A Kilifi-based organization Haki Yetu Association has enlightened residents on their constitutional rights through civic education to enable them to make informed decisions.
The human rights advocacy non-governmental organization has visited 11 wards including Ganze, Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Malindi, and Kaloleni where they reached more than 6,000 people.
Ms Warda Zige, a civic educator and a member of the organization said the residents who underwent the training now understand their basic rights as citizens and have recorded over 47 civic actions against people and government departments on different issues.
Zige added that the residents were trained in petition, letter, memorandum, and minute writing. “Citizens now understand the law and have the voice to urge their leaders to take action on some of the projects that are at a standstill. For example, lack of drugs and adequate staff in dispensaries,” she said.
She added that the training has empowered community members to actively participate in issues affecting their society and hold their leaders and other concerned parties to account through civic actions.
“Through the Public Participation Act, we educate them and ensure they acquire full understanding of their rights and that their resources are well managed,” said Tobia Mwaragu, a civic educator based at Marakaya ward.
The initiative has seen Kilifi residents actively taking part in public participation forums, especially the budget-making County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) where their opinions count and are acted upon.
However, Mwarabu disclosed that fear in pursuing their constitutional rights among the citizens is the main challenge since it may involve powerful people whom they are afraid of.
He explained that when handling disputes, such as when writing a complaint to the ward administrator or other officials to follow up on issues where signatures are needed, some people are reluctant to get involved.
Mwarabu called upon citizens to embrace civic education by attending training sessions emphasizing that it is through it that their priorities will be addressed by the County Government.
By Faithann Mwaura and Jackson Msanzu