Expanding the Civic Space in Busia County
Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF), member of the Civic Engagement Alliance in Kenya, conducted a situational analysis on the status of civil society organizations in western Kenya. The study was conducted in mid 2018 on civic engagement in Kisumu, Busia, Kakamega and Homa Bay counties in western Kenya with a specific focus on the main alliance members and their network members. KCDF found that despite regulations that enhanced public participation at the national level, the same had not been devolved within Busia county. This hindered active engagement of marginalized groups and civil society groups in decision making processes.
Support to civil society network
Through training of the Change the Game Academy methodology ADSW, AKUDEP and Dhamira Moja who are members of the Busia county civil society network acquired knowledge, skills and a positive attitude that enabled them to lobby the county government to put in place a framework that promoted civic engagement. KCDF supported the Busia county network members to hold several dialogue forums where the civil society organizations resolved to have a cohesive voice that promoted organized engagement with the Busia county government. With KCDF and ADSW taking the lead facilitation role,a task force for public participation was formed to spearhead the process of reviewing the proposed Public Participation Bill of 2014. The taskforce constituted of the Busia county government department of public participation and civic education, Busia county assembly representatives and representatives of CSOs.
The task force that consisted of Busia county government representatives, County assembly representatives and CSOs representatives ? of the Busia county civil society network held the first meeting in 2018 November to review the proposed Busia county Public Participation Bill 2014. They gave their recommendations and the county assembly committees acknowledged the importance of having the bill in place and spearheaded the review process in December 2019.
Public Participation Bill validated
With the guidance of the Kenya Law Reform Commission, the proposed bill was reviewed and recommendations made before reintroduction to the county assembly. In January 2020 the county government of Busia in partnership with KCDF and ADSW validated the proposed bill as at the end of February 2020 the Busia county Government has committed to ensure the bill is enacted. The Public Participation Bill will facilitate and enhance the participation of citizens in decision making processes.