A lobby group in Kisumu has launched a year-long program targeting to sensitize citizens on public participation.
Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace (ECJP) is targeting to hold 96 meetings through its 18 programs in 2023.
On Wednesday, ECJP launched the year-long exercise which will be implemented in all the seven sub counties in Kisumu.
Our people must know that this is the document which carries their aspirations, so if they do not have an input in it, then they are likely to miss development in the next five yearsCardinal Elias Komenya
According to Kisumu County ECJP Coordinator Cardinal Elias Komenya, the initiative is timely as it comes at a time counties are making the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPS).
“Our people must know that this is the document which carries their aspirations, so if they do not have an input in it, then they are likely to miss development in the next five years,” said Komenya.
The launch of the project brought together various County and National government agencies, Constitutional Commissions, Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society organizations.
Komenya said the organization, through its grassroots engagements has identified low participation in decision making by residents, hence disconnect on development programs.
“This program opens the eyes of the citizens so that they understand their role in governance and development,” said Komenya.
Civic Engagement Committees
He said the project will entrench civic engagement committees from the villages to the county levels, to promote public awareness on the need for public participation.
“Today, county administrators selectively invite people for public participation, but this should not be the case,” said Komenya.
He added: “Public Participation forums must be publicized through traditional and new media, so that everyone can come and make their contribution,” said Komenya.
The project funded by Hanns Seidel Foundation has been promoting public engagement on a number of issues, such as governance, peace, among others.
Kisumu County Development Trust, one of the organizations empowering grass root development groups has been capacity building the groups to embrace public participation.
Mary Odhiambo, a board member for the trust said with the common voice, the grass root organizations can make an impact in demanding for their rights.
Access to information has been a big problem to many of these organizations, hence capacity building them, and bringing them together has made it possible for them to air their viewsMary Odhiambo
“Access to information has been a big problem to many of these organizations, hence capacity building them, and bringing them together has made it possible for them to air their views,” said Ms Odhiambo.
Seme Deputy County Commissioner William Ole Kakimoni who graced the launch of the said the program would facilitate collaboration between the people and the leaders.
“As stakeholders, we are happy with this initiative, and we support public engagement and collaborations,” he said.