Delivering devolution: How UN Volunteers are helping improve service in Counties
The Constitution of Kenya (2010) creates a decentralized system of government that devolves two of the three arms of the Kenyan government; namely the Legislature and the Executive, to the 47 Political and Administrative Counties. Kenya’s decentralization of governance is among the most rapid and ambitious devolution processes globally, with new governance challenges and opportunities as the country builds a new set of county governments from scratch.
UNDP, with support from its development partners - DfID, USAID, Sweden and Norway - collaborated with the Council of Governors and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), to deploy highly skilled UN Volunteers in some of the most crucial areas in the counties.
So far, there are 39 UNVs spread in 37 counties offering expertise in a wide range of areas including monitoring and evaluation, statistics, public finance management, governance, human resource, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
My assignment as a UN Volunteer in Uasin-Gishu County is informed by the need to build capacity in monitoring and evaluation and thus strengthen and enhance accountability for performance in implementation of policies and programmes at devolved levels. This engagement as a volunteer is geared towards enriching my host community in the role development plays in transforming livelihoods and supporting communities through various forms of volunteerism.
My first assignment involved successfully mobilizing the county government in preparing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the county. I have further initiated successful preparation of the County Indicator Handbook to efficiently enable the county government track the progress of programmes and policies as outlined in the County Integrated Development Plan. With the numerous county priorities, it is my goal to roll out data collection exercises and conduct a validation exercise for the Indicator Handbook with all county stakeholders to ensure timely and relevant information is available for the county on CIDP implementation progress.
Through my initiatives on development of M&E tools, the county adopted harmonized data collection and reporting tools that aided in a successful annual monitoring and evaluation exercise for the financial year 2015/16. Furthermore, the county has appointed M&E champions in every department who now provide a linkage on the need for continuous M&E and reporting. Being an economist by profession has further allowed me to extensively support the county in the budget cycle and public participation exercises as per the legislations provided.
The greatest achievements of devolution are brought out with M&E as communities share stories of impact and changes brought about by devolved governments. This gives me the desire to passionately and aggressively contribute to the success of devolution through volunteerism, engagement with my host agency and the community.
Story by Ephraim Njure, UNV Programme Assistant, Monitoring and Evaluation, Uasin Gishu County