The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) a non-profit organization, in collaboration with Institute Economic Affairs Kenya and Caritas Kitui, is training Journalists on budget making process, advocacy and legislative reporting.
During a three-day training held in Kisumu for journalists from Kitui, Kisumu and Busia counties in effort to train them to ensure the public and partners get informed on how every county shilling is being utilized by the county government, the journalists were asked to ensure citizens understood, got involved and engaged in public participation as this is key to promoting democracy effectively and efficiently in Kenya.
Speaking to journalists during the three days training, Michelle Onditi, Communication expert of Institute of Economics Affairs, encouraged the media to play a watchdog role to evaluate the performance of all elected leaders and county department and inform and educate the public.
“You are the watchdog, please use the power of the pen, inform and educate the public on budget, follow up to see if the county integrated development projects are achieved,” said Onditi.
She added that the training aims at improving journalist skills in advocating and disseminating reports findings in their respective counties. She stated that media promotes financial accountability and ensure there is value for money.
“This training aims at identifying and bridging gaps to enable journalists to communicate effectively and be able to follow and compile reports on budget,” she added.
Noah Wamalwa the IEA project coordinator, added that the training aims at enhancing accountability and transparency by helping Journalists and Civil societies Organization extract insights from budget documents in order to influence decision making process.
“This training has helped journalists to understand where to get this information, be able to analysis and disseminate the information,”
He encouraged journalists to utilize the power of social media in reaching the targeted audience.
Caritas Kitui Project coordinator encouraged journalists to help citizens understand budget reports by unpacking and breaking down information and disseminating it in a more efficient and effective way.
He added their efforts of training journalist has eventually borne fruit as the number that downloaded budgetary documents has improved in Kitui county an indicator that so many people are now able to access the information.
Last week during a training session organised by Caritas Kitui and NDI in Kitui County journalists and CSOs were tasked to form public oversight advocacy groups to negotiate the revenue collection and ensure tangible development projects by the government to the residents.
By Charles Matacho