenya are youth aged between 18 years to about 35 years. This clearly shows that the youth are the highest social media users. The government has recently brought almost all of their activities online and this has given the youth the opportunity to interact with government projects online, participate by giving their opinions, and criticizing the government. The youth can use the social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook to air their opinions on ongoing government projects. The media houses also engage the youth in order to get their opinion on government through social media.

Additionally, in 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta held a workshop for the Youth through the Kenya ni Mimi initiative. The forum was meant to inspire the Youth and enable them to be drivers of their own agenda and to seek leadership positions at all levels. The President demonstrated youth leadership when he appointed Nadia Ahmed who is 28 years old to the Ministry of ICT and Youth Affairs. The World Bank has been working with Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet county governments to design a platform in which Kenyan youth will be engaged. The workshop opens a dialogue between the government and the youth to interact and share ideas on leadership. These workshops are necessary for the participation of youth in government.

According to the 2010 constitution, the state shall take measures including affirmative action programs to ensure that the youth receive education, have the ability to associate and interact and have the opportunity to be represented socially, economically, and politically. The youth should be given access to employment and should be protected against all harm. The constitution calls for youth representation and in devolved government, at least one person is appointed to represent the youth.

The last general election was characterized by a huge number of young people who participated in the election either by voting or contesting for a position. The 12th parliament has a high number of young Kenyans for example, Paul Ongili of Embakasi East and Charles Kanyi of Starehe. In the upper house, we have Johnson Sakaja of Nairobi county and Anwar Loitiptip of Lamu, just to mention a few. The higher learning institutions in Kenya also give the youth an opportunity to contest for different leadership positions and portray their leadership skills. Kenya has seen University chairperson contests in national elections and this clearly shows the large milestones youth leadership in Kenya has taken. The government has also boosted the performance of youth contestants in leadership by appointing them to head different sections and programs in government.

There are thousands of youth in different sectors in the country and even internationally. The youth have taken the leadership response positively and they are making huge strides in order to achieve more. The constitution acknowledges the youth as of good reasoning and decision making and they should be given an opportunity to showcase their skills to the public through leadership.

 

COVID Effects on the Mwanachi- By Ben Katibi

The country is battling the third and most deadly Covid-19 wave since its first case was confirmed on 13th March 2020. The Ministry of Health is reporting new strains of the virus: the South African and UK strains which appear to be highly contagious and virulent. There is a surge in the number of cases requiring hospitalization. Health facilities are on the verge of being overwhelmed and whispers from the wards tell of a situation so dire, a volcano ready to erupt. Media reports telling of a scramble for ICU beds fully occupied, with many in the waiting queue having made advanced bookings for the beds. The country is also reporting daily double-digit fatalities.

In the wake of prevailing circumstances, the government through a presidential directive of March 26, 2021, imposed a lockdown on the 5 counties of Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado. Zoned as one area, movement into and out the five counties was suspended and curfew hours extended from 8 pm – 4 am. Social, political, and religious gatherings were also suspended. The five counties had been singled out as hotspots for the virus hence the tougher restriction measures.

Just when the wheels of economic recovery had begun to slowly gain momentum, the directives brought them to a screeching halt. The year 2021, had been touted by the president as the year of revival, a time when the country was expected to shake off the negative effects Covid-19 had brought on the economy. The economy was projected to grow between 5% – 7% following a slowdown in 2020 occasioned by the effects of Covid-19. The new directives are a big stab on the back of an already ailing and frail economy. More so spelling doom and dark days ahead for the millions of Kenyans whose jobs were already at stake.

Close to 1.7 million jobs were lost during the first lockdown as a result of many businesses closing down and some cutting down on their workforce to remain afloat. The onset of the second lockdown hit many of those that had survived the first lockdown onslaught. Another wave of job losses striking home. The worst-hit being the hospitality, tourism, transport, and entertainment industries. With millions directly and indirectly employed in these sectors, a bleak future is staring into their eyes.

There was a public outcry on the new measures. Many questioned the timing and intent of the directives as not being Pro-mwananchi. Directives were seen by many as being discriminative to millions of Wanjiku who live from hand to mouth. A people that felt overburdened by the high taxes and the rising cost of living. Was the president misadvised to lock down the country again? Was a second lockdown necessary? Is the president unaware of the suffering and rising cost of living in the country? These are some of the hard questions in the minds of Kenyans who feel let down by a president whose government is associated with unfulfilled promises, heavy borrowing, high taxation, and untamed corruption.

In as much as the new directives in place are meant to curb the spread of the virus, the plight of Wanjiku brought about by the rising cost of living cannot be ignored. Many risks slipping into poverty if sound and timely economic recovery policies are not put in place to cushion the Mwananchi. World over, it is the business of the government to take care of its citizenry. Countries like Germany have taken steps to help businesses avoid layoffs. The US Congress on the other hand passed a mega stimulus bill that avails billions of dollars to expand the unemployment insurance as well as providing cash handouts to low and middle-income earners to help them make ends meet. The bill also allocates 350 billion dollars in loans for businesses with less than 500 employees.

The government should also follow suit. The much-hyped 3-year Post-covid socio-economic recovery strategy launched by the President funded to a tune of 132 billion shillings is yet to be felt by Wanjiku. The recovery plan was initiated to spur growth by pumping funds into critical sectors like agriculture, tourism, SMEs’, housing, infrastructure, and manufacturing. SMEs are a major target because of the role they play in creating millions of informal jobs. It is whispered in hushed tones of the good policies in the paper that are non-existent on the ground. Good policy papers that become cash cows for a few bureaucrats.

The mwananchi is suffering and it’s time the government reassesses some of the directives in place. Either provide for the mwananchi or open up the country and let Wanjiku work. There is no logic in locking down the country and not carrying out mass testing or mass vaccinations to achieve herd immunity. If the government decides to settle on the latter of opening up the country, then Wanjiku should strictly adhere to the laid down regulations by MOH of washing hands regularly with soap and water, social distancing, and proper wearing of face masks. It is our health and lives on the line. Stay safe.

The article was written by Ben Katibi a purchasing and supplies management graduate passionate about writing with a keen eye on politics and emerging issues in the country. Follow Ben on Facebook – Benedict Katibi and Twitter – @oure_katibi

 

Plans to Revive Tourism Industry Underway – By Nancy Odindo

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases following the discovery of a new variant has delivered another disappointing blow to the tourism industry following the second wave of lockdowns and border closures.

The tourism industry rose to the forefront of the global agenda in 2020, due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 across the globe with countries taking decisive actions to protect their citizens and halting international travel.

However, the recovery of that hard-hit industry that left many jobless and in poverty is believed to be driven by technology and innovation though expected to belong, uneven and slow.

According to the World Economic Forum, the pandemic resulted in a 74% decline in international visitor arrivals, equivalent to over $1 trillion in revenue losses and an estimated 62 million fewer jobs as well as claiming nearly 2.9 million lives since the outbreak in 2019.

This has presented a hard challenge of reopening borders to resume travel and commerce to countries while protecting their populations’ health.

“Every country on earth had implemented some travel restriction, signaling the magnitude of the operation to restart travel,” reported the World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, in April last year.

With the second wave of lockdowns, border closures, and the rollout of vaccination programs, the World Economic Forum report states that the World ‘will not see a significant rebound in international travel until the middle of this year at best’.

According to a study on managing overcrowding, the top 20 most popular global destinations were predicted to add more international arrivals than the rest of the world combined by 2020.

“While COVID-19 will have disrupted this trend, it is well known that consumers want to travel again, and we must address the issues associated with overcrowding, especially in nascent destinations, like Saudi Arabia,” stated the report.

“Tourism has the potential to be an engine of economic recovery provided we work collaboratively to adopt a common approach to a safe and secure reopening process and conversations on this are already underway,” added the report.

Through the G20, which Saudi Arabia hosted in 2020, discussions focused on how to leverage technology and innovation in response to the crisis, as well as how to restore traveler confidence and improve the passenger experience in the future.

At the global level, across the public and private sectors, the World Economic Forum is working with the Commons Project on the Common Pass Framework, which will allow individuals to access lab results and vaccination records, and consent to having that information used to validate their COVID status.

International Air Transport Association, IATA,  is trialing the Travel Pass with airlines and governments, which seeks to be a global and standardized solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 travel requirements.

The provision of solutions that minimize person-to-person contact responds to consumer wants, with IATA finding that 85% of travelers would feel safer with touchless processing.

With the growing hopes towards reviving the tourism industry, the World Economic Forum believes that the solutions will be critical in opening the borders in a way that is safe, seamless, and secure while giving tourists the confidence to travel again.

As the report states, the availability of vaccines will also make the entire process easier and doable.

However, the forum will have the mandate to ensure processes and protocols are aligned globally, and that they support countries with limited access to vaccinations to eliminate the threat of another resurgence.

“It is only when businesses and travelers have confidence in the systems that the sector will flourish again,” said the report.

The report further said that the approach taken by Saudi Arabia to establish consensus and to build collaborative relationships internationally and between the public and private sectors should serve as a model to other countries in order to maximize the tourism’s sectors contribution to the global economic recovery.

“The approach was taken by Saudi Arabia and its partners to establish consensus and build collaborative relationships internationally and between the public and private sectors, should serve as a model to be replicated so that we can maximize the tourism sector’s contribution to the global economic recovery while ensuring that it becomes a driver of prosperity and social progress again,” urged the report.

 

Article Written By Nancy Odindo; Email: nancyodindo@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

The importance of the state of your well being – By Peter Mutuku.

Introduction

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental, physical, and social health are vital and inter-woven strands of life. As our understanding of this relationship grows, it becomes ever more apparent that mental health is crucial to the overall well-being of individuals, societies, and countries. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, mental health and mental disorders are not accorded anywhere near the same degree of importance as physical health. Rather, they have been largely ignored or neglected.

According to WHO as many as 450 million people suffer from a mental or behavioral disorder. In 2019, common mental disorders around the globe include depression, which affects about 264 million, bipolar disorder, which affects about 45 million, dementia, which affects about 50 million, and schizophrenia and other psychoses, which affect about 20 million people. Neurodevelopmental disorders include intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders which usually arise in infancy or childhood. Stigma and discrimination can add to the suffering and disability associated with mental disorders, leading to various social movements attempting to increase understanding and challenge social exclusion.

 

Causes of mental health disorders

In the current generation, we have a lot of mental health cases and it is with both adults and young people. Different things are leading to mental health issues nowadays. Some things include the high standard of living. Most people around the globe are struggling to put a meal on the table and this is affecting their mental health. When one does not have mental health, it will affect the person’s contribution to society. This includes both what that person can offer physically and socially.

 

The issue of unemployment, someone loses a job or he/she has gone through the education system and still he/she has no job. This person can be depressed. Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of pervasive low mood. Low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause are common symptoms. Those affected may also occasionally have delusions or hallucinations. Some people have periods of depression separated by years, while others nearly always have symptoms present. Major depression is more severe and lasts longer than sadness, which is a normal part of life.

 

There is the issue of relationships. Many people in relationships have a possibility of having mental health issues for example if that person has undergone a breakup or divorce. You find a person crying all day and not working deeply depressed because of a breakup or divorce case. This will affect the person’s contribution to society.

 

The effects of mental health issues include the following;

Economic effects

The productivity will reduce for persons affected by mental health issues like depression cannot work properly and offer their best hence affecting the productivity level.

According to WHO, nearly 1 million people commit suicide every year, how much can these people offer to society terms economically if mental health care is dealt with?

Social effects

According to WHO, one in four families has at least one member with a mental disorder. These families usually have a lot to deal with, with some members being discriminated against and stigmatized by others. These people will not interact with others normally and thus already have affected social lives. These people are victims of human rights and it will also affect their level of productivity and what they can offer in terms of social life.

Ways to deal with mental health

  • Nowadays we have counselors and Psychiatrists who can help victims on how to be mentally healthy.
  • Talk about your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Sharing what you are feeling with your friends will help a lot with dealing with mental health.
  • Keep active. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
  • Eat well. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
  • Ask for help. It is good to always ask for help where one needs help to avoid overloading your mind with something which you cannot control.

 

Image from the journalism fund website to celebrate world press freedom day

Freedom Of The Press – by Mercy Chepkemoi.

Freedom of The Press: An Estranged Concept?

Media refers to the means of mass communication, especially the press, radio, and television, but also including film and recorded music, as well as a number of distributions by way of cable, satellite, discs, and tapes. Media freedom in Kenya has always been tied to responsibilities which journalists are expected to carry for the realization of the societal common good. The emergence of new forms of journalism as a consequence of technological development and appropriations has engendered serious debate about media freedom and the practice of journalism around the world.

Good governance, an essential component of any thriving democratic state, is premised on a system of openness, trust, and government accountability. This can only be achieved if the public is involved in the process of governance. If the general public knows the functions, policies, and decisions made, they can question the government on the basis of the information obtained, and, most importantly, the reasons for the government’s actions. It is thus necessary that the government develops a clear policy on the freedom of information in a bid to ensuring that subsequent legislation ñ freedom of information laws – are implemented effectively and based on accepted international principles and best practices.

The right to information is enshrined in Article 35 of the constitution, which provides for access to information with Article 34 providing for freedom of the media. The right to information underpins all other human rights; it is the cornerstone of all other rights. The right is encapsulated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) under Article 19. It is similarly enshrined in the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Kenya is a party.

Royal Media Services ran an expose the other day on national television in a segment ‘Guns Galore ‘where the Citizen Tv journalist did an undercover episode on Police Officers allegedly renting Police Officers’ uniforms and firearms to civilians. In a press statement, DCI Director George Kinoti, discredited the expose alleging that the segment attempted to tarnish the entire National Police Service and undermine the efforts made by police officers. He further summoned the RMS editorial management team to make a statement on the allegations.

In recent months, there have been a number of accusations that the government has been cracking down on press freedom in Kenya which saw eight independent columnists resign from the Nation Newspaper citing lack of editorial independence. Journalists have reportedly been physically assaulted in their line of duty with some losing their lives while at it. In 2018, three of Kenya’s biggest TV stations were temporarily shut down after they confirmed plans to cover the mock presidential inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga. A move that was widely condemned internationally by the United Nations, United States, and human rights watchdogs.

The media is an important tool in the dissemination of information in Kenya. Without free media, the government could easily spread propaganda in the name of the truth. This tends to feed the masses, and in doing so, creates a utopian world where the government, in the eyes of its people blinded by the propaganda, can do no wrong to the country. The lack of care towards protecting journalists and media houses, through the passing or even the creation of laws limiting the free press, is worrying may lead to further restrictions on freedom of the media.

Almost everyone relies on the media for information, education, and entertainment among other needs. The media, therefore, has a central role to play in the freedom of information and freedom of expression. Thus interference nubs its role on its knees.

 

Article by Chepkemoi Mercy who is a lawyer and a human rights activist.
Twitter @masiememo

Open up the country – By Ben Katibi

The country is battling the third and most deadly Covid-19 wave since its first case was confirmed on 13th March 2020. The Ministry of Health is reporting new strains of the virus: the South African and Uk strains which appear to be highly contagious and virulent. There is a surge in the number of cases requiring hospitalization. Health facilities are on the verge of being overwhelmed and whispers from the wards tell of a situation so dire, a volcano ready to erupt. Media reports telling of a scramble for ICU beds fully occupied, with many in the waiting queue having made advanced bookings for the beds. The country is also reporting daily double-digit fatalities.

In the wake of prevailing circumstances, the government through a presidential directive of March 26, 2021, imposed a lockdown on the 5 counties of Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado. Zoned as one area, movement into and out the five counties was suspended and curfew hours extended from 8 pm – 4 am. Social, political, and religious gatherings were also suspended. The five counties had been singled out as hotspots for the virus hence the tougher restriction measures.

Just when the wheels of economic recovery had begun to slowly gain momentum, the directives brought them to a screeching halt. The year 2021, had been touted by the president as the year of revival, a time when the country was expected to shake off the negative effects Covid-19 had brought on the economy. The economy was projected to grow between 5% – 7% following a slowdown in 2020 occasioned by the effects of Covid-19. The new directives are a big stab on the back of an already ailing and frail economy. More so spelling doom and dark days ahead for the millions of Kenyans whose jobs were already at stake.

Close to 1.7 million jobs were lost during the first lockdown as a result of many businesses closing down and some cutting down on their workforce to remain afloat. The onset of the second lockdown hit many of those that had survived the first lockdown onslaught. Another wave of job losses striking home. The worst-hit being the hospitality, tourism, transport, and entertainment industries. With millions directly and indirectly employed in these sectors, a bleak future is staring into their eyes.

There was a public outcry on the new measures. Many questioned the timing and intent of the directives as not being Pro-mwananchi. Directives are seen by many as being discriminative to millions of Wanjiku who live from hand to mouth. A people that felt overburdened by the high taxes and the rising cost of living. Was the president misadvised to lock down the country again? Was a second lockdown necessary? Is the president unaware of the suffering and rising cost of living in the country? These are some of the hard questions in the minds of Kenyans who feel let down by a president whose government is associated with unfulfilled promises, heavy borrowing, high taxation, and untamed corruption.

In as much as the new directives in place are meant to curb the spread of the virus, the plight of Wanjiku brought about by the rising cost of living cannot be ignored. Many risks slipping into poverty if sound and timely economic recovery policies are not put in place to cushion Mwananchi. World over, it is the business of the government to take care of its citizenry. Countries like Germany have taken steps to help businesses avoid layoffs. The US Congress on the other hand passed a mega stimulus bill that avails billions of dollars to expand the unemployment insurance as well as providing cash handouts to low and middle-income earners to help them make ends meet. The bill also allocates 350 billion dollars in loans for businesses with less than 500 employees.

The government should also follow suit. The much-hyped 3-year Post-covid socio-economic recovery strategy launched by the President funded to a tune of 132 billion shillings is yet to be felt by Wanjiku. The recovery plan was initiated to spur growth by pumping funds into critical sectors like agriculture, tourism, SMEs’, housing, infrastructure, and manufacturing. SMEs are a major target because of the role they play in creating millions of informal jobs. It is whispered in hushed tones of the good policies in the paper that are non-existent on the ground. Good policy papers that become cash cows for a few bureaucrats.

Mwananchi is suffering and it’s time the government reassesses some of the directives in place. Either provide for the mwananchi or open up the country and let Wanjiku work. There is no logic in locking down the country and not carrying out mass testing or mass vaccinations to achieve herd immunity. If the government decides to settle on the latter of opening up the country, then Wanjiku should strictly adhere to the laid down regulations by MOH of washing hands regularly with soap and water, social distancing, and proper wearing of face masks. It is our health and lives on the line. Stay safe.

WHY RUTO-RAILA BET BADLY NEEDS BBI – by Victor Wanaswa

 

Do you know that there are speculations that ODM leader Raila Odinga’s confidants and Deputy President William Ruto are working on a possible coalition in the next general election? Well, as the 2022 general polls draw nearer day by day political alliances are shaping up. National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principals have been piling pressure on ODM leader Raila Odinga to back one of them but Odinga has consistently remained adamant about endorsing another candidate for the coming elections. Consequently, other NASA leaders led by Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi have ganged up to form One Kenya Alliance to compete with either the Ruto or Odinga candidature separately or as one entity. On the other hand, allies of DP Ruto and the former premier have recently indicated a possible formation of a political vehicle in the run-up to the 2022 race to Statehouse.

 

The two political heavyweights have also been seen to be gravitating towards each other after separating for a decade now. Even though Ruto and Odinga worked together during the 2007 general elections and being alive to the fact that there are no permanent friends and enemies in the game of politics, a coalition between the two will only depend on the passing of the coming referendum to amend the constitution as spearheaded by the Building Bridges Initiative report (BBI). And this is why.

 

First and foremost by virtue of being the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya who has so far served for two terms, William Ruto cannot deputize Raila Odinga because the constitution will not allow that. Meaning Ruto can only hope Odinga will do the honors of supporting him as the flag bearer in the Coalition. On other hand, this time around Odinga can not play second fiddle to not just Ruto but any other candidate owing to the age factor. Odinga is gearing up for his last stub at the presidency, this being his last bullet. So the two will have to push harder for a constitutional change to encompass the position of Prime Minister so that they can negotiate who to be the president and who to take the PM position.

Secondly, as a political analyst and TV pundit, Martin Andati said, a Ruto-Raila alliance may look so appealing on paper but may not marshall the requisite numbers. It’s argued that the two would struggle to get 5 million votes and so there is a need to bring on board other tribe kingpins like Mwangi Kiunjuri, Alfred Mutua, Wycliffe Oparanya and give them positions created under BBI to get the required numbers that can give One Kenya a run for their money.

Then we have these second-term governors who are now aiming at the top job since they have no place to turn to as their time in office has lapsed. Even though these governors are non-starters when it comes to national politics, they command a section of votes especially in their counties since they managed to serve as governors for two consecutive terms. So they will add a lot of value to the Ruto-Odinga alliance. This will only be achieved if the constitution is altered to do away or extend the term limit of governors to allow them to go for another term.

 

Last but not least, BBI also proposes the introduction of a parliamentary system of government as opposed to the existing presidential one. Having a parliamentary system in place will re-energize members of parliament to fight for the coalition to form the next government knowing very well that they will be considered for ministerial positions or be appointed assistant ministers should the coalition ascend to power.

So if it’s true that there are efforts in the background as perceived in the political arena, it will force the Tangatanga wing led by Deputy President William Ruto to embrace the BBI report even though it’s clear that nobody can stop reggae. For now, though it’s a wait-and-see situation to ascertain whether Ruto will change tune regarding BBI or not.

 

Written by Victor Wanaswa a journalism graduate of Multimedia University who is creative, enthusiastic and has a great passion for writing about politics.

ACHIEVEMENTS 2020

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. 

IMARA FELLOWSHIP 

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.

 

Siasa Place is an NGO formed 2015 that aims to create an enabling environment for women and youth mainstreaming into our body politics.

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