Thursday, 25 January 2018 08:27


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The Participatory Budgeting approach adopted by the five (5) Counties i.e Makueni, West Pokot, Kilifi, Kakamega and Baringo, have made their participatory processes more inclusive while at the same time ensuring that citizens’ voices are represented in objective and structured processes. Participatory Budgeting is the process of directly involving local people in decision making on the priorities and spending for a defined amount of the public budget. The uniqueness of Participatory Budgeting, is that decisions that citizens make on the defined portion of the budget are final, and are included in the budget. The other unique aspect of the participation model is, in some counties once the community members prioritize projects, the citizens are involved citizens in overseeing the implementation of the projects. This ensures accountability as the community members provide checks and oversight alongside the County Assembly.

Through participatory budgeting (PB), there has been greater inclusivity of citizens in the budget formulation and through the process communities at the very grassroots have had an increased opportunity to participate in decision making. We have seen an increase of persons with disabilities in Makueni County and women participation in West Pokot County from a meager 11% to 35% of participants. The PB process has also facilitated compliance with the legal requirements for public participation included in the County Governments Act, 2012 and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 in a meaningful way. PB avoids fragmented public participation that results in repetitive and overlapping activities which are costly in terms of participants’ and organizers’ time and resources. One of the success story of the process is the Siyoi milk cooling plant, initially funded through local residential contributions, the West Pokot County Government took up the request to support the construction of the projects in FY 2014/15 through the public participation process.

In October 2015, under the Kenya Accountability Devolution Program (KADP), the World Bank in collaboration with the Council of Governors held its first Participatory Budgeting workshop for the 47 counties at the Kenya School of Government. Two years later, the program has now expanded from the initial five (5) County Governments to a total of Fourteen (14). The Participatory Budgeting Design workshop held on 5th-8th December, 2017 enabled the 5 Counties that had taken part in phase 1 (Makueni, West Pokot, Kwale, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo) to share their learning and experience with the additional 9 Counties i.e Nakuru, Embu, Laikipia, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Mandera and Kajiado as they contextualize the Participatory Budgeting approach in their County.

Some of the aspects covered by the training were: principles and practice of PB; key opportunities and constraints for counties; the institutional framework for PB in Kenya; the 10 step model of PB implementation; project planning, and goal setting, evaluation and impact assessment within PB; the challenges of real community empowerment; mobilizing for PB and developing effective communication plans.

A noteworthy deviation from previous training was the use of the draft PB manual – developed from the experiences of counties in Kenya. County representatives were invited to review and validate the manual which will be finalized with their inputs in the coming months. The training of County local team on the Participatory Budgeting approach is set to begin in February 2018.

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