How Civic Education has Enabled Citizens to Shape Nakuru County Priorities
In the month of February, our team of 12 civic educators was able to reach 2105 citizens with civic education across four sub-counties within Nakuru County. Generally, citizens acquired knowledge on the Constitution of Kenya, Devolution, Representation of the People and Citizen Participation. As a result of this civic knowledge, we noticed an average change in civic awareness level of 55%, from 19% to 74%
We noted perception and attitude change among citizens who received civic education during this month. On the constitution of Kenya:
Members of Kimangu Fellowship in Rongai town thought that elected leaders were powerful and that citizens could not even question them. This is because she did not know that Constitution of Kenya has bestowed sovereign power to citizens. However, after learning about the sovereignty of the people, her attitude changed and she realized that citizens have the power to even hold elected leaders to account. Commenting about the sovereignty of the people, a member of the group, Mariam, said “It is amazing to know that as community members we can even summon our elected leaders MCA and MP for meetings and hold them to account. All along I thought they were so powerful and could not be reached by ordinary citizens.”
On Devolution, residents of Magare-Legetio Village had for a long time thought that devolution is the cause of high cost of living and even want it to be scrapped. However, after learning about the structures and functions of the county government, they realized that because of devolution, essential services like health and education are now available because their local dispensary has been staffed and an ECD center constructed in their village. They also realized that the high cost of living is a result of many other factors, not necessarily devolution.
Utilizing Civic Education
In terms of applying the civic knowledge received, beneficiaries of our civic education activities were able to take several actions that ranged from informing county priorities during citizen participation forums of the county integrated development plan, inviting elected officials to meetings to requesting for services from different government offices. Below are details of actions taken by citizens as a result of our civic education actions this month:
- Njoro Residents Want Nakuru County Government to Prioritize Equipping and Staffing of Health and Vocational Training Facilities
Njoro residents have identified equipping and staffing of health and vocational training facilities in the sub-county as the key issues the county government should prioritize in the 2018 – 2022 CIDP. In a brief memorandum presented by citizens during public participation on the CIDP in the fourth week of February, citizens also want the county government to prioritize construction and repair of roads as well as access to water in the sub-county. Njoro citizens were able to take action after realizing that the constitution requires citizens to participate in county planning and budgeting processes to inform county priorities. This was after they learned about the importance of citizen participation and objects of devolution during sustained civic education sessions delivered by CTL civic educators working in the sub-county.
- Youth in Nakuru East Prioritize Youth Issues for Inclusion in 2018 – 2022 CIDP
Youth from different wards in Nakuru East Sub-County were able to prioritize their needs, prepare a memorandum and submit it during public participation forums on CIDP that were held between 20th and 23rd February, 2018 in various locations across the county. In the memorandum, the youth were able to identify two to three key issues that they felt needed to be included in the county’s strategic plan. For instance, in the health sector, the youth proposed targeted programming of reproductive health and operationalization of existing youth friendly centers through proper equipping and staffing. Other youth-specific issues included in the memorandum touched on talent development, expansion, equipping and staffing of existing vocational training facilities and youth-focused outreach programs to curb drug and substance abuse. The youth were able to take this action after realizing that the devolved system of government expanded spaces for citizen participation, enabling citizens to make decisions on issues affecting them. This was after they participated in sustained civic education sessions delivered by two of CTL’s civic educators working in Nakuru Town East.
- Subukia Forum CBO Wants Access to Water, Education and Roads Prioritized in the 2018 – 2022 CIDP
Members of the Subukia Forum CBO have requested the County Government to prioritize access to clean water, education and roads in the County Strategic Plan for the year 2018 – 2022. Through a memorandum submitted during public participation forums on the CIDP between 20th and 23rd February, 2018, forum members proposed prioritization of construction of water intakes and reservoirs in the sub-county, drilling and piping of boreholes and upgrading of roads in specific areas of the sub-county. Further, members of the forum want the county to put more focus on youth empowerment through the construction of a fully-fledged vocational training facility and development of a sports facility in the sub-county. Members of this forum were able to take this action after realizing that public participation enables citizens to shape government agenda. This was after they learned about devolution and its objectives as well as the importance of citizen participation as envisioned by the constitution during sustained civic education sessions delivered by one of CTL’s civic educators.
- School Management Requests for Awareness Creation on Sanitation from Public Health Officer
The management of Magare Primary school has written to the Public Health Officer in Rongai Sub-County requesting for public education on sanitation. The decision to invite the government health official to speak to the school community was arrived at after the school got concerned about the possibility of a cholera outbreak among its pupils. In the letter, the head-teacher, on behalf of the school’s board of management scheduled the meeting for 23rd February, 2018. The awareness creation meeting is to be attended by parents, pupils and school staff. The management of the school took this action after members of its board realized that they had a right to request for information from government offices after participating in sustained civic education sessions delivered by one of CTL’s civic educators who is also a parent in the school.
- Pirate FC Invites MCA to a Meeting to discuss Issues Affecting Youth
Members Pirate Football Club in Njoro Ward have written to the area MCA requesting for a meeting to discuss how youth in the ward can access economic opportunities in the county. The youths say they face challenges accessing economic opportunities such as youth empowerment programs delivered by the county including entrepreneurship trains and accessing government procurement opportunities where at least 1/3 of public tenders should be issued to special interest groups including youth. In their letter, the youth want to meet the MCA on 4th March, 2018 during one of their regular meetings to deliberate on these issues. Pirate Football Club was able to take this action after realizing that the constitution bestows sovereign power on citizens and that are entitled to opportunities to participate in social-economic spheres of life and access to employment after receiving sustained civic education delivered by one of CTL’s civic educators.
- Amkeni Women Group Requests for Information from the Social Development Office
Amkeni Women Group in Rongai Sub-County has written to the District Social Development Office requesting for information on the Women Enterprise Fund. In the letter, members of this group stated that they wanted to be sensitized on how they can access the fund including what documentation they need to have in place. Though the group has been operating for several years now, its members are not aware of the fund and requirements of accessing the loans. The group was able to take this action after its members realized that had a right to access public information and that the fund was an affirmative action by government to empower women economically after going through sustained civic education sessions delivered by CTL civic educators.