Transparency International Kenya (TI) has launched a project that seeks to create awareness and strengthen citizen groups in order to effectively engage in public planning, procurement and complaint management in the agricultural sector in Kakamega County.
The project dubbed, Uwazi Mashinani, will address the challenge of access to information by the public from the duty bearers in the agricultural sector.
“For proper planning and procurement process the public needs free flow of information from the duty bearers in order to engage effectively,” said Elizabeth Duya, Western region TI Senior Regional officer.
Duya said the two-year project is supported by the German agency for International cooperation (GIZ), adding that they will empower the citizens and build their capacity to prepare them for public participation in order to be able to interact with documents and information generated by the county.
“According to article 1 of the Kenyan constitution, sovereignty is placed on the people of Kenya. Therefore, people need to come out and exercise their rights in terms of complaints addressing and also holding the duty bearers responsible for their actions,” she explained.
The TI official said apart from Kakamega, the project will be implemented in three other counties namely Machakos and Elgeyo Marakwet in health sector and Turkana in the agricultural sector.
Violet Shibutse, the Director of Shibuye Community Health Workers said that TI will work with the organization to ensure transparency and that citizens take part in devolution processes.
“The Uwazi mashinani project will enable the agricultural sector to be given first priority by ensuring farmers, civil societies and the citizens are involved in budget making and accountability,” she said.
Shibuye said that agricultural sector will grow as the farmers will benefit a lot from the project as transparency will be considered in the budgetary allocation.
She said their partnership with TI will provide training to all sub counties through community, youth and farmers groups and make them understand that it’s their duty to ensure there was transparency in government plans.
“We will teach them how to write complaints to the county governments when anything goes astray,” she added.
“We want to ensure there is accountability and that the public’s complaints are addressed,” said shibuye.
According to the TI official, the project will open doors for citizens to raise their complaints and ensure food security and use agriculture to grow the economy of the county.
By Margaret Andeso