• For Citizen engagement to improve development outcomes we
need to shift our mindset from competition to cooperation.
Governance is not a zero-sum game, but rather a dialog between
the government and the governed that should result in positive
outcomes for all. This needs to be our starting assumption if citizen
engagement is to have a real impact.
• Kenya has faced various challenges that beset development in key
areas such as health, environment, and infrastructure among other
key areas. For example the maternal mortality rate in Kenya, which
is a key indicator of health , has been stagnant for quite some time
(488 per 100,000 live births).Despite more investments in health,
many indicators are yet to change and thus the paradox, what
might be the hidden limiting factors? This has been mutual across
other sectors and thus threatening the nation’s ambitions of
becoming a middle- income country in the near future.
• Following the struggles our great nation has gone through, an idea roamed that
citizens should be engaged in development matters for there is hidden potential
and innovations among citizens. An initiative will be launched known as
Development Partners Forum which aims at bringing together key stakeholders
across sectors to a discussion and knowledge sharing platform. The forum will be
organised by a multi- disciplinary secretariat with a subject matter expertise for
each sector respectively. The secretariat, with aid of community ambassadors, a
will conduct a research on the main challenges facing each sector and come up
with solution themes that shall be aired during the forum. Devolution in Kenya
makes it easy to get first hand information on the real challenges facing different
sectors by engaging citizen. The secretariat, with support from the private sectors
will travel to majority of counties where questionnaires will be administered to the
citizens, through community ambassadors (volunteers) to help identify the key
priority areas that ought to be addressed. An online interactive platform shall also
be adopted and made available to all key stakeholders as well as the public.
• The forum, bi-annual, shall bring together key players in the public sector, private
sectors, development partners, institutions, academia and citizens for open
knowledge sharing platform.
• With the recently launched sustainable
development goals, there is need for innovation
for the ambitious but attainable development
goals to be attained.
• As such our forum is seeking to invent a platform
where citizens will be given the chance to air
their grievances and hold key decision and policy
makers into account.
• This promises to be among the different paths to
realising sustainable development goals which
are our key priorities.
• The key objective of our initiative will be
creating a knowledge sharing and interactive
platform for major stakeholders in the
respective sectors and partnerships.
Some of the key areas will be: Health
• With technology turning the whole world into a small village, we have utilised the use of
technology to increase the efficiency of interactions. Although technology is not a panacea for
development, if well utilised under strategic guidelines, technology can highly result to increased
social accountability and promote institutional and behavioural changes thus initiating
• Various online platforms will created which have been made accessible to the public for active
• The initiative will also be highly dependant on the community volunteers who will be empowered
with technology gadgets and trained on how to report to the forum that shall comprise of
representatives from all institutions.
• The relevant representatives shall then advice on how the grievances raised by the citizens shall be
addressed and the community volunteers will be in hand to report back to volunteers. By so doing,
citizens will have the sense of belonging since they will feel that their efforts to highlight the
challenges besetting the society are tackled with the seriousness needed. This tackles the feedback
• Strategic approach, thin and thick engagements have been integrated to get the best out of citizen
• All relevant information will be availed to the public for citizens to make informed decisions.
• Currently, negotiations are on going with the help of development and private partners, to get the
government fully on board as well as advocate for an enabling environment for citizen inclusion in
key development issues.
CITIZEN RECRUITMENT AND
• Through the local volunteers, a maximum of 5 citizens from each region will be
recruited into the forum.
• They will represent the voice of the community and they will be afforded the
freedom of criticizing their leaders for matters they feel are falling out of track.
• This initiative also promises to greatly decrease the menace of corruption and
mismanagement of public funds which has been among the leading obstacles to
development in the developing world.
• Citizens will have the freedom to rightfully condemn leaders who they feel are u
under-performing and dragging their counties and communities behind.
• Governmental and institutional representatives shall then respond to citizens
claims and allegations and advise on the steps they ought to take to ensure that
the mentioned leaders are lawfully investigated and provide feedback to the
community with a stipulated time frame.
• During the forums that shall be hosted bi-annually, the forums will be open to
citizens to attend and air their grievances to relevant stakeholders who shall be
• Citizen Engagement proves to be game a changer for development and
especially for the developing world. If a synergy is created in the
engagement between citizens and state, then development is inevitable.
This will be done through creation of an enabling environment for citizens,
using the appropriate approaches that work for different countries and
utilising of technology which will contribute greatly to engaging citizens for
a bright future. Institutions should respond to citizen needs in time to
motivate them to participate, unleash their potential, feel the sense of
belonging and realise the outcomes of active participation. The secret
behind substantial development lies in the hands of citizen, all states
should start thinking of how to actively involve their citizens for there is
great potential and innovation that may be the missing dice to realisation
of development goals.
• Our initiative, though still at its nascent stages, promises to fill the gap
between citizens and institutions through provision of an interactive
platform. Any ideas on how we can nurture the idea would be welcomed.